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Making Jet Engines in World War IIBritain, Germany, and the United States$
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Hermione Giffard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226388595

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226388625.001.0001

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Turbojet Production during World War II

Turbojet Production during World War II

(p.15) Chapter One Turbojet Production during World War II
Making Jet Engines in World War II

Hermione Giffard

University of Chicago Press

This chapter tells the story of the production of the world’s first jet engines in Britain, Germany and the United States. It changes our understanding of the place of the jet engine in all three countries’ war efforts and challenges us to adopt a much broader understanding of production. It puts the jet engine story back into the context of the Second World War, highlighting the decisions to produce jet engines and the role played by the aero-engine industry in them. It shows how the British programme sprang out of that nation’s strength, whereas production in Germany was born out of weakness, of desperation. The chapter argues that the jet engine was appealing to the German Air Ministry because it could be produced more quickly and easily than existing piston engines in the National Socialist production system, rather than because it was more advanced than existing engines. The chapter’s section on the American jet engine programme again stresses that the prospect of adopting a British jet engine design was appealing to the American Army Air Forces because of the possibility that production offered for quick entry into the turbojet field not because of lack of inventive ability.

Keywords:   turbojet, technical change, jet engine, production, industry

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