What are the significance of the war in the air during WWI?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the war in the air in World War I is significant for a couple of reasons.  The first is that World War I was the first time that aviation was able to be harnessed for warfighting purposes.  It helps to underscore how technology and science became coopted by the government for political ends.  This is something that becomes repeated throughout the relationship between science and government and it seems to start with advancements such as aviation technology and warfighting.  Additionally, I would suggest that another reason why the war in the air in World War I was so important was because it helped to fill the narrative of the overall destructive nature of the war.  Prior to World War I, ground troops were used to inflict damage, and the human cost could be seen face to face.  Yet, in the use of aviation in the war, the dropping of grenades on opposing soldiers and civilians could be enacted.  War became a practice in which individuals and nations could kill without needing to see the results of their actions.  In this, a new advancement, one of dehumanization, helped to make World War I such a bloody and brutal reality.

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