In this episode of Talks at GS, Malcolm Gladwell, author and staff writer at The New Yorker discusses his latest book, The Bomber Mafia, a close look at how a group of WWII innovators and idealists set out to make war less lethal, but ultimately set the stage for far more destructive methods and technologies.
On precision bombing: “They felt they could make the rest of the war machine obsolete. And if you had bombers that could put bombs wherever they wanted, you wouldn't need armies. You wouldn't need infantry, you wouldn't need tanks, Jeeps, ships, the Marine Corps, wouldn't need nothing except for bombers.”
On Curtis LeMay’s impact as General: “If you served in the Air Force in the Second World War in any capacity, you would speak of LeMay the way a basketball player who played in the NBA in the 90s would speak of Michael Jordan. He was the greatest pilot of that generation, the greatest navigator of that generation, the greatest tactician of that generation. Virtually every tactic we used in the war against Europe in 1943 and 1944 was devised by Curtis LeMay…He was one of the greatest battlefield combat commanders of the Second World War.”
The episode was recorded on May 4, 2021.