The German way of war took a historic and strategic turn during the Great War, incorporating attacks from the air using enormous zeppelins and airplanes in concert with submarine operations and ground offensives.
In World War I, the Imperial German Navy used strategic aerial bombing for the first time as part of an overall combined-arms strategy. The navy viewed Great Britain as the main enemy and strategic bombing as a way to complement submarine warfare.1
The campaign would first use submarines to choke off food and supplies and to retaliate against the Royal Navy’s blockade, which Germany regarded as an immoral, cowardly tactic against civilians. Second, an army offensive would force the British Expeditionary Force to consume more matériel, while strategic bombing would disrupt logistics by striking arms factories. Although civilian workers would be bombed, the German Navy saw this as more legitimate than starving innocent German women and children. This campaign heralded 20th-century ideas of total war and forever changed the nature of warfare.2