History, Department of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: History, Under the Supervision of Professor Lloyd E. Ambrosius. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Benjamin J. Johnson


This work examines the development of U.S. military airlift from unproven curiosity to a transformative system of technologies, tactics and logistical support which enabled the United States to engage diplomatic and military scenarios around the world. Through an examination of contemporary reports, technological advances and statistical analyses of airlift practices it is shown that the period of 1938-1949 witnessed a great leap in tactical and technological innovation within the U.S. air transport community. The capabilities utilized during air supply missions to China during World War II and the Berlin Airlift foreshadowed a transformative capability providing military and diplomatic solutions when none previously existed.

Advisor: Lloyd E. Ambrosius