In 1920 the United States was eager for air races. Aerial combat in World War I had captured the public imagination. The airplane still possessed a wonderful newness. High speeds of aircraft were fascinating. All pilots were heroes straight from the pages of an adventure tale. Into this receptive setting, inaugurated as a stimulus to improve airplane design and performance, the Pulitzer Trophy Races were launched. From 1920 through 1925 these events, in addition to providing the general public, hungry for thrills, with a colorful show, were important in that they beneficially influenced pursuit and fighter plane design for several years to follow.