Wisconsin History Day By Day

Related Web Sites:
William 'Billy' Mitchell: Air Power Visionary

Billy Mitchell

General Billy Mitchell (Wikipedia)

Read More About It

"Wisconsin Blue Book" 1958

"Billy Mitchell: Crusader for Air Power" by Alfred Harley

"The Billy Mitchell Affair" by Burke Davis

"General Billy Mitchell, Champion of Air Defense" by Roger Burlingame

"General Billy Mitchell" by Booth Mooney



Interesting Fact:

Mitchell's father, Colonel John Lendrum Mitchell, was a wealthy Wisconsin senator and his grandfather, Alexander Mitchell, was a millionaire in the railroad business.

Study Questions:

  • In what ways did Mitchell believe the military was incompetent and negligent?
  • How did Mitchell prove to his superiors that aircraft were capable of sinking battleships?
  • What theory of Mitchell's relating to the Japenese and airpower came true?

    U.S. historical events that occurred on December 29:

    1845: Texas is admitted to the Union as the 28th state.
    1890: U.S. troops kill 300 Sioux Indians during the Wounded Knee massacre.

  • December 29

    December 29, 1879: Billy Mitchell, World War I military hero, was born in Nice, France of American parents but grew up in Milwaukee. Mitchell joined the Army at the start of the Spanish-American War. He stayed in the Army's Signal Corps, learning to fly in 1916. He commanded several large air units during World War I, becoming a brigadier general by war's end. Mitchell became a vigorous advocate of air power, but his condemnation of military superiors when they would not listen caused him to be demoted. He accused the military of incompetency and negligence. Mitchell was court-martialed in 1925 for his defiance of superiors. During World War II many of Mitchell's predictions about air power and Japan came true. Mitchell had died in 1936 but was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously in 1946.

    Wisconsin History Day By Day homepage
    January - December calendar page