The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The Army Air Forces in World War II. Prepared under the
editorship of Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate by
the Office of Air Force History, Wilfred J. Paul, Col., USAF,
Director, Albert F. Simpson, Air Force Historian. Chicago
(The University of Chicago Press), 1948, 1949. Vol. I, pp.
xxxi+788; Vol. II, pp. xxi+,897.
These are the first of the seven volumes which will tell the
story of our Air Force in the late global war. It is a cooperative
work, directed by two historians of reputation, Professor Craven
of New York University and Professor Cate (B.A. and M.A.,
U. of T.) of the University of Chicago. Like the war-history of
the Navy, which ostensibly is being written by one man, this is
the result of a vast amount of collecting, classifying, and process-
ing of records and documents. No history, it would seem, has
ever had more gathering and organizing of material behind it.
It is not an official history for the benefit of the Air Force,
rather a report to the American people in which the authors
"have tried to set down as they have understood it the story of
the Army air arm for the people to whom that arm belongs." It
is written by young men who have had historical training as well
as service in the Air Force. Perusal of their work seems to justify
the assertion of the editors that their historical training has not
been overcome by service loyalty, and the University of Chicago
sponsored the work "on the understanding that the authors would
be given access to all pertinent documents and would enjoy per-
fect freedom of interpretation." Such excellent intentions to
write objective history are being put to severe test in this under-
taking which, in addition to being contemporary history, is the
story of continuous controversy still being carried on with vigor
and passion.
In his introductory chapters on the Air Force in World War
I and between the wars, Professor Cate sets an admirable exam-
ple of critical synthesis and lucid interpretation for the other
authors to follow. In his discussion of the struggle of the new
and still untried arm for recognition we see the development of
the ideas about which controversy has raged during the war and
ever since. The air-men came to World War II with the firm
belief in the efficacy of strategic bombing, or attack on the enemy

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/. Accessed December 25, 2014.