By Andrea Lynn It was technology - bombers, to be precise - that cleared the way for Hitler, says a historian of Nazi Germany. Peter Fritzsche believes that Nazi Germany used the threat of foreign bomber attacks to mobilize and control its own people, and that mobilization and control led to civilian acceptance of the authoritarian state. In his article in The American Historical Review, Fritzsche argues that Nazi Germany, unlike England and France, "made chaos the governing principle of national politics: After 1933, the idea of jeopardy served to justify the construction of a new political order that was pitiless but itself merely provisional, a precondition for further mobilizations and further occupations." Just a few months after Hitler was appointed chancellor in January 1933, air defense officials decided that Germany couldn't afford the "political conflicts and social divisions" that had prevailed during the Weimar period (1919-1933). They also recognized that the coming air war required a communal response. Therefore, the thinking went, every man, woman and child should become responsible for the "entire body of the nation." Toward that end, Germany waged an all-out "airmindedness" campaign. The campaign amounted to full mobilization of the people along authoritarian political principles launched on the pretext of being "necessary for national survival in the age of total war," writes Fritzsche, a UI history professor, in the June issue of AHR. To the Nazis, civilian defense meant mobilizing into a "national army of utmost vigilance and true belief." "That the Nazis in fact decreased expenditures on air defense in favor of an offensive air capacity after 1936 not only points to the primacy of political over technical aspects of civil defense but also indicates that civil defense always served primarily domestic rather than military ends." In the article, "Machine Dreams: Airmindedness and the Reinvention of Germany," Fritzsche describes Nazi efforts to "air condition" Germans, including the youngest of citizens. Among other things, children went on field trips to flying rallies, airports and airplane factories. Schoolchildren so impeded production that plant visits were suspended in 1937. A 1939 census evaluated every citizen's air-defense skills in gliding, flying and motoring, and first-aid and air-defense training. While the results of the census are not known, Fritzsche said there is little doubt that "compared with their counterparts in England - who established public air-defense precautions late in the 1930s and only then in response to the Third Reich's warmongering - German civilians were better prepared for war and more resigned to its inevitability." "War fatalism was the valuable dividend of the campaign to make Germany airminded, which acknowledged the terror but emphasized the nation's ability to survive the modern air war. This fatalism facilitated acceptance of the authoritarian state."