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Extra info for A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945 (Publications of the German Historical Institute)

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IV, 463. , II, 176–8; IV, 461; Legro, Cooperation Under Fire, 55–61. ”10 Although the British created Bomber Command in 1936 and opted for the development of a fourengined bomber, they did not have the capability to mount a full strategic bombing offensive until 1943. Nevertheless, before 1939 both the Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force contained within their ranks enthusiasts for the sort of total war that implied the erosion of the principles of noncombatant immunity and of proportionality. 12 The primary reason why neither conception was put into immediate practice was – once again – rational calculation.

Sallager, The Road to Total War (New York, 1969), 9–13; Philip Meilinger, “Clipping the Bomber’s Wings: The Geneva Disarmament Conference and the Royal Air Force, 1932–1934,” War in History 6 (1999): 306–30; Meilinger, “Trenchard and ‘Morale Bombing’: The Evolution of R. A. F. Doctrine Before World War II,” Journal of Military History 60 (1996): 243–70. The Conduct of War, 1939–1945 39 acquired airfields which enabled its aircraft to strike Britain directly despite their short range. Although the ground campaigns of 1940 therefore laid the basis for the removal of restraint in the conduct of total war in the west, the actual fighting was, by the standards of soldiers with memories of battles in the same theater a quarter of a century earlier, remarkably limited.

Military necessity both favored gas when fighting defensively (and for this reason Britain intended to use it against a German invasion in 1940) and regretted its tendency to reduce tempo in the conduct of operations. Therefore, the decision not to use gas in the conduct of the war was at one level evidence of military opportunism. At another, it shows how such self-interest could be made virtuous, with all sides seemingly engaged in mutual self-restraint and in reducing opportunities for retaliation.

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