World war one saw the birth of aviation as a concept in mlitary warfare.
As new army branch it developed fast as its advantages were soon well-understood. Although not as decisive as it was in WW2, aviation saw rapid development of the three types of combat planes as we know it still today: Reconnaissance, Fighters, and Bombers. Everything was set up, from the ancestor of the Stuka with the Junkers J-1 to the Handley-Page heavy bombers bound to Germany, the first aces and the first dogfight written tactics. Outside a technology leap, this was also an industrial battle that reflects widly diverging production strategies, and explains the outcome of ww1.
All in all, WW1 was the laboratory for planes, which had been freshly introduced in 1914 as a fresh alternative to balloons. 100 years after we can be astonished, seeing how these humble beginnings has produced, and so were thinking probably also the first men on the moon back in 1969...