Dresden: barbarism and vengeance

Discussion in 'General' started by T-34, May 9, 2006.

  1. redcoat

    redcoat Senior Member

    dresden was never a great center of the nazis war machine.
    But it was a part of the Nazi war machine
    There might have been a war industry near dresen but surely not in the historical central parts or the areas where many people lived.
    In pre-war Europe there weren't industrial estates, factories tended to be located all over towns, and the workers usually lived close by
    A further tragedy was that many people who fled from the east were killed in this bombing and even many refugees from labour-camps and even concentrationcamps.
    Taylors book showed us two things.
    Firstly there were far fewer refugees in Dresden than was thought, the authorities had a policy of moving them further west as soon as possible.
    Secondly, the bombing saved the lives of most of the few Dresden jews still in the city, they had just recieved notification to report to the authorities for 'relocation', the bombing disrupted this, saving them.
    furthermore the bombing took place at the extreme end of the war when the production of war goods came to an end .
    All the factories in Dresden were still in production at the time of the bombing.

    If you have any further questions, read Taylors book.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Interview with Taylor here.


    "Dresden Bombing Is To Be Regretted Enormously"

    The Feb. 13, 1945 bombing of Dresden by the British Royal Air Force has become a symbol for excessive, gratuitous violence on the part of the Allies during World War II. But with the 60th anniversary of the bombing on Sunday, a new book by British historian Frederick Taylor argues that this view may not be quite accurate. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with the author.


    August Schreitmueller's sandstone sculpture "The Goodness" looks over destroyed Dresden from the Town Hall Tower in 1945.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Some critics have accused you of writing a justification of the bombing of the city of Dresden. Is this accusation misplaced?

    Taylor: Yes it is. Some people mistake the attempt at rational analysis of a historical event for a celebration of it. My book attempts to be distanced and rational and where possible I try to separate the myths and legends from the realities. I personally find the attack on Dresden horrific. It was overdone, it was excessive and is to be regretted enormously. But there is no reason to pretend that it was completely irrational on the part of the Allies. Dresden had war industries and was a major transportation hub. As soon as you start explaining the reasons for the attack, though, people think you are justifying it.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Was it a war crime?

    Taylor: I really don't know. From a practical point of view, rules of war are something of a gray area. It was pretty borderline stuff in terms of the extent of the raid and the amount of force used. It's comparable with other air attacks in the war such as the German attack on Belgrade or even Stalingrad before it was besieged and of course other British and American attacks as well including the big ones in Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). These are examples where you get close to saying "you absolutely cannot do this," and I think bombing is the most dubious form of warfare possible. But a war crime is a very specific thing which international lawyers argue about all the time and I would not be prepared to commit myself nor do I see why I should. I'm a historian.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Since the war, discussion of World War II war crimes has focused almost exclusively on those committed by the Nazis. But hundreds of thousands of German civilians were also immolated in firestorms created by English and American bombs. Should not Allied excesses be addressed as well?

    Taylor: We have to discuss them frankly. There is something inherently fascistoid in air warfare -- you don't see the person you are bombing and killing or injuring and you have this sort of psychopathic gaze from above. The air war is the only part of the war where the Allies, leaving aside the Russians, seriously ran the Axis powers a good race in terms of ruthlessness. But it is now 60 years after the fact, most people involved are dead and we shouldn't start pointing fingers except for in the case of the Holocaust. But the English and especially the Americans have continued since World War II to rely on bombing as an instrument of policy and that really concerns me. I feel uneasy about it. So I think Allied excesses are a legitimate subject for discussion. Absolutely.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why do you think it is important, six decades after the bombing, to revisit the event in 2005? What can be gained by taking a fresh look at the city's destruction?

    Taylor: When the idea first crystallized in my mind five years ago I certainly wasn't out to write any kind of revisionist history. Two things motivated me. Firstly, the fall of the Berlin Wall meant free access to both archives and people in former East Germany -- access that wasn't there before. Secondly, of course, the eyewitness generation was aging fast and dying. There were of course previous books in English on the subject, but my main question was, "can I describe it better?" I think there is always something to be gained from a fresh look at history.


    Frederick Taylor, author of "Dresden: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1945"

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: You were recently in Dresden to speak to the city about the bombing and about your book. Did you get the impression that people there are open to a more nuanced view of what took place on Feb. 13, 1945?

    Taylor: My impression is that there are a considerable number of people in Dresden who take a balanced view -- survivors included. Others, of course, don't. But whether they think it was an atrocity is neither here nor there. It is perfectly possible to argue that the Allied attack on Dresden was rational but at the same time an atrocity. One view doesn't exclude the other at all. And for those survivors who still focus solely on the violence of the attack, that is their Dresden and it must be respected.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) recently referred to the bombing as the "Holocaust of bombs." This is, of course, a viewpoint held by more than just the German right wing. What is the problem with this viewpoint?

    Taylor: The whole "Holocaust of bombs" thing has been around on far-right Web sites for years and is only now emerging into the NPD's antics in the (Saxony state government). I frankly don't understand what they're saying. All sides bombed each other's cities during the war. Half a million Soviet citizens, for example, died from German bombing during the invasion and occupation of Russia. That's roughly equivalent to the number of German citizens who died from Allied raids. But the Allied bombing campaign was attached to military operations and ceased as soon as military operations ceased. But the Holocaust and the murder of all those millions would not have ceased if the Germans had won the war. Bombing is ruthless war making, but to use the word Holocaust to describe ruthless war making is to confuse two entirely different things.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Vast attention was paid to the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz here in Germany and around the world. Now, however, the country is approaching a number of anniversaries, like the advance of the Soviet army and the post-war expulsion of Germans from Poland and the Czech Republic, that place Germany in a victim's role. Are Germans sliding back into the victim role they took on in the 1950s?


    Many of the tens of thousands of dead from the bombing raid were burned in the city's central square following the attack.

    Taylor: I hope not. I sympathize with the desire to mourn and with the desire to acknowledge suffering. If that's what one means by seeing oneself as a victim, that's ok. In fact I think it's a psychological necessity for a nation just as it is for an individual. But to simply look at one's own victimhood and blank out Germany's unprovoked aggressive war against just about the rest of Europe and the genocidal aspects of that war can't do any good at all. The Germans, 60 years after the war, have to sort these things out and see how they feel about themselves. It might get a bit messy and I think that's what's going on at the moment. I can only sympathize.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do Britons view the bombing of Dresden today?

    Taylor: There are some people in Britain who still think the bombing of Dresden was a terrific idea and that (the UK) could do no wrong in World War II, but the majority has a much more balanced view. I think the British didn't sympathize with the Germans who were bombed during the war but after the war when we looked at the damage, there was regret. It's hard not to feel pity for what happened to old Dresden. Most people combine an irreconcilable sense of conflict between what was necessary -- as people saw it at the time -- to defeat the Nazis and what you can feel good about as a people. There is no real solution to this paradox.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: In Berlin in January, you had a podium discussion with the German historian Joerg Friedrich and he strongly attacked your viewpoints on Dresden ...


    Residents of Dresden had hoped that the city's baroque beauty would save "Florence on the Elbe" from bombing raids.

    Taylor: ... Yes, he did ...

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: ...and he was accusing the Allied bombers of a desire to kill as many civilians as possible and of not having legitimate military aims.

    Taylor: I don't agree with him. His view was basically the old idea of "well the war was already over" when Dresden was bombed. From the way he described Germany in February 1945, I'm surprised the Germans lasted three days let alone three months. I disagree with that.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you consider him to be a serious historian?

    Taylor: I don't know. He seems very very certain of everything, in a way that most historians are not. He's a very clever man, he writes very well and I found his book ("Der Brand" -- "The Fire" -- October 2004) very interesting. But as a work of history I don't know. It's not generally admired by professional historians for anything other than its literary style.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: The bombing of Dresden resulted in between 25,000 and 35,000 deaths. More people, though, were killed in the July 1943 firestorm in Hamburg. Nevertheless, the citizens of Hamburg seem not to be as obsessed by the bombing today. Why is that?


    The raid came less than three months before the end of the war leading many to argue that it was, in fact, unnecessary.

    Taylor: There are two reasons for the difference. First is that Hamburg was acknowledged and acknowledged itself as an important city from a military and industrial point of view. They always knew they were going to be bombed so there was not the same element of surprise or sense of injustice about being bombed. A lot of people in Dresden felt that the city was somehow protected because of its beauty, which increased the trauma enormously. Second, the city was part of a totalitarian dictatorship for 45 years after the war. That system exploited Dresden as a Cold War tool. They accused the Anglo-Americans of deliberately destroying those parts of Germany that would be occupied by the Soviet Union and of war crimes. Dresden was used throughout the Cold War as a cudgel to beat the West with.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: What does Dresden mean today?

    Taylor: The destruction of Dresden has an epically tragic quality to it. It was a wonderfully beautiful city and a symbol of baroque humanism and all that was best in Germany. It also contained all of the worst from Germany during the Nazi period. In that sense it is an absolutely exemplary tragedy for the horrors of 20th Century warfare and a symbol of destruction. There have been some calls in Germany for the day of the destruction of Dresden to be commemorated. If that were just used to exemplify German suffering then it would be wrong. But as an example of what advanced industrial countries have to try to avoid in the future then it is a legitimate symbol.

    Interview conducted by Charles Hawley in Berlin.

    About the Author

    Frederick Taylor is the author of a new book about the Allied bombing of Dresden in World War II called "Dresden: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1945" (HarperCollins Publishers, 2004). Conventional wisdom has long had it that the bombing of the cultural pearl in eastern Germany was gratuitous violence and an inhuman attempt to kill as many civilians as possible in a city that had little in the way of an armaments industry or strategic importance. It is exactly this image of the Dresden bombing that Taylor's book goes a long way toward correcting. He shows that, in fact, Dresden hosted dozens of factories, many of them smaller but important workshops located in the old town, devoted to the war effort. His book also presents a much lower death toll (25,000 to 40,000) than previous estimates, some of which claim that hundreds of thousands died. At the same time, however, Taylor doesn't seek to minimize the horrors visited upon the city. He has sympathy for the suffering of the population and has grave misgivings about air warfare in general and the Dresden raid in particular.

    Taylor studied history and modern languages at Oxford and Sussex universities in Britain and focused on the history of the extreme right in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. He traveled widely in both East and West Germany during the Cold War and has edited and translated a number of works from German. He lives in Cornwall, England with his wife and three children
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD



    The Germans Are Obsessed Too

    Following a piece on Britain's ongoing triumphalism regarding World War II by SPIEGEL author Matthias Matussek, British historian and author of "Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945" Frederick Taylor responds. The Germans, he says, are also fixated on World War II.


    Dresden's Frauenkirche: Taylor disagrees that England sought to destroy the cultural face of Germany.

    Matthias Matussek's article about the obsession of some Brits with the Nazis, though rather grumpy in tone, makes some good points, especially about the legacy of the British Empire and the causes of the continuing disaster that is the Iraq war. Nevertheless, it does seem rather one-sided. The tabloid press may have played up the role of the Brits in the Second World War to an almost comical degree, but most of the more serious publications here have been filled with discussion about who should really be granted the victor's laurels, with a general consensus arising that the determined, long-suffering soldiers and citizens of the Soviet Union, rather than Britain or America, should be awarded most of the final credit for defeating Hitler.

    Frederick Taylor is the author of a book about the Allied bombing of Dresden in World War II called "Dresden: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1945" (HarperCollins Publishers, 2004). In the book, he argues that, while the bombing was perhaps overdone, there were also strategic reasons for it.

    Moreover, it doesn't seem to me, as a regular reader of the German press and a frequent visitor to Germany, that in terms of quantity the British have recently showed any more "obsession" with the Second World War than their friends and close cultural relatives east of the Rhine. As Britain's Ambassador (to Germany) Sir Peter Torry has also pointed out, the German press and media have likewise been full of 60th-anniversary material, some -- though by no means all -- of a tendentious nature. (The German tabloid) Bild Zeitung has, sadly, matched the jingoistic idiocies of our own Sun and Daily Express.

    I share Mr. Matussek's anger, by the way, that his son was forced to suffer the "Nazi" jibe at his school in London, and add my own shame and apology as a British citizen that this kind of thing can go on. We can only hope that one positive effect of the gradual retreat of the Second World War from memory into history may be that such attitudes fade as well. (Though I am told that for decades after the Napoleonic Wars, being French in Britain could also be tough!)

    One thing continues to disturb me in his article, however, and that was his introduction into the discussion of the "bombing Auschwitz" controversy. There were of course good humanitarian reasons for the Allies to bomb the rail links to Auschwitz (with hindsight, to my mind overwhelmingly convincing) but there were also sound military reasons not to do so -- problems of distance, doubts about cost-effectiveness (railways lines were just about the easiest things to repair in war time), and in the spring and summer of 1944 the urgent need to concentrate Allied air forces on support for the Normandy invasion. And yes, at the time genteel anti-Semitism may also have played a role, in America as well as Britain, in the soft-pedalling that went on. So we Brits cannot feel too self-satisfied about that aspect of the war. There is a suspicion here, however, that Mr. Matussek is trying to make the Anglo-Americans co-responsible by omission for the terrible things done at Auschwitz by by the Hitler Regime and its cohorts. This is frankly unacceptable. It was the Nazis who set up and operated those extermination camps, no one else, and the responsibility for the millions who died is theirs. Period.


    Russian World War II veterans: Many Brits, says Taylor, give the Soviets most of the credit for defeating the Nazis.

    But the most perplexing of Mr. Matussek's remarks is that "instead of saving Jews, the British preferred bombing Dresden and other German towns in order to destroy the cultural face of their hated neighbour once and for all". The errors and prejudices packed into this single sentence almost took my breath away. Chronologically speaking, of course, Dresden was in fact bombed some weeks after the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army, which makes nonsense of the reference to "saving Jews" anyway (although it is true that many of the few Jews surviving in Dresden were in fact saved by the bombing of that city). But even if we ignore this, is he saying that the British (and the Americans) should have bombed Auschwitz all year round instead of bombing German centres of population, communications, transport and industry (i.e. German cities -- yes, including Dresden)? And if not, then what is he actually saying? Is he also claiming that the chief or, as the sentence implies, the only aim of the bombing of Germany was to destroy his country's cultural heritage? If so, where does he get this information? It was an accusation frequently levelled by wartime Nazi propagandists, for obvious reasons, but I can assure Mr Matussek that it is not supported by research in the records of Bomber Command. The Anglo-American bombing offensive was without question ruthlessly destructive, the decision-making processes involved sometimes reeked of philistinism, and most British people feel a justified degree of discomfort about what was done in their name, but to dismiss the entire strategic bombing campaign as crude, futile cultural vandalism is absurd.

    I think it makes a lot of sense for our two peoples to make their own matching resolutions in celebration of the 60th anniversary of VE-Day. The Brits will promise to stop being so horribly, narcissistically smug about "winning the war" and pay attention to other, less palatable aspects of their history, and the Germans will promise to cut down on the chronic self-pity that can creep into the writings even of perceptive and sensitive observers like Mr Matussek. Do we have a deal?

    With best wishes for Britain and Germany's relationship over the next 60 years


    Frederick Taylor
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The book is available in English and German.
  5. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    So Owen what's your commission?
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Rubbish...We were at war with Germany, This evil load that spread death and destruction across the whole of Europe, Scandinavia and the East. When you are faced with a mad dog intent on torture and cruelty of medieval proportions. Then you have top put them down, like you do mad dogs.

    Look at what these "Germans" did... then complain about bombing them. That alone must make the victims of these evil men turn in their graves.

    Retribution comes on bombers wings. After the indiscriminate bombing and the deaths of thousands of British people, it is the bloody arrogance of these Germans to complain about being bombed.....That there are some left alive at the time is a mercy, for if they paid the full price for their crimes there would be precious little left of Germany, or its peoples.

    So dont talk about the poor Germans! talk about their crimes, the tortures the death camps, Death camps that no one knew about, even though the stench of burning bodies could be detected for miles around, and the fact they were spread all over Germany.

    We poor innocent Germans knew nothing about the crimes we committed.. We never deserved to be bombed!
    It makes your stomach turn with disgust...

    All this innocence... I recall the screaming crowds of "Heil Hitler" in their millions when they were winning..How the tune changes and the wimpering begins when they lose.
  7. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    Sapper I think you should have used Poppycock instead of rubbish but I enjoyed your post just the same.

    WHITLEYMAN Junior Member

    didnt russia ask the allies to attack dresden?
  9. The Aviator

    The Aviator Discharged

    No T34, all it does is show how little understanding of war you have. When you are trying to put down a monster, then all means are used. If the whole of Germany had been laid waste it would still hardly equal what they did.

    Especially when an even bigger monster called Stalin had to be dealt with next.
  10. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    one of my favourite quotes goes something like this.i do not regard the lives of every german,as worth the bones of one british grenadier.another.they sowed the wind,now they will reap the whirlwind.harris was right.i agree with him and sapper.why bomb a factory,when you can destroy the city the factory is in.yours very sincerely.lee
  11. the only thing that makes me wonder:

    the bomber attack on dresden was somehow necessary as any attempt to stop the nazis. but it makes me feel ashame how noncritical a lot of users write about the topic. dont get me wrong, I accept any emotional statement of any contemporary witness but i think it is urgently required to let all these categorys, in which we are thinking, go (black/white ; good/bad ; axxis/allies) to really deal with the content and matter. of course there is always an action and an reaction (which is an important factor)but national forwardness will just biase the discussion.

    I would just like to give you an short explanation by asking sth: the reasons for the bombardment were allready stated by other members. the de-moralization of germany was what was aimed for . but isnt it a war crime to throw bombs on people (old, women, children) who cant even capitulate?? who did not even have a chance??

    necessary not to apply double standards (beyond action/ reaction) if you are aiming for an honest analysis.

    I mean: all those who think total war is an EVIL (which it is), but saying killing thousands of civilians is adequate????

    I am not defending the Nazi warfare. I do condemn the total war-policy AT ALL!!

    Area bombing directive - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    hope you cheecked the link
  12. something I forgot: of course it wasnt the first city bombed ( remember the Netherlands and England) but it was still the bloodiest. and how a lot of people justify the bombing in a high handed way is just idiotical.

    with that way of reasoning I even can justify the worst, brutal and inhuman (german) war crimes.

    PS: if there have been any of my comments capable to beeing misunderstood, please contact me by PM as it is a sensitive topic and I dont want to hurt somebodys feelings.
  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I do not think that there is anything new to be added to the debate.

    The German historians have drastically reduced the casualty numbers, which have caused so much heated controversy over the years.

    Bombing and the use of Artillery to demolish cities is not new, but really started in the Spanish Civil War where new methods in wholesale killing were introduced.

    Not wishing to detract from the seriousness of the subject, but you have to look at all the towns and cities that were bombed during the period of 1939-1945 and obtain a perspective for wholesale destruction meated out by the Axis and Allied airforces.

    Dresden happened late in the war, if it had occurred earlier in the war, would the same debate be taking place?

    Unfortunately bad things happen in time of war and conflict.

    You only have to look at what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan to see that innocent people are being killed.

    Bombs, Artillery shells, motars and mines etc, do not differentiate between innocents caught in the area or the intended enemy forces.

    My father and mother in law were born and grew up un wartime Berlin. Oskar was 10 when the war ended and both families had their respective business and house premises destroyed by Allied bombing and had to move out to the suburbs.

    Speaking to them today, they certainly did not like the bombing raids, but understood why it was happening.

  14. I do not think that there is anything new to be added to the debate.

    The German historians have drastically reduced the casualty numbers, which have caused so much heated controversy over the years.

    Bombing and the use of Artillery to demolish cities is not new, but really started in the Spanish Civil War where new methods in wholesale killing were introduced.

    Not wishing to detract from the seriousness of the subject, but you have to look at all the towns and cities that were bombed during the period of 1939-1945 and obtain a perspective for wholesale destruction meated out by the Axis and Allied airforces.

    Dresden happened late in the war, if it had occurred earlier in the war, would the same debate be taking place?

    Unfortunately bad things happen in time of war and conflict.

    You only have to look at what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan to see that innocent people are being killed.

    Bombs, Artillery shells, motars and mines etc, do not differentiate between innocents caught in the area or the intended enemy forces.

    My father and mother in law were born and grew up un wartime Berlin. Oskar was 10 when the war ended and both families had their respective business and house premises destroyed by Allied bombing and had to move out to the suburbs.

    Speaking to them today, they certainly did not like the bombing raids, but understood why it was happening.


    I just mean it is perfidy to aim for children. know that sounds provocative. but necessary to show how onsided the most people look at the topic.

    by the way, even if "German historians have drastically reduced the casualty numbers" that doesnt relativize the idea behind the area bombing directive Area bombing directive - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    FschJgBtl 261 Lebach

    I thank you for your kind offer to continue this discussion by Private Message in case, as you put it," you dont want to hurt someones feelings" but I would like to think that we are both adult enough to discuss this matter in public.

    Let me start by telling you where, in modern parlance, I come from.

    I am a British Ex-Serviceman, Jewish by faith, who's lengthy family tree has numerous sections marked simply "Perished in the Holocaust".

    I was one of five brothers who all served their country in HM Forces, one of whom was killed in the skies over Nuremberg whilst serving in Bomber Command.

    I won't bore you with my own personal military record but I think it right to mention at this point that I was in London when the Blitz started and watched as bombs fell on "innocent women and children"

    As others have pointed out Dreden is not a new topic on this forum.

    I would ask you to go to this link and scroll down to posting No 38 where I first posted the item below:

    Dresden ?

    We have all been here before and in general, views are so entrenched on the rights and wrongs of bombing the city that I fear whatever is said today will do nothing to alter fixed viewpoints.

    I would offer just one new item for you to consider.

    My dear late brother Jack who was killed in the skies over Nuremberg on the 16th March '45 had as a crew-mate a lovely man by the name of Ted Hull.

    In 1997, when I was belatedly researching Jack's death, I was in constant communication with Ted who had been the Flight Engineer on Jack's Lancaster.

    Ted let me have a copy of his Log Book which, he assured me, would have been identical to Jack's log, regrettably no longer available.

    Note the 5th op in which the crew took part. The date was the 13th of February, it was just another raid on just another German City and one from which they were lucky to return.

    On the 16th of March, just over a month later, their luck finally ran out.
    BBC - WW2 People's War - The night my father was killed in action <http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/90/a8452190.shtml>


    Attached Files:

    Gerard likes this.
  16. spidge


    Well said Tom.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with:

    Dresden happened late in the war, if it had occurred earlier in the war, would the same debate be taking place?
    We read many details of Dresden and that its bombing was not warranted at that stage of the war. We also hear that it was not manufacturing and supplying war material yet later documents show that there were over 110 production facilities.

    We all feel sorrow for the old and the women and children that were killed but that was war of a kind that was unleashed on other countries as well as Britain by Germany however the allies were able to do it on a much greater scale.

    Many say Germany was on its knees so this was not necessary - On its knees yes, but not beaten.

    By this time, Britain had endured five years of war, mostly on the back foot however once the ascendancy had been gained with the (USAAF) they used every means at their disposal to force it to an end.

    The debate has been going on now for 65 years and will continue to bring emotive responses from "both sides" using the benefit of hindsight.

    The war was going to be won, but in February 1945, it still had to be.
  17. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    You will find both sides of this debate can justify their positions equally and hold to them. What wont happen is that people will be convinced to change their opinions. Ron's post explains this very well.
  18. dear Ron,

    I dont think that you have to explain anything at allfrom your point of view. no doubt

    its just that after reading the the first few postings I slightly got the feeling that the area bombing directive is seen very noncritical. but once again: I do expect the after war generation to keep it objective just to look at the topic in a sober way. I DID NOT want to be assuming or even arogant by posting my humble opinion....I know how my grandfather used to be when it came to the war topic and it was just laughable for him how people tried to come up with political correctness and theory.

    i remain respectful

  19. This is such an emotive subject! The Nazis did, of course, proclaim total war, and it is also largely true they had little compunction about stategic bombing of foreign cities and the consequent civilian casualties while they were winning. However, to embrace the argument that as they sowed the wind, they should expect to reap the whirlwind, could lead one open to the accusation of being little better, morally, than those we sought to defeat. Also, it ignores the fact that not all Germans were Nazis - and certainly the babies and small children incinerated in the firestorms were not. They were innocents (as were their British counterparts in the Blitz. Don't they say innocence is always the first casualty of war?). Of course, I appreciate I, and all of us, have the luxury of being able to debate all of this in the comfort and safety of hindsight, commodities denied those involved. But at least such distance in time allows more objectivity, and we can see the barbarism, in its many forms, extant on all sides in war. There is no way to fight war without it: war, by definition, is bestial and barbaric.

    As to the bombing of Dresden, and the wider area bombing of Germany by night (and day), it was recognition - in part - of just how profligate in expenditure of human life on all sides this really was, that inspired the development of so called "smart weapons" to take out purely military targets. If we can claim any moral high ground, it can be only to say that we at least were abhorred at the destruction wrought to our enemies cities, whereas they, if the positions were reversed at war's end, wouldn't have cared less. But that is all. So maybe the question should be - honesty, decency, justice: do we fight with those things, or merely for them? And if we abandon those things in the fight, can we ever get them back?

    due my bad english, i am going to post sth that explains my opinion pretty well. thanks adam
  20. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Well said Ron.

    FschJgBtl 261 Lebach

    An objective work in German on the bombing is Dresden im Luftkrieg: Vorgeschichte, Zerstörung, Folgen by Götz Bergander (Würzburg, 1998).

    You might also profitably read Dresden: Tuesday 13 February 1945 by Frederick Taylor, published by Bloomsbury, 2004. It's a tome of over 500 pages in which Taylor discusses every aspect of the bombing of the city.

    I have attached the conclusion to his Appendix B 'Counting the Dead', omitting several pages in which he completely demolishes the fantastic figures of 250,000 and 256,000 given by David Irving and 20 years later by Alexander McKee and others.

    I have also attached an Italian Fascist propaganda poster of 1940 in which the Axis powers gloated and boasted of the London Blitz. At the time it was thought that Britain couldn't retaliate.

    Attached Files:

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