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Both Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco utilized airpower to great effect in their military operations.
Mussolini, in hopes of creating a “New Roman Empire” decided to invade Ethiopia in 1936. His air superiority helped his troops to an easy victory. Mussolini also utilized chemical weapons such as Mustard Gas and executed rebel guerillas indiscriminately.
Franco had very few resources during the first few months of the Spanish Civil War. Most of his air and sea power was borrowed from friendly fascist countries, like Italy and Germany. Mussolini sent more than 700 airplanes to aide Franco and his army, which were used to great effect. Planes are what got the Nationalist army from North Africa to Spain, and planes are what Franco used to harass Republican forces with new strategic and tactical bombing raids. These raids would become common practice during World War II. Strategic bombings were used to wipe out Basque opposition at Guernica by leveling the city. These raids were conducted by 19,000 members of the Luftwaffe, who would use what they learned in World War II.
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