The following is a scanned true copy of General William “Billy” Mitchell’s most famous writing - Winged Defense. This book was hastily compiled and published just prior to Billy Mitchell’s 1925 court martial for insubordination. Published during the height of his popularity, Billy Mitchell intended the book to serve three primary purposes; codifying how the Air Force should be organized for national defense, correcting the record on the development of aeronautics in the United States, and to provide contemporary data on aviation as of 1925.
Although Billy Mitchell makes many arguments about the future of aeronautics in Winged Defense, the one that resonated the most was his pursuit of an independent air arm on equal footing with the Army and the Navy. The US Air Force would later be established as an independent service after World War II, cementing his visionary status and moniker in history as the “Father of the Air Force”.
Despite a host of arguments about the past and future of aviation, the most controversial part of this book were the cartoons laid out in the front and back covers. Unfortunately for Billy Mitchell, the cartoons lampooned Secretary of War John Weeks who had a stroke earlier that year and would resign due to health issues in 1925 before passing away in early 1926. General Mitchell would later assure the public that the cartoons were added by the publisher without his knowledge. However, the damage had been done, undermining his prophetic message about aeronautics.
It’s all in the pages below just as it was in 1925. The vision, the passion, and even the ill-chosen cartoons.