Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

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Strengthening the Air Corps

Fortunately for the U.S., President Franklin D. Roosevelt realized the dominant role played by Hitler's Luftwaffe in European international relations, and on Jan. 12, 1939, he delivered a special message to Congress calling for strengthening of the Air Corps. Congress then authorized $300 million for 5,500 new airplanes. This was a "shot in the arm" for the U.S. aircraft industry which began to expand immediately. With another war believed imminent, many nations began placing large orders for American airplanes, a further boost for U.S. manufacturers. With this increase in activity came a corresponding increase in research, which though it had not been ignored in the 1930s, had been greatly limited by lack of funds.

Click on the following links to learn more about aviation research prior to World War II.

First Automatic Airplane Landing
High Altitude Research
Aircraft Cannons
Rocket-Assist Takeoff
Air Corps Expands

Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.