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The Militant, 30 March 1946

Eugene Varlin

No City Safe from New Air Weapons

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 13, 30 March 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


This it the second of a series of articles on the death-dealing weapons in the hands of the imperialist war-mongers who in their lust for world-domination, threaten the destruction of modern civilization. The first article, published last week, showed how the destructive powers of warfare multiplied from the beginning of World War I to the end of World War II.

* * *

If World War III comes, there isn’t a spot on this planet that will be safe from aerial attack. Ocean barriers, no matter how wide, are no longer a guarantee of security against bombing. This fact was dramatically demonstrated last September when three generals of the United States Army Air Force made a nonstop flight from Japan to Chicago in B-29’s.

On October 2, 1945, in an address to the Wings Club at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, General Le May, one of the three generals who made the flight, declared:

“I believe we could fly from the States to Europe in a B-29 right now, drop an atomic bomb and return safely. And, of course, if somebody in Europe had a B-29 or a better plane, they could do it to us.”

The B-29 will not be the last word in long-range bombers for very long. In his biennial report to the War Department on October 9, 1945, General Marshall stated:

“Development of even greater bombers capable of operating at stratospheric altitudes and speeds faster than sound and carrying bomb loads of more than 100,000 pounds, already is a certainty. These aircraft will have a sufficient range to attack any spot on the earth and return to a friendly base.”

If piloted aircraft capable of making round-trip bombing missions anywhere on earth are already “a certainty,” then pilotless rocket bombs able to make a one-way trip to any point on the globe are doubly certain. Rocket bombs, known as V-2’s, were used by Germany in her air war against England. Their effectiveness was limited because they could not carry so heavy a bomb load as airplanes and they were not sufficiently accurate.

Rockets Plus A-Bombs

These limitations have already been overcome. The first handicap of the rocket bomb has been overcome by the use of atomic energy. Despite its enormous destructive power, the atom bomb is extremely light in weight, far lighter than the bomb load of the V-2.

Secondly, highly accurate pilotless bombing is now possible. During World War II the V-T bomb fuse was developed. This fuse, an electronic device, explodes the bomb at the point in its flight nearest the target. New electronic devices, based on the same principles as the V-T fuse, are capable of guiding rockets to their targets.

In his report to Congress last October, General Marshall said:

“We can direct rockets to targets by electronic devices and new instruments which guide them accurately, to sources of heat, light and magnetism. Drawn by their own fuses, such new rockets will streak unerringly to the heart of big factories, attracted by the heat of the furnaces. They are so sensitive that in the space of a large room they aim them selves toward a man who enters, in reaction to the heat of his body ...”

At the close of the war, Germany was building ramps from which to launch V-2’s against the United States. The V-2 rocket bombs travel 2,000 miles an hour. No effective means of defense against them has yet been devised.

General Arnold, former Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, proposed as a counter-measure the launching of 3,000 mile an hour robot atom bombs from space ships operating outside the earth’s atmosphere to blow them up before they reached their target.

In any case, such weapons could never be completely effective. And only one or two rocket atom bombs penetrating the defense proposed by General Arnold could wipe out a city.

Today, the country best equipped to wage offensive aerial warfare is the United States. However, every major power is racing to build up an air force of long-range bombers and rocket bombs. No scientist believes that either the V-T fuse or the atom bomb will remain an American monopoly for more than five years. Every major power will strive to manufacture a sufficient quantity of aircraft and atom bombs to wipe any or all of its potential military enemies off the map.

General Marshall has said:

“With the continued development of weapons and techniques now known to us, the cities of New York, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago or San Francisco may be subject to annihilation from other continents in. a matter of hours.”

If World War III comes, whatever country is attacked will retaliate by launching its robot rockets. This war of robots can only result in mutual annihilation. And what were once the great centers of civilization will become enormous graveyards.

(To Be Continued)

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