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Old 16th Jun 2020, 11:28
  #9 (permalink)  
OJ 72
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: The Beloved Province
Age: 58
Posts: 12
What must be remembered is, that after Dunkirk, Bomber Command was the only force that was capable of taking the fight to the enemy. Churchill himself said that:

'The fighters are our salvation but the bombers alone provide the means of victory.'

Harris was a complex individual, as many war leaders are, and he certainly believed that Bomber Command could win the war on its own. However, what these 'enlightened' protesters fail to realise (or singularly don't want to realise) is that Harris did not set the bombing policy...he was carrying out direction from the War Cabinet. The 'Area Bombing Directive' was issued on 14 Feb 42...a week before Harris took over as C-in-C Bomber Command...so the die was already cast. It is undoubtedly true, that he certainly put his shoulder to this particular wheel, and carried out its tenets to the best of his, and his Command's abilities. However, the fact that he is constantly portrayed as the architect of this policy is simply untrue.

Even Dresden, in Feb 45, for which he is constantly (wrongly) castigated by the so-called 'intellectual elite' was part of a larger series of raids under the code name of THUNDERCLAP. (as an aside, we certainly weren't overly sensitive when picking op names...MILLENNIUM for the 1000 Bomber Raid; CHASTISE for the Dams Raid, and perhaps most prescient of all, GOMORRAH for the Hamburg Raids of Jul/Aug 43).

The fact that Churchill had direct links to Dresden can be easily demonstrated. On 25 Jan 45 Churchill rang Sir Archibald Sinclair, the Secretary of State for air, and in a typically Churchillian turn of phrase queried:

‘What plans Bomber Command had for basting the Germans in their retreat from Breslau’.

Breslau was a major city in Silesia just 100 miles east of Dresden that was under direct threat from the Soviet advance.

War, and especially 'Total War' ('Totaler Krieg – Kürzester Krieg' - 'Total War – Shortest War' [Goebbels in the Sportspalast, Berlin Feb 43]) is never simple, and when national survival is at stake then single-minded individuals such as Sir Arthur Harris are needed by our nation. That nearly 80 years on, and given the hindsight of history, we cannot praise him (and the 55 573 aircrew who didn't return) without applying what I can pejoratively describe as 'the woke mores of today' sadly says more about what we have become as a nation than the lives of the men that people attempt to denigrate.

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