Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 38

Thread: Those Who Defend 'Bomber' Harris's Destruction of German Cities Are Wrong, Geoffrey Wheatcroft Argues

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Last Online
    Thursday, February 10th, 2011 @ 01:19 PM
    Status
    Prolonged Absence
    Ethnicity
    English
    Country
    England England
    Gender
    Posts
    478
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Those Who Defend 'Bomber' Harris's Destruction of German Cities Are Wrong, Geoffrey Wheatcroft Argues

    Firestorms darken our past: Those who defend 'Bomber' Harris's destruction of German cities are wrong, Geoffrey Wheatcroft argues

    GEOFFREY WHEATCROFT

    Sunday, 7 August 1994


    NOT long ago, The Dam Busters most famous of all the British war films, was shown on television. Seeing it again after 40 years, I thought I detected two changes.

    Group Captain Guy Gibson's black labrador is run over just before the raid on the Ruhr dams, in which his name is used as a code-word. In the original (and in real life) the dog's name was 'Nigger'; in the latest version, it is dubbed as 'Trigger'. An acceptable piece of political correction, one might say, an example of how our attitudes have improved. The other change was more interesting. A passage had been removed from the original, which exultantly showed the effects of the breached dams: torrential water poured over farmland, through factories, and into mines, drowning terrified workers.

    This excision suggests that our view of the wartime bombing campaign has altered, but not necessarily that we have become more honest. We still can't make up our minds about Bomber Command and Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris, its commander.

    Two years ago a statue of Harris was unveiled in the Strand by the Queen Mother despite the protests of the Mayor of Dresden among others. The Queen Mother is said to have objected also to Death by Moonlight, a Canadian drama-documentary to be shown tonight on Channel 4. The programme has already aroused vehement criticism, and even a lawsuit, in Canada, a country which made a disproportionately large contribution to Bomber Command and suffered disproportionately large losses, almost 10,000 killed.

    The Queen Mother's loyalty to the old air crew is admirable, and the insistence of some, though not all, of the airmen that what they did was necessary and right is understandable. Nevertheless, I believe they are wrong, and that it is still important to say so 50 years on.

    Bomber Command made the most distinctive single British contribution to the Second World War, perhaps even to the history of warfare. For the first time a fleet of aircraft was built for the purpose of bombing another country. From 1942-5, a campaign of 'strategic' - or 'area', or 'terror' - bombing destroyed most of the cities of Germany and killed 600,000 people, most of them women and children.

    If television coverage of war had been then what it is now, a Rwandan who saw what was done to those cities might have wondered about the claims made for the superiority of European civilisation. The destruction of the German cities by fire-bombing was no different in degree from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the direct progenitor of subsequent bombing of civilians, from Vietnam to Afghanistan; the precursor, indeed, of the 'mutual assured destruction' implied by the contest between nuclear super-powers.

    Harris was appointed chief of Bomber Command in February 1942. His first raids were largely publicity stunts, like the bombing of medieval Lubeck ('more like a fire-lighter than a human habitation', in Harris's words) and the 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne. The propaganda value of the Dam Busters raid itself was much greater than the damage done to the German war economy.

    In 1943, the Ruhr cities, Hamburg and Berlin, were bombed in turn. The Operations Order for the bombing of Hamburg in July envisaged the 'total destruction' of the city. That was practically achieved. On the night of 27-28 July, several square miles of the residential and commercial heart of the city were engulfed in a firestorm which burned for several hours at a temperature of 1,000 degrees centigrade. More than 40,000 people were killed.

    But there was worse to come. More bombs were dropped on Germany in the last three months of 1944 than in all of 1943. Two- thirds of the entire weight of bombs dropped on Germany during the war were dropped in the 11 months from D-Day to VE Day. In this last phase there were no great industrial cities like Hamburg or Essen left, and so scores of smaller towns of no conceivable military or industrial importance were obliterated, like Darmstadt or Wurzburg, razed on 11 September 1944 and 16 March 1945 respectively.

    How did this happen? Like most historical events, it was a product of design and accident together. The RAF was the first independent air force created by any great power, instituted with the purpose of winning wars by aerial bombardment. Bombing gained in prestige when a tribal uprising in Iraq was bombed into submission and when rebellious Arab villages in Palestine were held down by 'air pin'. The officer in command in both cases was Arthur Harris.

    The outbreak of war in 1939 found the RAF equipped with a large fleet of bombing aircraft; it was supposed that, in Baldwin's words, they would 'always get through', flying unopposed in daylight to bomb precise targets at will. But in 1939-40 Bomber Command discovered that the bomber did not get through in daylight: its squadrons were torn to pieces by the newly-developed monoplane fighter. So it turned to night bombing, for which it was quite unprepared technically. In August 1941, an independent survey for the War Cabinet discovered that only one bomber in nine was bombing within five miles of its intended target. More RAF aircrew than Germans had been killed, and the offensive was broken off.

    But it was renewed in 1942 with far greater resources. Accepting that it could not hit precise targets, Bomber Command developed 'area bombing': large forces dropped quantities of high explosives and incendiaries to set whole cities alight. Harris did not invent this policy. When he arrived at Bomber Command, he found a directive from the Air Ministry: 'the primary object of your operation should now be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population and, in particular, of the industrial workers'. But he applied it with a relish.

    Up to his death in 1984 Harris always defended the campaign but his defence fails on its own terms. He had claimed in 1942 that Bomber Command would win the war single-handed within two years. Yet the Germans were still fighting in the rubble of their cities in the spring of 1945. German war production reached its peak in the summer of 1944, and was seriously checked only when American bombers, protected at last by long-range fighters, were able to bomb accurately by day.

    Harris also claimed that 'bombing proved a comparatively humane method', because 'it saved the flower of this country from being mown down by the military in the field' as had happened in the previous war. That is even more specious. When Harris took over at Bomber Command, its casualties were no more than 7,448. By the end of the war they were 72,530; 55,573 of them killed. They were indeed the flower of the country, a lost generation who had been sent over the top like their predecessors on the Somme.

    At least Harris was honest: his aim was to destroy whole German cities and their inhabitants. Others were not. The official British line was doubly dishonest. First, the government had said, at the beginning of the war, that it would always refrain 'from attacking the civilian population as such for the purpose of demoralisation'. Britain was a signatory to the 1922 Washington Treaty which outlawed the bombing of civilians. More strikingly still, Sir John Steel, who was to become the first commanding officer of Bomber Command, had scorned 'a lot of nonsense talked about killing women and children. Every objective I have given my bombers is a point of military importance . . . otherwise the pilots, if captured, would be liable to be treated as war criminals.'

    Yet by June 1940, Churchill was musing about 'a devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers on the Nazi homeland'. In October the War Cabinet decided that 'the civilian population around the target areas must be made to feel the weight of the war'.

    But - and this was the second dishonesty - these were private communications. Throughout the bombing campaign, ministers lied to the public. They repeated what Attlee, as deputy prime minister, told the Commons in 1943: 'There is no indiscriminate bombing.' This was untrue, as he knew, as everyone in the government knew, as all in Bomber Command knew.

    There was another justification in the background. In the blasted German cities in 1943-4 a cynical joke was sometimes made about 'judische Rachung'. Of course bombing wasn't 'Jewish revenge'; but an awareness on the British side of German wickedness towards the Jews, and the other atrocities of National Socialism made this terrible punishment easier to inflict. When British troops reached the German cities in 1945 they were appalled at the devastation. If they also belonged to the units which liberated concentration camps, they were inclined, as one former soldier has recorded, to think that 'the buggers got what they deserved'.

    And yet, in the end, it is impossible to defend what was done in our name. To say that the Germans started it and that they got what they asked for was answered at the time by the Tory statesman, Lord Salisbury, in a private letter to Sir Archibald Sinclair, head of the Air Ministry: 'We do not take the devil as our example.' Was the war really no more than a contest in frightfulness, or was it fought for a good cause which could be, and was, sullied?

    For all the protests of the Bomber Command Association against programmes like the one shown tonight, there were many airmen who were gravely disturbed by what they did. Their dead comrades were as much the victims of a misbegotten policy as the 100,000 children who were killed. Or should we take such pride in the bombing campaign as to make another war film, showing how those children died?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion...s-1374893.html

    I agree with this. The war mongering Nazi Party was the problem, not Germans.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nordlicht's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Last Online
    5 Days Ago @ 06:15 PM
    Ethnicity
    germanic
    Ancestry
    northern Germany
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    Germany Germany
    State
    Baden Baden
    Location
    Schwarzwald
    Gender
    Family
    Single parent
    Politics
    Patriot
    Posts
    34
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Harris and Churchill are not forgotten in Germany. To Hell with them...
    Wer weiß redet nicht, wer redet weiß nicht
    Those who now do not talk, who talks does not know

  3. #3
    Senior Member arcticdoctor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Thursday, May 31st, 2018 @ 03:05 AM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    Anglo-American
    Ancestry
    england,france,norway,germany
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Alaska Alaska
    Gender
    Family
    Grandparent
    Occupation
    Medical Doctor
    Politics
    National Socialism
    Religion
    The Old Religion
    Posts
    241
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Those who confuse wartime propaganda with history are doomed to repeat it.

    "I agree with this. The war mongering Nazi Party was the problem, not Germans."

    This is total BS. The jews and their running dogs,ie, churchill and roosevelt,
    were gunning for the NSists right from the start.
    The most telling fact that clearly demonstrates the hypocrisy of the "allies" is
    that england and france declared war on Germany for invading Poland but
    studiously avoided declaring war on the Soviet Union which was invading
    Poland at the same time. And in their lust to "liberate" Europe from the "nazis",
    those freedom loving amurricans and brits teamed up with the worst tyranny
    in the history of the world (these same commies) to smash the Germans and then hand over all of Eastern Europe to the commie butchers.

    Hah, some democratic, peace-loving liberators.
    To paraphrase H L Mencken, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the average white man.
    Illegitimi non Carborundum ! Coitus non Circum !
    Ex Gladio Libertas ! Μολών λαβέ !
    Si vis pacem, Para bellum !
    'All Political Power Grows out of the Barrel of a Gun' Chairman Mao

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nebelwerfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Last Online
    Thursday, May 10th, 2012 @ 08:20 PM
    Ethnicity
    Germanic
    Country
    European Union European Union
    Gender
    Posts
    122
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    in the latest version, it is dubbed as 'Trigger'. An acceptable piece of political correction, one might say, an example of how our attitudes have improved
    Red bull **** alert.

  5. #5
    Funding Member
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Untersberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Last Online
    Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 @ 10:11 PM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    Norsk/Kelt
    Ancestry
    Norge/Eireann
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    Australia Australia
    State
    Nordic Union Nordic Union
    Location
    Freundschaftsdorff
    Gender
    Family
    Kompliziert!
    Occupation
    Border Protection
    Politics
    Volksgemeinschaft
    Religion
    Ásatrú
    Posts
    701
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    97
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    76
    Thanked in
    28 Posts
    Bomber Harris is a War Criminal.

    He remains a Mass Murderer of Women and Children.

    He will never be forgotten for his disgusting and brutal crimes against humanity.

    His very mention of name makes me absolutely sick in the stomach..
    Wahrheit Macht Freiheit.
    http://www.rheinwiesenlager.de
    HISTORY IS NOT HISTORY - UNLESS IT IS THE 100% TRUTH

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Last Online
    Thursday, March 17th, 2011 @ 04:09 AM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Subrace
    Alpinid
    Country
    England England
    State
    Wessex Wessex
    Location
    Berkshire
    Gender
    Age
    52
    Family
    Married
    Occupation
    IT
    Politics
    White Nationalist
    Religion
    Christian
    Posts
    92
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Bombings etc.

    To be honest I'm fed up of hearing endlessly about Dresden, as if it was the only city to be bombed in WW2. Probably no more than 40,000 people were killed in the Dresden boming, maybe 50,000 at the most, with 25,000 dead as a minimum. People like David Irving have exaggerated the losses in Dresden for personal political reasons, relying too much on original docuents and not on scientific analysis.

    Hamburg suffered 45,000 dead from the 31 July 1943 bombing alone, and Pforzheim was utterly wiped from the face of the earth with 83% of buildings destroyed and 1/3 of the population of the town (18,000) killed - the highest death toll of any town in WW2. Also worth mentioning is the butchery inflicted on the port of Swinemünde in March 1945, when it was packed with refugees - 23,000 people were mercilessly killed by American bombers. Berlin suffered 50,000 killed in bombings over the entire war.

    I suggest focusing on the entire bombing capaign, not just Dresden.

  7. #7
    Funding Member
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Ingvaeonic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Last Online
    Friday, July 12th, 2019 @ 03:02 AM
    Ethnicity
    English/German combo
    Country
    Australia Australia
    Location
    Eastern Australia
    Gender
    Zodiac Sign
    Sagittarius
    Posts
    1,752
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    12
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    21
    Thanked in
    17 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Tancred View Post
    To be honest I'm fed up of hearing endlessly about Dresden, as if it was the only city to be bombed in WW2. Probably no more than 40,000 people were killed in the Dresden boming, maybe 50,000 at the most, with 25,000 dead as a minimum. People like David Irving have exaggerated the losses in Dresden for personal political reasons, relying too much on original docuents and not on scientific analysis.

    Hamburg suffered 45,000 dead from the 31 July 1943 bombing alone, and Pforzheim was utterly wiped from the face of the earth with 83% of buildings destroyed and 1/3 of the population of the town (18,000) killed - the highest death toll of any town in WW2. Also worth mentioning is the butchery inflicted on the port of Swinemünde in March 1945, when it was packed with refugees - 23,000 people were mercilessly killed by American bombers. Berlin suffered 50,000 killed in bombings over the entire war.

    I suggest focusing on the entire bombing capaign, not just Dresden.
    You have made a valid point, Tancred. Other German towns and cities aside from Dresden were murderously bombed and destroyed, especially towards the end of the war, and Dresden was not the only German city or town to have heavy civilian casualties as a result of refugees being concentrated in such cities and towns; it is just that Dresden has become emblematic of the Western Allied bomber offensive in 1945 as a whole.
    Between the devil and the deep blue sea.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Schattenjäger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Last Online
    Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 @ 08:11 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Ancestry
    Schlesien
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    Germany Germany
    State
    Silesia Silesia
    Location
    rural areas (for now)
    Gender
    Family
    Youth
    Occupation
    would-be historian
    Posts
    487
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Perhaps Germany will have a chance for payback-time in the future.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Last Online
    Thursday, March 17th, 2011 @ 04:09 AM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Subrace
    Alpinid
    Country
    England England
    State
    Wessex Wessex
    Location
    Berkshire
    Gender
    Age
    52
    Family
    Married
    Occupation
    IT
    Politics
    White Nationalist
    Religion
    Christian
    Posts
    92
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Untersberger View Post
    Bomber Harris is a War Criminal.

    He remains a Mass Murderer of Women and Children.

    He will never be forgotten for his disgusting and brutal crimes against humanity.

    His very mention of name makes me absolutely sick in the stomach..
    The bombing campaign was pushed on Churchill by Lord Cherwell, a (yes, you guessed it) Jewish German refugee. It was Cherwell who evangelised the benefits of mass area terror bombing, and in this he was backed by Harris, who liked the innovation of this approach. Churchill, never the most subtle or humane of men, soon approved the idea because it suited his desire to hit the morale of the German civilian population. It was Churchill who initiated the area bombing campaign after an accidental German dropping of a few bombs on some residential houses in London gave him the pretext. The intention was to sow terror and kill as many people as possible - the military tried very cleverly to justify area bombing as necessary to destroy industry, factories etc, but the truth is that these places were never targeted - it was always the centre of towns and cities that were aimed for.

    My opinion is that the whole bombing thing was a Jewish revenge campaign, which Churchill accepted because it suited him and because some of the air force top brass like Harris were curious to see the effects of such warfare on the enemy. I don't think Harris was a war criminal for the simple reason that the German Luftwaffe employed similar tactics against allied cities, but he was certainly a great 'son-of-a-bitch' as the Americans would say. Churchill himself realised that area bombing was counterproductive because it would destroy valuable industry that the allies wished to take as reparations, and also create a massive housing problem for both the German civilians and the allied occupation forces.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Last Online
    Thursday, March 17th, 2011 @ 04:09 AM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Subrace
    Alpinid
    Country
    England England
    State
    Wessex Wessex
    Location
    Berkshire
    Gender
    Age
    52
    Family
    Married
    Occupation
    IT
    Politics
    White Nationalist
    Religion
    Christian
    Posts
    92
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Schattenjäger View Post
    Perhaps Germany will have a chance for payback-time in the future.
    I don't believe Germany will ever again dare to start a European war. The aim of the Anglo-American-Jewish world establishment was to eliminate Germany as a world power over two world wars (see the excellent book 'Conjuring Hitler' by Guido Preparata) - this objective was decided upon by around 1904 at the latest. And this aim was indeed very successfully accomplished. The reason for destroying German power was that there was a fear in the Anglo-Saxon world that Germany could combine with Russia and dominate the entire world. Such an alliance would be unstoppable and prevent the spread of unfettered liberal-democratic capitalism and its creators, the largely Jewish owned or controlled international financial system. Therefore, the elite within the British Empire and the USA decided that the two mighty, reactionary and autocratic land powers needed to become enemies - the two world wars, Hitler and the Russian Revolution were all created by the USA-UK establishment, with the support of Jewish financiers (eg. Rothschilds), in order to achieve this objective. It was all part of a great plan.

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. German Cities - Then and Now
    By Englisc in forum The German Countries
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016, 08:30 PM
  2. Nürnberg: The King Of German Cities
    By Wulfram in forum Visual Arts & Aesthetics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: Wednesday, February 8th, 2012, 12:10 AM
  3. Which Cities Accross Europe Are Former German Cities?
    By Unregistered in forum Questions About Germanics
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: Saturday, August 20th, 2011, 04:30 AM
  4. Famed 1943 `Dambusters' Attacks 'Achieved Nothing,' Thought `Bomber' Harris
    By Nachtengel in forum Modern Age & Contemporary History
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 10:45 AM
  5. 16th Century Views of German Cities
    By Wulfram in forum Early Modern Age
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Friday, May 15th, 2009, 07:41 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •