Well, he’s got a point

An arguable one at least:

Anewly elected member of Berlin’s regional parliament once described Winston Churchill as a “war criminal”, it has emerged.

Ronald Gläser of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party accused Churchill of responsibility for 50m deaths.

Obviously not responsible for the whole thing and I would assume that Ronnie here is being more than a bit of a dick. But certainly some of Churchill’s decisions could be argued to be war crimes. Myself I’d generally put it down to “war is hell” and thank the lord the correct side won. But some of those decisions are a bit iffy.

57 thoughts on “Well, he’s got a point”

  1. Hey Ron, have look at the news and propaganda footage from 1937-38.

    Yes, those are all ordinary Germans cheering on the soldiers their elected leader was using to murder people.

    Remember Amsterdam, where, oops, you forgot to declare war, then killed 5,000 Dutch troops, women and children. Then, in the sort of PR that gave New Lab wet dreams, one of your boys gave a speech to say the Germans were “friends of the Dutch people”.

    Claiming the moral high ground about a war you started is a bit too rich for me. Once the killing starts, everyone bears some guilt.

  2. In a war of national survival, almost all bets are off. I am absolutely sure that individual British soldiers and units did objectively bad things – shot German prisoners out of hand, for instance. Subjectively, one can quite see how one might do it; you can’t let the buggers go, they’re hampering your effort to fight a battle for your own life, against an enemy who has proved himself merciless, and one or two of them have tried something already… Fuck it. Shoot them.

    I’m not even sure that is a war crime, as I would understand it (morally). It’s an attempt to keep your blokes alive by whatever means necessary.

    I would not accept that a single decision made or order given by the high command was a war crime.

  3. The bloke is full of shite but at least it is shite in which a lab might find traces of testosterone.

    Which is what the Squareheads need right now.

    It is to be hoped the silly SOBs can find some halfway house between trying to conquer the world and standing there welcoming as bosom-buddies. those who want to see them dead and take ownership of their women.

  4. It’s like someone breaking into your house at night by someone intent on killing you, you fighting back and eventually killing him, you are “partly to blame”.

    Fuck off. As Interested said, once you start it and demonstrate your intent, all bets are off.

  5. Gläser could have pointed out that the Reich did some impressive shrinking too which was quite unkind and all Churchill’s fault.

  6. History is written by the victors.

    Bombing Dresden and other German cities at the end of the war? Possibly.

    But declaring war in 1939? Probably not. The MP seems to have forgotten that the declaration of war followed the invasion of Poland and the evils of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

  7. Perhaps TW might indicate what he thinks are Churchill’s war crimes.
    Of some relevance: 2017 is the year when the details of Hess’s “negotiations” are supposed to be declassified. I was told by genuine Jewish Communists in London during the 1975 Referendum that they comprised an agreement that the Brits would not attack across the Channel while Hitler got on with slaughtering Russian Communists in Operation Barbarossa. Churchill certainly delayed the crossing and landings as long as possible incurring the opposition of American General in charge George Marshall.
    I very much doubt that anything of the Hess materials will actually see the light of day.
    There are so many unanswered questions about Churchill’s conduct in the war. As Prof Reynolds was saying on TV at the weekend : why were we pissing about in the Mediterranean?
    Dunno it does any good to attribute war crimes to Churchill though.

  8. John Miller – like the US has not declared war in several decades. It just invades a place, bombs it etc.

    1939 we declared war against one country for invading Poland, we didn’t declare war against Russia for doing exactly the same thing a few weeks later.
    Then we didn’t invade Germany. France did, admittedly only a few miles but they did have the balls to invade. Shame about their planning and the security blanket of the maginot line but hey they are French.

  9. The Germans got off relatively lightly. If the atom bomb had been ready a bit earlier I don’t doubt the US would have used it in Europe rather than risk the lives of their own soldiers.

  10. It took carpet bombing of German cities to get it into thick German skulls that starting world wars is a bad idea.

    DBC Reed. You and your communist Jewish friends are off with the fucking fairies. Britain/Commonwealth alone was never in any position to invade France. The Allies delayed the invasion until they had assembled a force strong enough to succeed.

    Sending a weak force to annihilation is a war crime. Churchill and (particularly) Montgomery understood this. Don’t start a fight you can’t win.

  11. @BiJ The Allies delayed the invasion until they had assembled a force strong enough to succeed.

    Quite so. It’s not as though D-Day was a walkover.

  12. Surreptitious Evil – “Gallipoli, for a start.”

    A military operation that ends in a cluster-f**k is deplorable but it is not a war crime.

    Interested – “In a war of national survival, almost all bets are off.”

    How was WW2 a war of national survival? Britain, or the non-Jewish part of the British population, would have survived defeat without a great deal of damage. Less than a Soviet victory.

    “I would not accept that a single decision made or order given by the high command was a war crime.”

    The RAF deliberately and with knowledge aforethought burned women and children in their homes. You can say “but they started it” even though that would not impress most mothers, but it does not change the fact that the British High Command, as a matter of policy, burnt civilians to death in their homes. Deliberately.

    That may have been worth trying but it looks a lot like a war crime. It was also counter-productive so it doesn’t even work on utilitarian grounds. A lot of brave fliers died needlessly. A lot of soldiers did not have air cover because resources were spent on bombers – remember each bomber represents roughly four fighters. Above all, German submarines ran amok because Coastal Command did not have the resources which were devoted to burning women in their homes.

    In this the RAF campaign differed from the Atomic bombs on Japan. Which were also immoral but at least worked.

    When supporters claim the damage Bomber Command did was mostly in diverting guns to shooting down British fliers, you know you are dealing with a failed, even insane, policy.

  13. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    A-bomb: ludwigshafen and Beelin were the two targets. The war in Europe ended 4 or 5 months earliier than anticipated, otherwise July or August – boom.

    War crimes : if we had lost then Churchill, Harris, Brooke, Curtis LeMay, Spaatz would have all gone to the scaffold.

    I once had an argument with a Yank about the bimbing campaign. He was rather shocked that I shared Harris’ belief:it didn’t matter whether we destroyed every city, town or village in Germany – we had to defeat Nazism.

  14. Bloke no Longer in Austria – “it didn’t matter whether we destroyed every city, town or village in Germany – we had to defeat Nazism.”

    But that is a false choice. It was not between burning civilians to death or losing the war. It was between burning civilians to death and so doing nothing to bring defeat closer or doing something else slightly more constructive.

    Let us agree we had to defeat Nazism. As bombing did nothing towards that goal, inflicting more damage on us than on them, we did not have to do it.

  15. “As bombing did nothing towards that goal, inflicting more damage on us than on them, we did not have to do it.”

    Idiot.

  16. “…….we did not have to do it”

    We did have to do it. We had to demonstrate to thick fucking Germans that they are thick. We had to demonstrate to thick fucking Germans that their overweening sense of cultural superiority will lead to disaster.

    Merkal, another thick fucking German, is at the root of another fucking disaster for Europe. I have no problem with Germans, personally or individually. What is it that makes them collectively and politically thick and evil?

  17. Andy – “Idiot.”

    Well thank you for that well thought out response.

    Bloke in Japan – “We did have to do it. We had to demonstrate to thick fucking Germans that they are thick. We had to demonstrate to thick fucking Germans that their overweening sense of cultural superiority will lead to disaster.”

    By raping all their women perhaps? The Soviets thought so. Going to defend that too? We had to go to Berlin. No more. Bombing their cities and burning their women did nothing to that end. If anything it has, as can be seen, provided the Germans with a victim narrative. Which could have been a problem if Germany had not been occupied by the West and the Soviets and so generations of Germans have got the sort of education we want. Thus destroying German uniqueness.

    “Merkal, another thick fucking German, is at the root of another fucking disaster for Europe. I have no problem with Germans, personally or individually. What is it that makes them collectively and politically thick and evil?”

    Merkel’s stupidity is a direct result of your insistence on bombing their cities. They have learned to hate themselves so much they are voluntarily accepting collective suicide. That self loathing you want them to feel is not working out.

  18. Germany. The perennial problem nation, that is too big, unified, for its continent.

    All the problems of the world can trace all or part of their roots to Germany or Germans: the Reformation, Hegelian thought, Marxism, Communism, Bolshevism, Nazism, current EU management, etc., etc..

  19. The guy’s a troll. Winston didn’t declare war, Neville did. Winston was drafted in to win it. Which he did. No doubt he was sorry that when he had half of Germany was under stalin and communists , but hey ho, what kind of mental gymnastics do you have to perform to somehow expect him to fix that. Invade Russia? That’s what idiots do and Winston wasn’t one of those.

  20. Quite so. It’s not as though D-Day was a walkover.

    Indeed. One of the things I mentioned here was how difficult the Americans found shifting the Germans from Normandy even a month after the D-Day landings. And the Germans weren’t really trying.

  21. Tim Newman – “One of the things I mentioned here was how difficult the Americans found shifting the Germans from Normandy even a month after the D-Day landings. And the Germans weren’t really trying.”

    As with Gallipoli, planners can’t plan for what the enemy will do. Only what they think he will do.

    The Allies expected a much weaker German response and thought they would advance much faster. So the fact that the Germans delayed them so long is not proof of what their planning was.

    Although they did expect much greater casualties than they got.

  22. “One of the things I mentioned here was how difficult the Americans found shifting the Germans from Normandy even a month after the D-Day landings. And the Germans weren’t really trying.”

    Nor using anywhere near like their total strength. The Allies in Western Europe faced a force equal to about half of that engaged on the Eastern Front. And even then we had a few hairy moments. Plus the Allies couldn’t defeat the Germans in Italy.

    The idea that the Allies could have invaded mainland Europe in 1943 and not been massacred is fantasy of the highest order. Not least because it wasn’t until mid ’43 that the U boat problem was beginning to be overcome, and supplies could start to be more safely sent from the US. Things were so iffy in March ’43 that Britain was even wondering if we could continue the war, fuel was running that low. The idea that we could have invaded Europe at that point in time is nonsense.

  23. @ DBC Reed
    “As Prof Reynolds was saying on TV at the weekend : why were we pissing about in the Mediterranean?”
    Because we were trying to win the War. It first cleared the Axis powers from North Africa, tried (but failed) to rescue Greece, then gave Algeria to the Free French, our allies, providing them with a base from which to encourage the Resistance that undermined the German occupation, then eliminated Italy from the “Battle for Europe”, forced Hitler to divert troops from both the Eastern & Western fronts to Italy and the South of France and increased the chances for D-day to succeed.
    Anyone who thinks that we could have invaded Normandy before building a fleet of landing boats and PLUTO is just pig-ignorant. Anyone saying that who isn’t pig-ignorant is a liar.

  24. “Churchill certainly delayed the crossing and landings as long as possible incurring the opposition of American General in charge George Marshall.”

    Bollocks. Ever heard of the Dieppe raid? A landing in 1943 would have been that disaster writ large.

    Fortunately Churchill realised the German army could be minced up in the wastes of Russia, instead of massacring allied troops on the coast of France. That’s what good leaders do – make good decisions.

  25. Still, another fucking conspiracy theory.

    Conspiracy theories are neat holes in which all the dangling threads of a fallacious argument can be neatly tucked away, out of sight.

  26. A Lancaster flew an average of 14 bombing raids. Not all the bombs hit a worthwhile target.
    The damage done was less than the cost of doing so.
    So yes, diverting some of Avro capacity to building anti-sub patrol aircraft would have been more effective. Harris resisted this – “We can destroy the submarines in their factories.”
    That said, I do think the psych part of the air campaign was important. It showed the overwhelming force we had, the feeling we had about Nazi Germany, and how determined we were to win. The only moral outcome was total surrender and recognition by Germans of the evil of their government.

    I do suspect that Germans became anti-war because several generations knew the devastation of war at first-hand.

  27. To be honest the Allied action that was most war crime-ish was the attack on the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. An unprovoked and brutal attack on the non-aggressive forces of a defeated ally. Strategically necessary undoubtedly, but hardly playing by the rules of war.

  28. All of Churchill’s “war crimes” came after much provocation by the Nazis. They flattened Coventry, we flattened Dresden. They blitzed our civilians, we blitzed theirs in return. They sowed the wind and they reaped the whirlwind you could say.

    You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and you can’t defeat a murderous tyrannical political system without going for the jugular. Hard.

    Anything less is appeasement.

  29. why were we pissing about in the Mediterranean?

    Because the Germans were.

    Why were the Germans in the Med?

    Because the Italians failed. The Suez canal was, and still is, a vital strategic target. Capturing this choke point would have been as important in the Axis war effort as Paris.

  30. BiGiE

    The belief that Churchill was a war criminal is common in Germany, though rarely expressed. I once climbed up the spire of Ulm cathedral with some German friends, one of whom said of the modern city below that it was devastated in the war and that “the bombing could be considered a war crime, like Dresden”. The belief that Germany was not responsible for WW1 is also widespread.

  31. You bomb the enemy cities to hurt their morale, divert attention to relief efforts from the war efforts, impact (hopefully) production of war materials and maybe even take out vital facilities or people.
    But the primary effect back then was strategic – to make the enemy feel unsafe and force diversion of men and material to defending rather than attacking.
    As such it worked. Just cost us a considerable amount of men and material in attacking rather than defending.

    If the Luftwaffe had just concentrated on military targets in Britain we would have lost. As it was we were on the verge of surrender in 1943, would not have held on to D day, could not even have put D Day on.

  32. The area bombing of German cities played a major role in the defeat of Germany. I can’t see how devoting more resources to sinking German U-Boats would have defeated Germany.

    A few points;

    (1) The legality of area bombing was a grey area during WW2. There was no ratified international treaty that prohibited it and its not clear it was contrary to customary international law either. Bombings carried out by all air forces during WW2 would certainly be war crimes if they were carried out today.

    (2) ‘Precision’ bombing was science fiction during WW2. You needed to saturate a wide area with lots of bombs in order to be sure of destroying anything of value. Luftwaffe ‘precision’ attacks killed more Britons in the first couple of years of war than RAF ‘terror’ bombing.killed Germans.

    (3) RAF area bombing of the Ruhr killed the armament miracle in its tracks. German production increased, but not at the same rate The move to flattening Berlin was a great blunder which prolonged the war

    (4) Area bombing forced the Germans to divert vast resources to air defence. Speer, with hindsight, regarded this ‘second front’ as the ‘greatest lost battle on the German side’.

    (5) Bombing offensives were costly for the allies but more costly for the Germans. The bombers were used as bait to destroy German planes on the ground and in the air. We could replace our planes and pilots, the Germans could not.

    (6) Bomber Command became more precise than the USAAF by the end of the war and did a lot more than kill women and children.

    Reading:
    ‘The Wages of Destruction’ by Adam Tooze
    ‘To Command the sky’ by Newton and McFarland
    ‘Why the Allies Won’ by Richard Overy
    “‘Precision’ and ‘Area’ Bombing: Who Did Which, and When? ” by W. Hays Parks
    “The Leadership, Direction and Legitimacy of the RAF Bomber Offensive from Inception to 1945” by Peter Gray

  33. So Much For Subtlety

    Mr Pants – “All of Churchill’s “war crimes” came after much provocation by the Nazis. They flattened Coventry, we flattened Dresden. They blitzed our civilians, we blitzed theirs in return. They sowed the wind and they reaped the whirlwind you could say.”

    Except it was the other way around. They bombed Coventry because Britain bombed the Rhineland. Bombing was always the British policy. It wasn’t the German policy. They saw the airforce as supporting the Army and so did not have the right planes when they retaliated. The RAF has been preparing, badly, for little else.

    “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and you can’t defeat a murderous tyrannical political system without going for the jugular. Hard.”

    As Stalin often said. You can defeat a murderous political system without burning women and children to death en masse and in hindsight – which was not available then – we should have avoided it.

    “Anything less is appeasement.”

    B0ll0cks. Bombing was entirely counter productive.

    Liberal Yank – “The Suez canal was, and still is, a vital strategic target. Capturing this choke point would have been as important in the Axis war effort as Paris.”

    If the Germans had captured the Suez canal it would not have changed the out come of the war by one day. The Soviets would have reached Berlin on the same day. It was a side show. Not a bad side show, but irrelevant to the outcome of the war.

    Martin – “You bomb the enemy cities to hurt their morale, divert attention to relief efforts from the war efforts, impact (hopefully) production of war materials and maybe even take out vital facilities or people.”

    As the IRA often said. We sent very brave young men to die – and half of them did die – to hurt morale? It looks like it only made German soldiers fight harder. There was no measurable effect on German morale. All the time, the bombers use up valuable materials like aluminium and very rare electronics. While the bombs just bounce bricks. It is a foolish wasted effort.

    “But the primary effect back then was strategic – to make the enemy feel unsafe and force diversion of men and material to defending rather than attacking.”

    So 12 year olds like the former Pope got to load AA guns. Not much of a diversion. Yes, the main impact was the use of AA guns to protect civilians. Lining up British air men so that the Germans can shoot them and so waste their bullets is an insane use of resources.

    “If the Luftwaffe had just concentrated on military targets in Britain we would have lost. As it was we were on the verge of surrender in 1943, would not have held on to D day, could not even have put D Day on.”

    Because of U-Boats. Not because of the German bombing effort which was also pointless. The U-Boats were so dangerous because the patrol planes and the radars needed to search for them were being diverted to roasting women and children in their homes. This is insane.

    It was a policy that promised being able to punish civilians without endangering British lives. It did not work out that way. Maybe it should have been tried to see if it worked. But now we have perfect 20:20 hindsight we can see that it was a terrible mistake and we should be brave enough to say so.

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    Led125 – “The area bombing of German cities played a major role in the defeat of Germany. I can’t see how devoting more resources to sinking German U-Boats would have defeated Germany.”

    The prerequisite for the British involved in the defeat of Germany was the survival of Britain. The only real threat to Britain was, as everyone from Churchill down, was the U-Boat threat. Obviously the faster they were defeated, the safer Britain would be – and the faster the D-Day build up could take place.

    There is no reason to think that roasting children helped the war in any way at all. At least not in a way that did not do more damage to Britain’s war effort than Germany’s.

    “(1) The legality of area bombing was a grey area during WW2. There was no ratified international treaty that prohibited it and its not clear it was contrary to customary international law either. Bombings carried out by all air forces during WW2 would certainly be war crimes if they were carried out today.”

    No it wasn’t. It was and always has been illegal to deliberately kill civilians. Which is why they hid behind claims they were doing otherwise even though they were open in private that deliberately killing civilians was exactly what they were doing. That is why people like Roosevelt pointed out that killing civilians was illegal before he became involved in the war and decided it was acceptable after all. And yes, a lot of people bombed in ways that would be war crimes today. They were war crimes then too and called as such when the enemy did them.

    “(2) ‘Precision’ bombing was science fiction during WW2. You needed to saturate a wide area with lots of bombs in order to be sure of destroying anything of value.”

    Except nothing of value was destroyed, at least not in the early years when area bombing was common. It was not true that precision bombing was impossible. They could hit individual ships and V-1 launch sites. Even bridges. It was just expensive and dangerous. They preferred to kill women and children. The solution to a lack of precision is not to kill civilians but to concentrate on actually fighting the war.

    “(3) RAF area bombing of the Ruhr killed the armament miracle in its tracks. German production increased, but not at the same rate The move to flattening Berlin was a great blunder which prolonged the war”

    It did not increase at the same rate. It increased exponentially. Bombing forced Hitler to take production seriously and put Speer in charge. After which German war production took off. The more bombs we dropped, the more shells they built. It was not until Germany started loosing territory that production dropped off.

    “(4) Area bombing forced the Germans to divert vast resources to air defence. Speer, with hindsight, regarded this ‘second front’ as the ‘greatest lost battle on the German side’.”

    Speer was desperate not to be hanged. They did divert guns to defend Germany. The idea that lining up expensive planes and more expensive crews to be shot at was a good idea because it wasted German bullets is insane.

    “(5) Bombing offensives were costly for the allies but more costly for the Germans. The bombers were used as bait to destroy German planes on the ground and in the air. We could replace our planes and pilots, the Germans could not.”

    They were not more costly for the Germans. They were grossly out produced. Britain alone produced more planes than Germany. The idea that throwing away bomber pilots’ lives so that we could shoot down some of their fighters is literally beyond belief. Every bomber represented four high tech engines that could have built four fighters. We would have done better to support the Army.

    “(6) Bomber Command became more precise than the USAAF by the end of the war and did a lot more than kill women and children.”

    Not much it didn’t. Even when it could have done something – as John Ellis points out, German electric power facilities were well known, easy to find, very large and so hard to miss and limited in number but not actually bombed, or the petroleum campaign which would have targeted a limited number of well known sites – it didn’t bother much. They tried every now and then but the Command always insisted that burning women and children was a better use of their resources and so returned to de-housing.

    We should have tried it. But it did not work. We should be honest about that.

  35. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Churchill certainly delayed the crossing and landings as long as possible incurring the opposition of American General in charge George Marshall.”

    That’s nonsense.

    Military doctrine was that to attack and hold a well defended location you needed a manpower superiority of at least 3:1 (I’ll bow to SE on that number if it’s wrong). Those men have to be recruited, equipped, and trained. They had to be transported their which required more men, equipment and training.

    They needed intelligence on the landing areas and German dispositions which meant setting up intelligence networks, not something done overnight from scratch. (I recommend a book called Secret Flotillas to get an I sight in to how difficult this was)

    They needed air support.

    Added to that there were only certain times of year the landing could take place, so even if they were ready in October ’43 it would have had to wait until late spring or summer ’44 and there’s no way they could be ready for summer ’43 or earlier.

  36. ” Bombing was entirely counter productive.” Even if true, nobody knew it then. Hindsight is always 20:20.

    In Total War, the rule of what’s allowable is ‘Operational Necessity.’ If an action helps you win, it’s allowable. The Japanese Army deliberately killed about 100,000 civilians in Manila. The US Army deliberately killed about 100,000 civilians in Hiroshima. Manila was a war crime, because it didn’t help the Japanese militarily. Hiroshima wasn’t, because it helped end the war.

  37. If you do the Dublin tourist trail – Croke Park, Kilmainham jail etc, then you get told how nasty Beaverbrook and Churchill were in engineering their civil war in the 20s. There was a famine in the sub-continent in the 40s which gets pinned on Churchill, not the famine itself, but the absence of famine relief which the Empire could have helped with.
    Still, the decision on who are the war criminals gets decided by who wins the war.

  38. So Much For Subtlety

    ZT – “In Total War, the rule of what’s allowable is ‘Operational Necessity.’ If an action helps you win, it’s allowable.”

    So the only problem with the Holocaust is that the Germans did not win? The fact that they thought that it was helping their war effort is more than enough to justify it as long as they won? Stalin did make this claim. I would not go there if I were you. After all, the IRA did win.

    “The Japanese Army deliberately killed about 100,000 civilians in Manila.”

    I am not sure that is true. The Japanese Army was ordered to withdraw from Manila, but not all had time to leave. The Americans tried to take the city but found tougher defence than they were prepared to deal with and so bombed the city flat. They wanted to punished Yamashita for, essentially, defeating the British in Malaya and Singapore so they hanged him for it. But I don’t think there was much evidence he did anything wrong. I assume that it was just covering up the American use of artillery in a major city.

    “Hiroshima wasn’t, because it helped end the war.”

    Well it probably was but it did end the war. But I really would not make that sort of argument if I were you.

  39. Liberal Yank and Co, Auchinleck saw his brief to stop the Axis getting near the oil fields in Iran and the Persian Gulf. Suez was a minor consideration. Because it was dangerous to be aboard a ship in the Mediterranean, most ships went around Africa to get to Asia

  40. Imagine Hitler and Mannstein launching a new invasion of Russia from the Caucasus with guaranteed Iranian oil. Might that have worked?

  41. So Much For Subtlety

    Diogenes – “Imagine Hitler and Mannstein launching a new invasion of Russia from the Caucasus with guaranteed Iranian oil. Might that have worked?”

    If Germany could support no more than a division and some pieces of others, in North Africa, what makes you think that after peeling some off for garrison duties their involvement over one of the highest mountain ranges in the world would have amounted to anything?

    Stalin would have probably had the police arrest them.

  42. Had Egypt fallen there was a distinct possibility that Turkey would have joined the Axis powers. While I am not claiming they would have been an effective German ally the Russians would have had to divert forces from the eastern front to the Caucasus.

    Since Egypt never fell we can’t say for sure what would have happened though.

  43. My father spent most of the war in Persia and Iraq, the mission being as a backstop in case Hitler broke through the Caucasus or defeated the Eighth Army in North Africa. We really needed that oil. Thankfully he never had to experience combat. But mid-1945 they were gearing up to go East. A couple of buckets of instant sunshine put paid to that, which was quite a relief for him and his mates.

    In retrospect, the area bombing was a mistake. If the RAF had gone after oil production earlier that might have had more impact on the German war effort. This is all counterfactual bollocks though. There wasn’t really a choice between the bombing and something else. It was between bombing and doing nothing. Prior to March 1945 it was the only offensive action that actually took place on German soil. It should also be remembered that bombing technology in 1944/45 was a very different beast from 1941/42. It wasn’t a war crime. The German populace was entirely complicit in the actions of the Nazis. If we could have killed the 630,000 of them we did without losing 50,000 Bomber Command aircrew, that would have been fine. It’s no more than they deserved.

  44. @ SMFS
    The RAF attacked German warships and industries in 1939, not cities – in fact they dropped leaflets on cities when they could have dropped bombs. So that is hardly a justification for the blitz or flattening Coventry.

  45. @ Martin
    By 1943, Germany could not have won: Hitler had attacked the USSR and declared war on the USA. Why do you think that were on the verge of surrender?.

  46. Bloke in Costa Rica – “If the RAF had gone after oil production earlier that might have had more impact on the German war effort.”

    If they had gone after the transformers and the generators they probably could have brought the entire German economy to a halt. John Ellis has a good discussion on this in Brute Force

    There wasn’t really a choice between the bombing and something else. It was between bombing and doing nothing. Prior to March 1945 it was the only offensive action that actually took place on German soil.

    Apart from the fact that the Soviet Army crossed the pre-war German border about the same time as the D Day landings and so that claim is not true, it is also not relevant. The British did not have to do anything on German soil. We had to win the war. There were dozens of ways of furthering that aim without roasting women and children alive in their homes.

    It should also be remembered that bombing technology in 1944/45 was a very different beast from 1941/42.

    And yet some of the most obviously criminal bombing raids took part in the 1944-45 period, not earlier.

    It wasn’t a war crime. The German populace was entirely complicit in the actions of the Nazis.

    Let’s see. Most of them did not vote for the Nazis. Most of them did not support the war. Most of the people killed were apolitical. Six month old babies do not, after all, have well developed political views. The vast majority had no idea about the Holocaust at all. How were they complicit? How does this differ from saying the Jews are collectively to blame for the death of Christ? All Germans for all time?

    What is more this is precisely what the IRA said. And at least they were fighting a genuine democratically elected government. Does that mean that the victims of Omagh bombing deserved it?

    john77 – “The RAF attacked German warships and industries in 1939, not cities”

    The bombing of cities began when the RAF targeted Berlin. But even before that, the RAF was attacking “industrial and transportation” targets in the Rhine region.

    Bombing cities was the sole reason the RAF existed. The Luftwaffe was caught flat footed because their lawyers told them they couldn’t bomb civilians and even if they had wanted to, they were armed and trained for CAS. So they did not have the right planes. As is obvious.

  47. @SMFS “So the only problem with the Holocaust is that the Germans did not win? The fact that they thought that it was helping their war effort is more than enough to justify it as long as they won?”
    You missed the point. The Holocaust didn’t help the Germans win, just the opposite. It diverted resources, especially railroad transport, from the military, as the Army staff protested at the time. It was done to further National Socialist doctrine, not to help win the war.

  48. ZT – “You missed the point. The Holocaust didn’t help the Germans win, just the opposite. It diverted resources”

    No. You miss the point. They thought it did. They were wrong. The British thought burning children in their homes would help win the war. It didn’t. It diverted resources. Badly needed and valuable resources. Not the least of which was the lives of 60,000 fliers.

    It was done in the spirit of a self-righteous, cowardly sadism. The British would rain vengeance on the women and children of Germany while flying so high no one could touch them.

  49. “It was done in the spirit of a self-righteous, cowardly sadism. The British would rain vengeance on the women and children of Germany while flying so high no one could touch them.”

    I’d like to see you go and visit some WW2 bomber crews (US or British) and tell them they were all cowards. They’re in their 90s now but you still might not come out alive.

  50. Jim – “I’d like to see you go and visit some WW2 bomber crews (US or British) and tell them they were all cowards. They’re in their 90s now but you still might not come out alive.”

    I did not call them cowards. Given half of them died, that is, of course, absurd.

    But how things turned out and how their Brass thought they would go are two different things.

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