Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War

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Cornell University Press, Apr 18, 1996 - History - 366 pages

From Iraq to Bosnia to North Korea, the first question in American foreign policy debates is increasingly: Can air power alone do the job? Robert A. Pape provides a systematic answer. Analyzing the results of over thirty air campaigns, including a detailed reconstruction of the Gulf War, he argues that the key to success is attacking the enemy's military strategy, not its economy, people, or leaders. Coercive air power can succeed, but not as cheaply as air enthusiasts would like to believe.

Pape examines the air raids on Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq as well as those of Israel versus Egypt, providing details of bombing and governmental decision making. His detailed narratives of the strategic effectiveness of bombing range from the classical cases of World War II to an extraordinary reconstruction of airpower use in the Gulf War, based on recently declassified documents. In this now-classic work of the theory and practice of airpower and its political effects, Robert A. Pape helps military strategists and policy makers judge the purpose of various air strategies, and helps general readers understand the policy debates.


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User Review  - kranbollin - LibraryThing

Fairly academic in tone, but informative nonetheless. I was quite surprised to learn that the only time strategic bombing actually succeeded in coercing someone was in the Vietnam War, when one of ... Read full review

Review: Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War

User Review  - Claudia - Goodreads

Interesting recollection of the US's past air bombing campaigns. Read full review


Why Study Military Coercion?
Explaining Military Coercion
Coercive Air Power
Japan 19441945
Korea 19501953
Vietnam 19651972
Iraq 1991
Germany 19421945
Beyond Strategic Bombing
Coding Cases of Coercive Air Power

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About the author (1996)

Robert A. Pape is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, specializing in international security affairs.

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