The United States was forced into war on December 7, 1941 with the attacking of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Empire. Along with America’s vast resources came a seemingly more significant addition to the war. The United States brought with it the worlds best long-range heavy bombers. The Boeing B-17 Flyingfortress (pictured top-left) was originally introduced into service in 1938, but did not see significant action until 1942. At the time the Allies needed a long range bomber in the European theater. Germany had successfully sacked France and with it all of Europe. Now the Allies were forced into an air war launched from England and until the arrival of the B-17 lacked any sort of capable long-range bomber.
After initial setbacks in defense, the B-17 was overhauled and in 1943 was flying daily bombing raids into Germany dumping thousands of tons of bombs on German targets. The B-17 quickly earned a reputation as a plane that was capable of sustaining severe damage and surviving. Eventually the United States would introduce the B-24 Liberator (pictured middle-right) into the European theater as well. The Liberator was meant as a replacement for the B-17. Though incredibly successfully, the B-24 never fully established itself as the dominant bomber.
The B-17 and B-24 bombers were perhaps the most successful and valuable aircraft in the Second World War. The two bombers combined helped to bring the German army down and prove a theory brought up in the First World War, that aircraft could be used as offensive weapons. The Second World War was the turning point in aviation history in that those who controlled the skies controlled the war. Later on the U.S. would develop a newer bomber, the B-29 Superfortress (pictured bottom-left), capable of flying longer distances and slightly higher altitudes. This bomber was the first to have a pressurized cabin and remote controlled gun turrets. The B-29 would go on to become world famous for dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima and later Nagasaki in August of 1945.