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Allied Terror bombing of Germany

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Tomcat, Nov 10, 2014.

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  1. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Even though no pre-war air forces had the means to accomplish what Douhet theorized, many American, British and German airmen paid at least lip service to this now discredited theory. As far as I can tell, Bomber Command always visualized bombing German cities and vice versa, even though their political leader didn't always agree. British civilians were issued gas masks on the idea that gas weapons would be part of the mix-it could have been worse.

    I have to generally agree with TiredOldSoldier's last paragraph but I think the reason for the continued and unnecessary city bombing in 1945 was that the British and American bomber barons had promised that their air attacks would win the war. They didn't, and I believe the British and American bomber leaders were desperately trying to make good on their promises and protect their services in the post-war era. At no time has any country called a war quits due to bombing alone. Instead of just saying, "Well, our bombers have done good things, but we're afraid that Douhet's theory was false.", they never questioned their basic operating principle.
     
  2. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Correct me if I am wrong, But my understanding is that the British favoured night raids on German cities, specifically targeting the morale of the German people as per Churchills orders as I remember Chamberlin forbade targeting civillians. But the American strategy was day time bombing at high alltitude targeting strategic targets as their consititution expecially forbade them from targeting civililans and the only exception was the 1000 bomber raid over dresden?
     
  3. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Does any one doubt the Nazi's would have done far more damage to England if they had the means?? The only thing holding back the Nazi's was not morality, but the lack of suitable bombers
     
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  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You do read through these websites, don't you?
    Is quite unambiguous, and a rather blatant statement that the initial bombing was civilian targeted. Further,

    [​IMG]

    Which is a bald-faced lie. It would be at least two years later before the city center was a target of British bombers. As of 1939, no one had yet invented a working crystal ball - as such, it would be nigh impossible for the US wire service to say that two thirds of the city center would eventually be destroyed...If two-thirds of the city center being destroyed is even a close approximation to the truth.
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I've been accused of using the arguments of the playground for saying this before, but: 'They started it'.

    I still think that line of argument stands though.
    In a time of total war, where each of multiple sides from the highest politician to the lowest man in the street would have cheerfully turned the opposition's cities into a sheet of radioactive glass if given the opportunity I'm often puzzled by the moral debates about bombing cities.
    But then, as with all moral debates, there is inevitably an amount of ambiguity and even doubt; that is in the very nature of morality & ethics - they have fluid edges.

    So along come people like those behind the above site who can insert the knife into those uncertainties and twist.
    It isn't about 'Terror bombing' (a phrase coined by Goebbells himself, I believe) or treatment of PoWs, or 'Real History' or crime; it's about creating more uncertainty and doubt by association around other less morally ambiguous agendas.

    Bombing civilian cities is a fearsome thing, but so is a war with a 50M+ blutpreis.
    We can to & thro all we like, but it was what it was. Contemporary leaders made a choice that very few of us could make to carry the fight to the enemy in a manner that they perceived could only help shorten the war, and the men sent were brave men, boys even; facing a horrendous casualty rate while striking targets that weren't seen by many as all that morally ambiguous at the time - more justified punches at an aggressor by any and all means.

    Total. War.
    Blame Adolf; he started it.
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Ummm, the Germans used incendiary bombs quite heavily during the London Blitz. Thankfully, weather conditions were never right for the creation of a "firestorm." on the scale of Hamburg or Tokyo, but the German air raid on the night of 29/30 December, 1940 is often referred to as The Second Great Fire of London.
     
  7. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    It wasn't just Hitler - it was the failed German generation. They wanted it and they got it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It can be based on facts and horiribly biased. Such sites often are, of course they also tend to include a lot of "not facts" and logical errors as well. There is a reason that one of the best introductory books on statistics is titled How to Lie With Statistics. Simply presenting only the facts that support your position and ignoreing the others is one of the most common methods of biasing an argument.

    The facts don't varry with the side if they are truly facts. I don't see that we are censored often at all. As for "shielded from the truth" I'm not completely sure what you mean by it but again I don't see that it as a common thing as long as you aren't in places like China, North Korea, or Iran where there are pretty tight controls on what sites and books you can access.

    The British went to night raids due to losses. They targeted German industry from the beginning just how they tried to impact German industry did change over time to a large extent due to the realities of war. There is nothing in the US constitution that forbids targeting civilians during war from what I've read although the US strategic bombing campaign wasn't doing it either. Nor was Dresden an exception.
     
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  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Well, at least it won't have been updated in a while! :)
     
  10. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I wanted to salute lwd's post but I already have exceeded my quota. He is absolutely right: that is indeed a hide-and show game.

    Holocaust denial is based on concealment of real nature of murderous Nazi regime. The neo-Nazis simply skip events during 1933-1945 and start moaning about the Injustice that the Allies have done to the German people and the German state. What the present day Nazi do is painting a rosy picture of peaceful Hitler's Germany that was attacked and destroyed by the Jewish Capitalists and Judeo-Communists.
    Here is a slogan, on the image below, that reveals who the Holocaustianity is: »Den Holaust hat es nie gegeben« or translated into English: »There was no Holocaust«. All together with a rosy picture of peaceful German countryside.

    How can someone seek the truth there if their lies are so blatant.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Its no different then the Japanese who complain about the bombing of Japan while ignoring the devastation they did to China. 100k killed estimated in Shanghai and Nanking each, It took them longer but the losses were the same. In fact Japan had a campaign in 1944 (I believe ) they called the three all's; Kill all, loot all, burn all. If Germans had wanted the bombing to stop then get rid of the Nazi's and stop supporting them to the bitter end.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You are commingling the Japanese policy of "The Three Alls" or "Burn to Ash Strategy"; begun, and the source varies between 1938 - 1941, and the 1944 offensive Operation Ichi-Go.

    You can fault the Japanese for taking some great excesses in their Scorched Earth policy, but don't forget that Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang where practicing the same policy against the Chinese Communist forces and the Japanese.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The civilian casualties in the Dutch East Indies on the other hand don't have any comparable events to off set them and for some reason tend to be ignored much of the time.
     
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  14. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Putting the first RAF attack on a city in December 1940, after the end of the BoB is ridiculous, 1940 era bombing was hugely imprecise and night bombing was even worse, while the first civilian casualty of a combatant was British (but one can hardly argue Scapa Flow was not as legitimate a target a Willehlmshaven) the first night bombing campaign of German cities was in May 1940 with 50 to 100 bomber raids , the first attack on Berlin was in June 1940 (by the French) and if the "attack on Tempelhof airport" in August by 95 bombers was anything different than an attack on the city we must then conclude there was no bombing of London, just an "attack on the London docks". If we go by "they started it" there are very good arguments in favour of "the RAF did".
     
  15. green slime

    green slime Member

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    [​IMG]
    Ruins of Guernica (1937)

    [​IMG]

    Wrsaw, 1939


    I doubt we could make a serious claim that it was the RAF that started bombing civilians.
     
  16. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    This topic could also bring up the point that even if the Allied bombing towards the end was excessive, the Germans did plenty of terrorizing themselves which balances things out, and I'm not just talking about the sadistic torture and killing of millions of innocent Jewish people and Slavs.
     
  17. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Indeed. Like the mad plan to utterly destroy Germany with the Nero Decree on the 19th March, 1945 wasn't excessive. Like continuing the war after the destruction of AGC (Operation Bagration) and the D-Day invasions wasn't excessive. German leaders could at any time have stopped the bombing by surrendering unconditionally. They chose to continue the fighting and killing, when all was lost.

    Guess the Nazi Leadership didn't care quite so much about the German people and German Culture as they pretended to.
     
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  18. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    I look at is this way. Yes civilian casualties in war are a terrible thing, and viewing pictures of innocents puts a human face on the matter. Pictures of children especially tears me up regardless of nationality. No honor or glory there friends. I can't help but think that in the long run some good if it can be called that may have come out of it. Germany or Japan really hasn't made trouble for anyone lately, certainly not on the scale as we saw in WW2. Maybe the memories of all that comes with making war sunk in. Who knows. Just my 2 cents worth there.

    And welcome back Tomcat. Always good to hear from you.
     
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  19. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    GS "they refused to surrender unconditionally" so anything goes is not a good argument, you can justify anything with that. Warsaw and Rotterdam (actually in the case of Rotterdam they did but too late to call back the bombers) refused to surrender, and the Germans were not threatening the population and demanding "unconditional surrender" from hundreds of miles away but the surrender of fortified cities they had already surrounded, that demand was entirely within the bounds of accepted use of bombing despite what the Allied propaganda claimed. In the case of Warsaw they even dropped leaflets asking the population to evacuate as the city was now a war zone. No way Warsaw and Rotterdam can be classified as strategic bombing, though obviously such distinctions made no difference to the victims. Such niceties disappeared as the war went on, Belgrade was attacked from day one, Stalingrad reduced to a pile of rubble (though asking the Soviets to surrender sounds was very very ulikely to have any effect so little surprise the Germans didn't even try),

    No doubt the German leadership were a bunch of madmen that refused to face reality, (BTW I also like using Bagration and D-Day as definitive proof the German army could no longer even defend successfully, though the battles in the Ukraine and Italy the year before were probably already proof of that), but the same accusation can, to a lesser extent, be levied against the "bomber barons" that refused to face the fact that bombing was not going to win the war, just kill lot of people. Thousands of bombs will obviously have some effect, but by 1943 it was pretty obvious they were not going to have a decisive one to anyone with a reasonably open mindset rather than an agenda.

    Demanding unconditional surrender probably lengthened the war by a year or more, the axis leaders at that point had nothing to lose, it certainly lengthened it by a few weeks and tens of thousands of deaths when you add Nagasaki to the Soviet attack, so are the Casablanca leaders responsible for lenghtening the war?
    Going back to strategic bombing and the Douhet theories the verdict is not that clear cut, air attacks can cause sufficient shock to provoke a capitulation, but "shock" is the key word here, McNamara style gradual escalation is unlikely to be effective, and that's exactly what happened in WW2. MAD probably greatly contributed to keeping the cold war from going hot, on the other hand a combination of bombing and unconditional surrender demands is unlikely to be effective, and airpower, like any form of firepower, alone can disrupt but not stop human activities, given sufficient time humans adapt, and a pure air campaign gives a determined defender all the time he needs.
     
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  20. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Did the demand for unconditional surrender "Lengthen" the war? The Nazi leadership started it. That definitely lengthened the war. Before the invasion of Poland, there was peace. So let's keep talk about "lengthening" to what is reasonable. The Fascist leadership of the Axis powers were unreasonable. They had already shown themselves to be unreasonably uncivilised, by their conduct prior to the war (Kristalnacht, Nanking). Their level of civilised reason did not improve as the war progressed. When they inflicted the harm they did on the population of Europe and Asia, they proved they were playing in an entirely different league of barbarity.

    An estimated 75,000 French people died in France due to Allied bombing. This figure is remakably similar in size to the number of Jews residing in France in 1940, that were slaughtered in the Holocaust (ca 77,500). The difference being one was an indirect consequence of attacking infrastructure, communications, and transport hubs, and the other was a deliberate genocide.

    Axis leaders only had everything to lose, because of their own criminal policies of greed, imperialism, and the organised genocide they inflicted on other peoples. People like that cannot be reasoned with, there would be no hope for a lasting compromise peace, that saw the Fascist leaders remain in power. In March, 1945, when the writing is in 40-foot neon lettering, for even the most obstinate diehards of the regime that the war is lost, and there will be a reckoning, but still resistence continues.

    So then the question What alternative do you offer? What is your suggestion to do with the bombers and their crews in March-April 1945? The fact is, it is a massive organisation, and the war is still being fought, and lads from the Commonwealth and the USA are dying daily on the front, and V-weapons still being launched (last V-2 hit Kent on 27th March, last V-1 March 29th). The V-weapons destroyed so many homes in England, it created a housing crisis.

    As a belated (post-posting note): If I was a Joe or Tommie on the ground in March 1945 facing the mix of fanaticism and defeatist insanity that was 13 to 60 year olds in Volksturm, I can tell you I'd be bloody happy every time I heard those bombers heading into Germany.
     
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