Strategic Bombing Survey

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The term strategic bombing survey refers to a series of American examinations of many topics related to their involvement in World War II. The primary purpose of the survey was to determine the effectiveness of Allied, and more specifically American, strategic bombing campaigns in Europe and in Asia against the Axis powers. Other areas covered were medical treatment of casualties, intelligence/counter intelligence, and war production and distribution.

There are over one hundred reports comprising many thousands of pages. The surveys are careful reports that presented many details of the effects of Allied aerial attacks on the Axis powers. The Survey is an excellent source of detailed information about Axis war production.

The reports' conclusions were generally favorable about the contributions of Allied Strategic Bombing towards victory, but the results were mixed in a few specific areas of the Axis war economies. For instance, the European survey documented increased German war production in some categories of materials, despite considerable Allied bombing. These increases in 1944 German war production (fighter aircraft for example) were possible only through extraordinary efforts by the Germans. These increases would have been even greater had not strategic bombing taken place. Later post-survey research now suggests that some amounts of German war production documented by the Germans at-the-time were inflated by German manufacturers to avoid severe political repercussions.

There is also the instance of German fighter aircraft production numbers being too high, because late-war Me 109 aircraft rebuilds were also counted as new production in 1944–45. This information was not known at the time the Survey was being completed.

Noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith was a leading member of the survey.

There were three major surveys:

The 1946 survey on the atomic attacks coined the term "ground zero", defining it as "the point on the ground directly beneath the point of detonation"[1] (the original atomic bombs were detonated more than 500 meters above ground—at the point termed "air zero" in the report—for maximum destructive effect[2]).

See also

References

  • Wesley F. Craven and Cate James Lea. The Army Air Forces in World War II. 8 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948–1958. Official AAF history.
  • Lee Kennett. A History of Strategic Bombing. New York: Scribner's, 1982.
  • Alan J. Levine, The Strategic Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945 (1992)
  • Alfred Mierzejewski. The Collapse of the German War Economy, 1944–1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey. Over-All Report (European War) . Washington: Government Printing Office, 1945.
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey. The Defeat of the German Air Force. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1947.
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey. The Effects of Strategic Bombing on German Transportation. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1947.
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey. The Effects of Strategic Bombing on the German War Economy. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1945.
  • Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland. The Strategic Air Offensive against Germany. 4 vols. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1961. Official British history.

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