View Full Version : Hitchens trashes Harris
I often agree with Peter Hitchens comment and style but he cannot be permitted to get away with this (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2166966/PETER-HITCHENS-The-heroes-Bomber-Command-deserve-memorial--unlike-butcher-led-them.html).
The DM is not permitting reader comment - I wonder why?
The heroes of Bomber Command deserve their memorial... unlike the butcher who led them
One day, when the last of those who risked their lives in the 1939-45 war are no longer with us, this country may begin to have a grown-up discussion about that war.
Yes, and taken completely out of historical context as you do now with your comments about Harris.
BUT nobody has ever found a way to make two wrongs make a right. And after long thought and much study, I have come to the unhappy conclusion that the bombing policy was wrong.
Do you now? And which staff college did you attend? How many years of political propaganda have you listened to? Our leaders had the real and imminent danger of attack by a determined and ruthless enemy led by a mad dictator. The bombing campaign was a Western Front when the army was powerless to take action and the RN was fully engaged in keeping our supply lines across the Atlantic open.
What do you think would have been the outcome had Hitler been able to turn his undivided attention east and, perhaps, defeat Russia? He could have then dealt with us at his leisure.
Harris actively preferred this form of warfare to the more difficult but immensely more militarily effective targeting of oil refineries, railway marshaling yards and warlike installations which many experts believe would have been far more damaging to Hitler,
And who would these so called 'experts' be? Not a bunch of journos writing for money? The War Cabinet approved and commanded Harris to carry out the attacks. Had he refused to do so he would have been replaced with someone who would.
He fought his corner hard. For instance, when WSC had agreed that some of the new H2S radars should go to Coastal Command, Harris insisted that ALL production go to his command. He got his way.
To this day, few British people know what we actually did to Germany. We know of and are rightly angered by the Luftwaffe attack on Coventry and by the London Blitz. But these wretched events were tiny compared with the ruin we inflicted on Germany.
Good! Bomber Command did it better than the Luftwaffe.
Peter Hitchens, you disappoint me! You set out to denigrate an effective wartime military commander and produced a rant more worthy of your Trotskyist International Socialist early years.
N.B. Edited in order to retain a semblance of civility.
1st Jul 2012, 19:42
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1st Jul 2012, 19:43
Why did you put this on jet blast, a forum that thrives on threads on threads about dog breeds and other such inane trivia? Why not put it on the Mil forum?
I agree with all that you've said by the way.
1st Jul 2012, 19:49
At first glance, I thought the title of the thread was "Hitchens trashes Paris" (and why not?) but on closer inspection I saw it said 'Harris'. On the other hand. my eyesight isn't so bad as right in the middle of the article is this link for comments:
RightMinds | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2166966/:%20http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/)
If you want to comment on Peter Hitchens click here (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2166966/:%20http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/)
Read more: PETER HITCHENS: The heroes of Bomber Command deserve their memorial... unlike the butcher who led them | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2166966/PETER-HITCHENS-The-heroes-Bomber-Command-deserve-memorial--unlike-butcher-led-them.html#ixzz1zP0DYUtj)
I also agree with the original poster.
Somebody should remind him that with out all of their sacrifice he would not be able to write what he wants to. And that includes all that served from the bottom to the top. It was at the time the only way we could attack Germany and made Germany tie up a large amount of troops defending there home country
G&T ice n slice
1st Jul 2012, 20:59
Me mum was born & brought up in hull. There wasn't a lot of East Hull left after they received a few visits from someone's bombers. Then she married me dad (RN) and ended up just outside Portsmouth. There wasn't a lot left of Portsmouth after they'd had a few visits from Hermann's circus.
They sowed the wind and they reaped the whirlwid.
But towards the end of all the nastiness, me mum did get very worried about it all. She said that lying awake and listenening to the endless stream, hour after hour, heading eastwards she would pray for the enemy because she knew what they would be receiving.
What do you expect if you read the Daily Liar?
It features reactionary garbage on every page, even the TV Guide.
If you want to hurt the Mail stop bloody buying it!!!!:mad:
1st Jul 2012, 21:22
He seems to have forgotten that there was another air force involved, which dropped two great big non-precision bombs in a war he seems to have forgotten, and also blew up plenty of rustic Altstaedte on this continent.
So it wasn't just Arthur Harris who thought that bombing was a reasonable way to prosecute the war.
militarily effective targeting of oil refineries
That Ploesti raid was a hoot, wasn't it? And Schweinfurt - twice?
We should have dropped that fat bugger over Germany - they'd have been flying pretty white flags - Nein, nein, ich kann's nicht!
I have an deep emotional attachment to Germany going back many years. It is heart-rending to see the destruction that we wrought on his cities and his people.
But they were not exactly Girl Guides, were they? What were we meant to do - put them on the naughty step?
Edited to say:
What Hitchens wrote was antithetical to the usual Mail line. It was more Guardian/Independent.
1st Jul 2012, 22:39
For journo who lived in the Soviet Union, he should know you can only kill a totalitarian regime attacking you is to kill it by all out war. Ask 6 million plus from 1936 onwards, who were murdered on an industrial scale what they would have wanted.
Thank you. Have now done so with my real name attached.
Really sad because I was/am a fan of Hitchens.
I can only wonder what the other Hitchens would have said about that article, were he still around to respond. Christopher wouldn't have written anything quite that PC. :cool:
2nd Jul 2012, 02:32
Didn't he trash everybody? Well, he's dead now - he'll soon be forgotten.
2nd Jul 2012, 04:05
Bomber Command did it better than the Luftwaffe.
And a heartfelt thanks to all the aircrew and the guys and gals on the ground that helped make it possible. Each and every one of them was twice the person that these lefty apologists are :yuk:
2nd Jul 2012, 04:40
I think that both sides of the arguments in the opening post are over the top.
The decisions made in WWII were strategic and required leaders of the caliber of Harris and his wartime critics.
Hindsight of course helps put things in a clearer light.
The fault with, bomb the hell out of cities, is that it was shown to not dampen the war effort on the side being bombed. It did however embolden the spirits of those doing the bombing. The Doolittle raid comes to mind
There are some excellent arguments that the daylight bombing of industry did have a more lethal effect on the ability to wage war but of course at a hell of a cost if you were in the airforce doing the bombing.
I am reminded that Harris was on the winning side, so how can one judge him today as strongly as represented in the artcle above?
2nd Jul 2012, 08:07
What does Hitchens expect to achieve by such scurrilous accusations ? I can just hear Bomber Harris' addressing his stalwart aircrew who fought and died in their tens of thouands for so many years, "Now, we're not quite sure if this is the right tactic to defeat the Nazis, but it's worth a try, eh chaps ?"
Total war, journos should get used to the concept because Jihad will require something as radical one day soon - if our modern, weak willed, self aggrandising politicians have the balls for it.
2nd Jul 2012, 08:38
Perhaps Hitchens, using his superior knowledge and intellect, could tell us which of the Principles of War Harris didn't keep to?
War is a nasty business which most of us would rather didn't happen but if it does then it has to be as short, nasty and brutal as you can make it in order to win.
Selection and Maintenance of the Aim
A single, unambiguous aim is the keystone of successful military operations. Selection and maintenance of the aim is regarded as the master principle of war.
Maintenance of Morale
Morale is a positive state of mind derived from inspired political and military leadership, a shared sense of purpose and values, well-being, perceptions of worth and group cohesion.
Offensive action is the practical way in which a commander seeks to gain advantage, sustain momentum and seize the initiative.
Security is the provision and maintenance of an operating environment that affords the necessary freedom of action, when and where required, to achieve objectives.
Surprise is the consequence of shock and confusion induced by the deliberate or incidental introduction of the unexpected.
Concentration of Force
Concentration of force involves the decisive, synchronized application of superior fighting power (conceptual, physical, and moral) to realize intended effects, when and where required.
Economy of Effort
Economy of effort is the judicious exploitation of manpower, materiel and time in relation to the achievement of objectives.
Flexibility – the ability to change readily to meet new circumstances – comprises agility, responsiveness, resilience, acuity and adaptability.
Cooperation entails the incorporation of teamwork and a sharing of dangers, burdens, risks and opportunities in every aspect of warfare.
To sustain a force is to generate the means by which its fighting power and freedom of action are maintained.
2nd Jul 2012, 09:32
Each and every one of them was twice the person that these lefty apologists are
Calling Peter Hitchens an lefty apologist is like calling him a loving and caring brother....
2nd Jul 2012, 09:43
Peter Hitchens should be placed in a locked room with those old veterans. They would soon tell him a few home truths, prior to a good duffing up!
2nd Jul 2012, 09:45
Peter Hitchins is many things, but left wing he is not.
I tend to take cognizance of the opinions of this man when wondering about the bombing of Dresden and Hamburg!
VONNEGUT•COM -- The Official Website of Kurt Vonnegut (http://www.vonnegut.com/)
3rd Jul 2012, 01:57
Methinks PH is striving for the iconoclastic mantle of his departed brother - it is always a futile exercise to judge past events in the light of current morality/ethics, or what passes for them.
I think it one of the reasons war veterans are so reticent - they live in trepidation of judgement. It took me a long time to convince my Dad of this, and that I recognised extraordinary events meant that extraordinary measures were required to deal with them. Even then, I never found out exactly what happened to him during the evacuation of France in 1940. I do have his Croix de Guerre, the rather perfunctory report he gave of the skirmish with German paratroopers, the sight of the bullet scar on his left cheek, and the memory of the sounds of his nightmares years later.
3rd Jul 2012, 07:41
Hitchens trashes Harris ???
HARRIS TRASHES HITCHENS
That would be a nice headline. I think 2 x 250lb incendiaries and a 4000lb Cookie should do it.
I'm off to make up a list of secondary targets. Any suggestions?
3rd Jul 2012, 09:29
blue up: May I suggest that history professor from Exeter Uni writing in the Grauniad the other weekend who made much the same mistakes?
I can't remember his name and frankly, he's not worth my time to find out if that's what passes for history in his dept.
3rd Jul 2012, 09:49
Without wishing to pass comment upon Harris whose actions must be judged at a time when Britain was in extremis and the barbarians were at the gate it is worth noting that Harris was a patrician whose personality traits made him less than a sympathetic character to even those like Churchill who questioned his preference for area bombing vis. a vis. precision bombing (specifically towards the end of the war).
There is an argument that Lindemann, or as he was known later Viscount Cherwell, was the real architect of Harris’s strategy whose ultimate efficacy remains the source of much dispute to this day. Lindemann’s policy of ‘dehousing” was shown to be moribund as killing thousands of citizens proved as ineffective in breaking the will of the German people as had Hitler’s blitz on London been in breaking the British spirit.