War in the Air, 1936
Major Helders, Claud W. Sykes
In War in the Air, 1936, which was first published in English in 1932, author Robert Knauss fantasizes about a confrontation between England and France. Writing under the pseudonym “Major Helders,” and using detailed descriptions of battles, strategies, and weaponry, Knauss’ aim is for the reader to realize that air power (in general) and ‘flying fortress’ bombers (in particular) would decide the outcome of the next war.
In this novel, the hero is the English air force commander Brackley, a carbon copy of the imaginary German leaders in other right-wing prophecies: firm, mysterious, infallible. In times of crisis, he surveys the situation “with lightning speed.” His war is one of movement, of risk-taking, of annihilation. Modern airplane technology allows him to carry out a style of warfare that fits his chivalric, warrior spirit. Only for an instant does he pity the population of Paris as his planes pour bombs over the city in a surprise attack. Pity, though, is not a virtue in the nationalist mind, though Vernichtungswille [the will to annihilate] is…