Maxim, 1915, Defenseless America

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Hudson Maxim. Defenseless America. Hearst's International Library Co. New York. 1915.

Scan at Internet Archive.

Argues for bolstering of the American military for its inevitable use in World War I. 1916 preface declares "This book is presented with the compliments of the author: To a Few Selected Leaders of American Thought and Shapers of Public Opinion."

1915 preface argues "War is inevitable and imminent", pacifism will be America's downfall, etc.

Chapter VIII, "Aërial Warfare", starts on p. 203.

Maxim downplays the power of bombs (perhaps his area of greatest expertise):

As a matter of fact, airships are capable of working comparatively small damage by dropping bombs, unless the bombs can be made to hit and penetrate the object struck before exploding, for the reason that, unless confined, explosives have but little effect.

One advantage dirigibles have over airlanes, he mentions, is that they can drop bombs while stationary, and therefore aim them much more easily. However, airplanes cost less, move faster, and make smaller and less vulnerable targets.

He writes that the US has been slow to acquire military airplanes and its eventual attempt at a purchase was thwarted:

Prior to the outbreak of the European War, this government ordered from abroad an up-to-date French aëroplane with two Salmson motors, and one of the latest German aëroplanes with two Mercedes motors, with the intention of building a few of these machines. Then came the European War. The American purchases were commandeered, and we were thereby prevented from acquiring the much-desired air-craft. (pp. 216–217)

He argues for the need of a large air force, with multiple types of aircraft playing interrelated supporting roles, and makes the typical general statements about the strategic value of air power. (pp. 219–220)

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