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Sir Arthur Harris-Chief of Bomber Command-War Criminal?

Discussion in 'Sacred Cows and Dead Horses' started by pauledward, Feb 22, 2010.

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  1. pauledward

    pauledward Member

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    I think he was as was Carl Spatz, commander of the 8th Airforce in Europe. Harris, wanted to bomb German civilian targets and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives including my grandmother on my mother's side. He took great relish in
    destroying as many German cities as possible including the attack on
    Dresden in feb 1945. Attacking military targets is part of war-not intentionally bombing residential and commercial targets. Spatz, sided with Harris and was equallly criminal. Most people don't realize that after the British and Americans bombed Dresden, fleeing refugees, mostly women and children, were continuously strafed by American fighters!
    I was born and raised in Berlin, and now live here in the United States but I still mourn as do so many of my native countrymen, the senseless bombing of most of our beautiful cities. Despite that, I despise as do the vast majority of Germans, the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler in particular! Harris was an unrepentent butcher, but after the war, he fell in total disrepute from the British people-they realized what he was and was hated for it!!!
     
  2. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    Carl Spaatz was commander of the US Strategic Air Forces in Europe. Ira Eaker was the commander of the 8th Air Force from 1 December 1942 until January 1944, when he was replaced by Jimmy Doolittle.



    Please provide documentary evidence for this assertion - dates, times, locations, involved fighter groups, etc.
     
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  3. Lost Watchdog

    Lost Watchdog Member

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    Harris might have been a zealot and convinced he could win the war by bombing alone and maybe the Dresden raid was unnecessary but a "war criminal" - no. Bombing, like all war is a nasty business, and some times the good guys need to get down and dirty to win. I'm just reading John Keegan's American Civil War. When Sherman launched his Drive to the Sea, he knew it would cause major destruction and disruption to civilians but he felt he had to punish the Confederates in their heartland to end the war. Does that make him a war criminal even if he restored the union, freed the slaves and avoided even more bloodshed ?
     
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  4. Hilts

    Hilts Member

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    To answer your question, so far as I'm concerned, no, not at all.
     
  5. uksubs

    uksubs Member

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    So what about the Germans using V1 & V2 on London then :eek::confused:
     
  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm not a particular fan of Arthur Harris, but he was correct in his quote about relationship between what the Wehrmacht sowed and what was subsequently reaped by the German people.

    I hate it for the German people and your grandmother as to what befail them and I am certain that there are other grandmothers in other countries, such as Great Britain, who feel that what was done by the strategic bombing forces of the Western powers to be adequate and correct.

    There are already multiple threads concerning Dresden. I suggest strongly that they are read in their entirety before additional comments are made and that appropriate subsequent comments find their way to those threads and not here.
     
  7. -tmm-

    -tmm- Member

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    But do two wrongs make a right?

    Not that I agree/disagree with the point of the topic, but who was in charge of the V1 and V2 attacks...what about the bombings of historic British cities such as Coventry or Norwich - and more importantly did they already get tried for war crimes and punished? Like for like?
     
  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    How many times does this question come up on this Forum ? :rolleyes:

    Harris and Spaatz were carrying out the policies decided by their respective Governments. In Harris' case, the policy of area bombing had been decided and ordered by the Air Staff with the full support and direction of the War Cabinet ( eg Winston Churchill ) in mid-1941. Harris did not take over as CinC Bomber Command until February 1942.

    I am not defending area bombing or trying to pretend that Harris was a nice man, but the continual scapegoating of him alone is rather absurd.He carried out his orders - if anyone is considered as a 'war criminal' it should surely be Portal .....?


    ( 'Dresden' has been discussed in great depth on this Forum with voluminous quotations from many documents - I'd recommend the 'search' function ).
     
  9. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    No one was charged with or convicted of the "war crime of bombing civilians", not Goering, not anybody. He (Goering) was convicted on four counts, none of which involved his bombing policies. He wasn't charged with them since the allies answered in kind. The same for Doenitz and his submarine warfare, he wasn't charged with any U-boat based crime, only for breaking international law on slave labor.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    bottom line gentlemen : War is Hell, there are simply no rules.............

    E ~
     
  11. uksubs

    uksubs Member

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    My point is the V1 & V2 were just as bad as bombing as they it cites not military targets
     
  12. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The condemning part of both the V1 and V2 is their complete inablity to hit anything smaller than a huge CITY! They were terror weapons only, no strategic nor military value at all, simply terror and "vengence".
     
  13. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello mcoffee,

    come on that is a bit out of touch ;), right? I would say that anyone knows that ground straffing was done by any side. My mother had to ditch her bicycle a couple of times whilst being on the countryside to organize food.

    Due to the allied air supremancy and it's sheer numbers involved - the allied ground straffing had far greater proportions then those of the Luftwaffe in the early years of the war. As such the German population indeed faced a nightmare with the ground straffing.

    In regards to German feelings or interpretations towards the war:

    please don't forget the German population was totally indoctrinated by Goebbels propaganda (many of the surviving generation until today) - We Germans and our soldiers are/were behaving in an honorable way - a Luftwaffe pilot would never straff civilians, and so on...., and so on...

    Bottom line, I agree with Erich:

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  14. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    I agree with you Erich.

    How can Harris be classed as a war criminal? I believe that bastard Hitler started it off, him and those fanatic dipstick Nazis pigs.

    Cause and effect.

    Germany bombs London what are we to do?

    V1 & V2 attacks on London what are we to do?


    Both sides lost civilians and holding a grudge to this day dose not help, how can we move forward toward peace if people waves there fists in the air.
     
  15. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    the insanity of war gentlemen, I lost relatives from both sides, and for stinking what ? a small-made little Austrian comes to power in Germany no less and helps the nation of Germany rise to a full power and then goes off on a personal land grabbing mission deflating everything in his sight to no more, with the end result at wars fateful end of a total waste and vanquish of a country and peoples he does not have full right to call his own.

    so very true Richard the daily-nightly bombings of London and it's environs was purely political, propaganda and terror against a civilian population with real no strategic importance except to terminate the capital of England and so it can be best stated the same for Berlin in Germany. Germany under the Austrian leader reaped what it sowed...........

    I find threads like this worthless and totally disqusting
     
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  16. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello Richard,

    you are correct - however there are still many Germans of the Hitler generation that see things differently or are still trying to excuse WWII as such.

    When I talk to this generation one picture always comes up.

    England and France declared war on Germany - not the other way around.
    Hitler wanted back what was rightfully German before WWI (Poland, Ruhrgebiet and Sudeten). It was England who bombed Germany first (IIRC Willhelmshaven?).
    Since the British and French delared war, Germany had no other chance but to defend herself.

    In a way these arguments can't be disputed, or are difficult to be neglected - unfortunatley or sadly a part of this generation still doesn't get the full picture that regardless of Britain having declared war, that Hitler would have continued to make war in the West and East anyway - furthermore these people still negelect the Nazi system as such, or try to seperate, from their point of view "valid" German interests from those of the Nazis.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
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  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I agree. Your main task is to win and not lose, whatever it takes.
     
  18. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Not just Germans it seems Kruska.
     
  19. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Kruska is German.
    As for making excuses, I don't think he does.
    He may point out reasons why certain things happened in Germany, but he has never to my knowledge made any excuses for Hitler and the Nazi party.
     
  20. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Got me wrong Ted, I know Kruska is german....He knows I know he's German...He knows I know hes German ex forces...He knows I know Hes German awol...Absent with old lady from Germany...He knows all. Hes not bad for a foreigner though...even a german one...Hes my buddy...unless we talk Falklands...

    My post wasnt aimed at him Red...It was aimed at others who are not German on here who constantly berate the allied bomber offensive as war crimes over and over again. I must say I have my own doubts on its use, but as someone from BOB quoted only today on here...I will defend my country...And as slip quotes...Reap the whirlwind...No my dig was not at Kruska, and Kruska will know that...It was at some of our other members born in peacefull times, who have a funny attitude to the bombing campaigns, and can never seem to understand that if your bombed you bomb back...its life...its war...Liverpool was bombed...my mum lost her best mate as a school girl..she like the cockneys to Churchill..the message...give it back to them winnie...And we did. GIVE IT BACK TO THEM....its a return to sender thing...not an initiator as was the German bombing.
     
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