Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Newtonian Bombing


"The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everybody else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put that rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now, they are going to reap the whirlwind."
- Arthur "Bomber" Harris, 1940
As you read this quote, think about how it sounds in Washington... in Baghdad... in Damascus... London... Paris.

Where you stand depends on where you sit.  

10 comments:

jeffrey thurston said...

Arthur Harris rates exactly with Himmler or Goering or Tojo- a big fat war criminal. If you know anything about the RAF bombing of Germany especially in 1945 you know this. We (the U.S.) copied this in our firebombing of Japan in 1945- also a big fat war crime. Bombing is the cowardly war crime- cutting off people's head's or shooting people in a ditch is actually morally better- you are doing the evil deed "by hand" so to speak. Bombing and then denying that you're burning and maiming women and children is craven- very Western- very American- but a cowardly act nonetheless.

jeffrey thurston said...

PS- This is not to say that the airmen who flew the missions were cowards- they weren't obviously. Just as obviously the SS men who thought they were doing their best for Germany weren't cowards either. Nor were Japanese soldiers or Iraqi or Syrian terrorists/freedom fighters...

jeffrey thurston said...

All of what you say may be true but that doesn't lessen bombing's criminality. The argument of "they started it first" may be satisfying but it is logically false. The results of bombing are just invisible to us- that's the only reason it stands. You can feel the residual guilt of the A-bomb crimes by the howls of anger here in the U.S. when anyone tries to commemorate the victims. Bombing civilians the way the RAF did in Germany and the USAAF did in Japan is a crime.

PBurns said...

The experts on bombing in Germany all speak German, and though they may not have liked getting their ass kicked in by the RAF and American bombers, they do admit they started it (ask Angela Merkel) and that they killed far more than the Allied forces did. The Japanese will tell you the same -- one reason both Germany and Japan love Britain and the United States is that as soon as they rolled over, we took the boot off their neck. But not before. Today, neither of these powers is anxious to go down the road they had previously gone down **multiple** times before.

jeffrey thurston said...

I like your comment about "...the boot off their neck...". I think that is true- and sadly not an outcome we can expect out of today's hijinks...

PBurns said...

The bombings in Germany and Japan shortened the war and saved lives. No debate on that on either side. The notion that war is antiseptic is ridiculous, as is the notion that there is a "good" way to kill someone or a bad one. Let us not confuse aesthetics with ethics, or give a moment's consideration to the idea that workers engaged in the making of war munitions, train switching, and glass making for bomb sights were noncombatants. Not true.

If your point is that all war is a crime because women, elderly, and children are routinely killed, I would say yet, but that's not an original thought. War is war, and the goal is to win it, and not to lose it. The Japanese and Germans did indescribable horrors that were not about winning a war; we did not.

In 1941 and up until very recently, aerial bombing was so imprecise that there was no such thing as "targeted" bombing. Churchill understood that, which is why he went to carpet bombing entire city corridors where railheads, etc. came together. He would not salute the lie that aerial bombing of iron bombs, dropped by 20-year olds with bad maps were "targetted." Give him points for telling the truth.

Bomber Harris came onto the scene after the decision was made, and he did what needed to be done. Give him points for getting it done quickly. A knockout beats a bleed out -- ask any fighter.

It's always amusing to hear people, 70 years later, who have never had a bomb come through their own roof, opine with clean hands and a warm bed about a situation they have never been in because other people stood the watch and made decisions that today guarantee they can sleep safely at home.

Here's the simple truth: the folks in Britain and the U.S. who bombed Germany and Japan won a war that they did not start, and they did it in a way that saved countless lives by shortening the length of the conflict. Marquis of Queensbury rules? No, that's for pretenders. In a real fight, you fight to win. There is skill in that, often enough, but there are no rules.

jeffrey thurston said...

I'd discuss WW2 with you but it would just end up with " Jeffrey Thurston- you are an idiot!" so we needn't go down that road. I'd suggest you read up on Bomber Harris and RAF Bomber Command in WW2. If you knew about it you'd agree with me! "Area Bombing" or "Morale Bombing" didn't do much to end the war if anything- the only bombing which had a true effect were USAAF's industry and oil campaigns along with USAAF's destruction of the Luftwaffe. The Russians did all the heavy lifting in WW2- we contributed about 1/4 to the destruction of the Wehrmacht. That being said- the Air War in Europe was the largest contribution the West made to the war effort- not by killing civilians however but by making it impossible for the Germans to keep their army going. USAAF actually tried to get Harris to stop his useless destruction of German towns and cities (1,000 or so in 1945) to help with oil and industry campaigns but like Himmler he was committed to extermination. Finally I's say that the argument that it's not right to judge from a vantage of distance and time is BS- also BS that somehow the U.S. military has helped my freedom in my lifetime...

PBurns said...

What's funny is that you assume I do not know who Bomber Harris is, or how the war went, yet I am the person who quoted him. I have researched the war to a considerable length (college courses, books, visits to Normandy, concentration camps, war cemeteries, etc.)

You seem to be making the assumption that the entire Allied leadership was composed of idiots and war criminals, but in fact history has demonstrated that was not the case, and the Germans and Japanese certainly recognize it. You also seem think Bomber Harris decided the war alone. In fact, he was a chain of command that started at the very top in London and Washington. It was Churchill who ordered the carpet bombing. Not a deeply hidden fact, and no apologies need to be made about it today.

jeffrey thurston said...

Believe me Patrick I understand what you're saying- however I think on this subject I know at least as much as you know about terriers! "Morale bombing" was a British idea that came from the top down. I don't think you don't know about WW2- just that you seem to regurgitate the Western Allies Official History of it as expounded on the History Channel and mainstream pop history. Do you actually know how the RAF conducted bombing raids over German cities by 1945? The mechanics? If so you'd agree with me that this was a hideous war crime! You speak from the comfy chair of the victors- think of how differently history would be explained if the Third Reich was writing it. Like our extermination of the American Indian (ironically Hitler's model- he talked with admiration of how America dealt with "the redskins") the Holocaust would just be a sad footnote as successful exterminations always are and the Bombing Of Germany and Japan would be the greatest war crimes EVER- as the Holocaust is today.

PBurns said...

You are simply wrong, and provably wrong. Here are the figures: The Soviet Union ALONE lost 24 MILLION people in WWII due to the Nazi invasion.

Total civilian war dead in Germany due to civilian bombing by the Allies was 353,000 to 410,000.

To put that in perspective, the Germans were killing more Russian civilians EVERY MONTH (not including the holocaust in Poland, France, German, etc.) than the Allies killed aerial bombing ALL of Germany during the ENTIRE war.

You simply have no scale.

And again, the information here is not deeply hidden. It's on Wikipedia, and the sources are German! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

End of discussion.