Air Commodore (ret’d) Dr Peter Gray, the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Senior Research Fellow in Air Power Studies and Director of the Centre for War Studies, has recently published a valuable study on the conduct of the RAF’s bomber offensive during the Second World War. It is based on his 2010 PhD thesis from the University of Birmingham and makes a valuable contribution to the historiography. A review of it will appear on this blog soon.
Leadership, Direction and Legitimacy of the RAF Bomber Offensive from Inception to 1945 offers a fresh approach to the debate on the RAF’s strategic bomber offensive by using modern strategic leadership theory as an analytical tool to examine the campaign. In particular, it looks at the legality and legitimacy of the offensive and explores the key interfaces between the military leaders, the politicians and allies. It also looks at the major controversies in the aims and objectives of the campaign and the personalities involved.Modern literature from the leadership field is used to consider the challenges facing those charged with the formulation and execution of the offensive. Aspects of the senior leadership disputes are also dealt with in the context of the leadership literature and in the wider context of the strategic challenges then facing Churchill, Sinclair and Portal.Furthermore there is a multi-disciplinary bent to the book that enables the reader to move beyond the narrow confines of military considerations to the thorough investigation of the legality, legitimacy and morality of the offensive that is provided.
Peter Gray, The Leadership, Direction and Legitimacy of the RAF Bomber Offensive from Inception to 1945 (London: Continuum, 2012)