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Archbishop apologises for Dresden bombings

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Archbishop apologises for Dresden bombings

Old 14th Feb 2015, 12:09
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Archbishop apologises for Dresden bombings

Archbishop Justin Welby 'says sorry' for bombing the Nazis in Dresden raids | Daily Mail Online


Personally I feel that with the greatest of respect that His Most Reverend should get back in his box on this one instead of standing on it.
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 12:26
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Deep sorrow, yes.
Regret?..regret that it was necessary, yes.
Diminished all our humanity? Absolutely not.

I think he's interpreting Donne* (also a cleric) here.

Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
but I don't agree with the interpretation. To risk one's earthly life to put a stop to evil, as the bomber crews did, is one of the highest human virtues.
The necessity of fighting and killing, for any legitimate action by armed forces, diminishes one's happiness (which is another sacrifice made by fighting personnel), but not their humanity.

*For whom the bell tolls a poem by John Donne
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 12:26
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So was he a bomber pilot?

All such war losses are tragic and regrettable, but at the end of the day, it was us or them. Actually, it was us and them.
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 12:29
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Was this before or after they apologised for starting it?
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 12:36
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Sins of the fathers
The Archbish did not use the word apologise. To do so would imply he had been guilty of an inhuman act. The argument over the act is irrelevent; the iniquity of the previous generation (if such were true) only leads to the punishment of later generations by God if those generations continue to abhor God, which he doesn't.


Where's Keef when you need him?
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 12:40
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Peter Hitchens, from a very quick skim read, takes a pretty anti position in this Mail article published 20 mins ago. I'll have a full peruse later as I'm heading off out but thought it might be of interest to others in the interim.

The Bombing Files - Arguments against the RAF bombing of German Civilians summed up - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog

Horrible formatting BTW.
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 12:50
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Dresden Bombing

I came across this some while ago: sadly, I have forgotten where! Could even have been on these august forums...thought it worth posting, after the BBC did it's usual hatchet job.

Since 1945, Dresden has been used to beat the RAF about its conduct of "terror bombing" during WW2. Many sources claim that Dresden was merely a quiet peaceable little medieval town going about its business and waiting for the war to end. In fact it was a major industrial centre and rail junction. As it was stated in the Dresden City Council Yearbook of 1942 - “Anyone who knows Dresden only as a cultural city would be very surprised to be made aware of the extensive and versatile activity that make Dresden one of the foremost industrial locations of the Reich”.

There were 127 factories in the Dresden municipal area, most of which were converted to war production from their former peace time use. Some examples: Zeiss turned out bomb sights, u-boat periscopes and time fuses. A former typewriter and sewing machine factory made guns and ammunition and a catering machine factory switched to producing torpedoes for the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe. Arts and crafts workshops in the old town were making tail assemblies for V-1s. Other factories were turning out searchlights, aircraft components and field communications equipment. From the Dresden Chamber of Commerce in 1944 - "The work rhythm of Dresden is determined by the needs of our army." (The famous “DresdenChina was, as it always has been, made 12 mile away in Meisen).

During the Yalta conference in February 1945, at the Chiefs of Staff meeting, General Antonov specifically asked that the Dresden railway junction be bombed. Records held at the Public Records office in Kew confirm this request. General Antonov wanted Dresden attacked because it was a German base of operations against Marshall Koniev`s left flank that stood in the way of his advance into Germany. The troop reinforcement and transport centre shifted 28 troop trains a day through the marshalling yards. This is also confirmed in intelligence reports held in the Public Records office in Kew. Besides the physical contribution to the Eastern front, Dresden was a communications centre through which most telephone and telegraph lines connecting High Command to the southern flank of the Eastern front passed.

Finally, and most convincingly, captured German High Command documents from Berlin in 1945 state that "Dresden is to be fortified as a military strongpoint, to be held at all costs." British wartime records that were only recently de-classified reveal that this was known to the British and Russian commanders, as the orders to the German local defence commander were intercepted and deciphered by Ultra at BletchleyPark.
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 13:06
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They did something naughty and took over the Poles' bit of the playground, so we told them off and hit them with a stick. They didn't like that and pushed us back.In the meantime they've occupied the French, Belgian and Dutch bits of the playground too.

Then they thought they would come into our bit of the playground and started throwing stones at us. We didn't like that, and it turned out that our stone throwing was better than their stone throwing, so they kept in their bit.

The next year, one of our mates in the next school over got kidney-punched by the Japs, so they joined us. That was a big mistake by the Japs, the mate in question is a really big lad. We helped them in their playground, and they helped us in ours. By that stage, we'd got a damned sight better at throwing much bigger rocks at the Germans in their part of the playground. But then again, they'd managed to do a number on a couple of areas in our bit; Coventry, Liverpool, London etc.

Well the time came and we said enough of this, and gathered up a lot of our blokes and crossed into their bit. We kicked their asses all the way back to their borders, and into their territory. In the meantime, to weaken their resolve and ability to fight back, we threw some almighty stones at them, and completely wiped out a couple of their areas (Hamburg, Dresden).

But they were bullies and needed to be stopped. They'd done the same thing 25 years earlier, and got off with a few lines rather than damned good caning. So this time, they were going to be fixed once and for all.

And they were. So fück 'em (and the Japs, who got a couple of meteors dropped on them).
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 13:13
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Does he think that if the Germans had the heavy bombers ie: Lancs or Halifaxes they would not have done the same to allied cities ???
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 13:14
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I quite liked Welby and his approach - IMHO he just shot himself in the foot. We will be apologising for Trafalgar and Waterloo next!
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 13:24
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Where my father was nearly killed defending the city with his barrage balloon,
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 13:31
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the aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive...should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.[43][44] ... the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.[45]
[]Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

no further comment
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 13:37
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Archbishop apologises for Dresden bombings

A comparison with Trafalgar is not very precise one - can you imagine Navy shooting at passenger ship knowing that they are sinking mostly civilians?
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 14:12
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From Welby's own Blog:

'What a sadness then that late in the evening someone showed me a headline in the Daily Mail saying that I had apologised for the RAF bombing the Nazis. No honest reading of what I said in the church and on the BBC afterwards could come anywhere near such an idea. Contrary to the Mail's report, on the BBC I spoke clearly of the bombing of British cities, mentioning especially Coventry and London. I also spoke of the terrible losses of the heroic crews of Bomber Command.'

Looks like the Daily Fail (the UK paper which supported Fascism and was owned by an admirer of Mussolini and Hitler) is having another go at getting people wound up by trying to twist somebody's words.
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 14:12
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All such war losses are tragic and regrettable, but at the end of the day, it was us or them.
The problem occurred because who "them" were. The target for that night wasn't tactical against the Wehrmacht .
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 14:31
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No, Dresden wasn't a tactical target against the Wehrmacht. It was a strategic blow against the infrastructure that permitted the Wehrmacht to operate against the Russians. The liberal yoghurt weavers don't understand the difference.
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 14:45
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By the standards of the time Dresden was a legitimate target. I believe the Geneva Convention has now changed in this respect but those in Syria and Ukraine and elsewhere may have missed the change
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 14:47
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um, well I will if you don't mind...

Wokafans, many thanks for the link to the Peter Hitchens blog, which shares the state of the curate's egg. Like other gainsayers, he thinks that the policy of area bombing, that is bombing cities rather than factories, was made by choice. It wasn't, it was made by the simple fact that Bomber Command could find cities at night (well most of the time), but couldn't find factories (well most of the time). In contradiction of that he cites the Dam Busters, who practiced hard for that one raid, the targets of which were lightly defended or completely undefended, that required favourable met and moonlight conditions, and that still suffered a high loss rate, and Peenemunde that was itself the size of a small city, albeit its power station was its Achilles heel and thus the IP.

I don't blame Hitchens for not grasping the fundamental point that main force was turned against cities simply because they could find them at night to bomb. It needs an aviator to assess the abilities of inexperienced crews (because they weren't around long enough to be otherwise) with little more than DR to fall back on (the later nav aids helped to find the cities, but scarcely the factories).

Those who have that knowledge but who still feel free to cast moral judgements on the events of 70 years ago should ask what, prior to D-Day, the Army or Navy could do to take the fight to Germany other than in defence, which is essentially what the Desert and Atlantic campaigns were about.

As to Harris, he believed in what he was doing. If he were my commander I would prefer he believed in what he was doing. If he issued blood curdling statements against the enemy in order to encourage me and my fellows to go out night after night to face 50% odds of not returning I would feel that he was trying to do his duty, by me, my country, and our Service.

As to Churchill, I have nothing to express other than utter contempt in relation to Harris, Bomber Command, and Dresden.

As to Dresden, it was just another German city. It was of course a pretty one. So what? This was a war that had yet to be won, and as quickly as possible. Dresden stood in the way of the Red Army, whose advance was essential to the ending of the war. It was fortified. It was now its turn to suffer the fate of its fellow cities. What makes it so special?

A war crime? All war is a crime. There is no such thing as a good war, they are all bad. The German people appear to have learned that lesson, but some of our liberal thinkers appear not to have .
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 14:54
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Undestand where Britain was at the time of the Hamburg raids and you will undrstand that targetting the will of the German people by killing thousands of civilians and questioning their superiority complex was not only right but was completely necessary. Knowing they were not safe and allies had the ability to delete entire German cities was a key to winning the war. The only limitation back then of course was the effectiveness and accuracy of a strategic bombing campaign.

He can apologise all he wants. It's all about winning, which we did. And stopped millions more being liquidated and being sent up a chimney. I've never quite understood why Dresden has been viewed as a special case, we did far worse to other German cities and populaces. Let's also not forget the Russians had 2 major population centres flattened by German air power, but lacked the ability to retaliate using strategic bombing, not having a significant bomber force. Stalin was pretty fed up at the relative sacrifice of Russian vs allied forces and wanted to see the fight get taken to the Germans. We turned wurzburg to dust, despite it being a pretty city with far less in the way of military industry other then the uni that developed the German equivalent to RADAR

By flattening Dresden, we placated Stalin meaning we didn't have defend the political situation by engaging in a ground war with huge potential losses for our land based forces

Last edited by VinRouge; 14th Feb 2015 at 15:54.
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Old 14th Feb 2015, 15:12
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The International Court of Justice gave an advisory opinion in July 1996 on the Legality of the Threat Or Use Of Nuclear Weapons. The court ruled that "[t]here is in neither customary nor international law any comprehensive and universal prohibition of the threat or use of nuclear weapons." However, by a split vote, it also found that "[t]he threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict." The Court stated that it could not definitively conclude whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of the state would be at stake.
The same judgement still applies to strategic bombing, as there are no specific rules on aerial bombardment in the Geneva Conventions. The principles for judging legality are military necessity, distinction, and proportionality. The GC do put the obligation on the defenders not to deliberately place troops, weapons factories, etc. in densely populated areas.

Thus, I think Dresden would still be legal today.
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