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Bomber Harris a 'colonial warmonger'

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Bomber Harris a 'colonial warmonger'

Old 19th Jun 2020, 07:59
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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Having not been on-line for a few days I've just had a quick read through this thread, and when I got to Jenns' crass and offensive comment at Post 55 comparing Harris with Eichmann I couldn't really believe what I was seeing. I've been trying to think of some form argument to counter this repugnant comment, but then I realised that if Jenns genuinely holds this opinion then he's patently a lost cause, and no form of reasoning or cogent discussion could persuade him otherwise.
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 09:43
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DODGYOLDFART View Post
I ....... two German aircrew ......the pilot who had a nasty gash across his forehead which my sister who was in the ARP quickly patched up. In the mean time my Mother set about preparing our breakfast and promptly put a further couple of our precious eggs, fried bread etc. in the frying pan for the prisoners..
I read of a case where the RAF gave full military funerals to some Luftwaffe aircrew much to the disgust of the locals who also objected to them being buried in their local churchyard. I don't whether it was RAF policy to do this in every case. Even RAF aircrew bailing out over England were sometimes shot at by the Home Guard. I think that one chap was killed.
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 10:26
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The Bomber Command attacks on German cities, coupled with precision attacks on V-weapon sites and other infrastructure were undoubtedly viewed by allied leaders as an important contribution to ending the war in Europe - the only real aim. Why else would they begin assembling Tiger Force consisting of 22 squadrons of Lancaster/Lincoln/Liberator bombers with the clear intention of doing exactly the same thing to Japan?

The only people responsible for the millions of deaths during WWII were Hitler and his acolytes, along with their counterparts in Japan.
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 10:33
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Originally Posted by Brewster Buffalo View Post
I read of a case where the RAF gave full military funerals to some Luftwaffe aircrew much to the disgust of the locals who also objected to them being buried in their local churchyard. I don't whether it was RAF policy to do this in every case. Even RAF aircrew bailing out over England were sometimes shot at by the Home Guard. I think that one chap was killed.
James Nicolson was wounded after a member of the Home Guard fired at him as he descended after baling out of his Hurricane at the end of the action which led to the award of his VC.
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 11:36
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There is a very good account of the Dresden bombing, with a lot of historical context, in this book:
Amazon Amazon
Dresden: Tuesday, 13 February 1945, by Frederick Taylor
(other booksellers are available)

Last edited by dastocks; 19th Jun 2020 at 17:56. Reason: Added book title and author
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 13:43
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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Dastocks

I agree: Frederick Taylor's book lays it all out very clearly. I have lent it to several people (non-service), all of whom said "that's changed my opinion completely" or words to that effect.
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 14:37
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The discussions range from whether 'the end justifies the means' to whether 'morally defensible acts should always apply without exception'. ie I can kill if it justifies the end result vs if killing is wrong I should never do it. Defending the end justifies the means is to defend Hitler's approach to total war, nuclear exchange, chemical and biological warfare and of course targeting civilians. Defending moral relativism (it is acceptable to kill in some circumstances) opens up an anti-religious standpoint (killing is wrong) and leaves room for interpretation by the individual (My Lai anyone?) Once you move down the relativism road then you must accept that one person's truth may be different from another's, after all it's all relative.
It's not a simple problem.
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 15:20
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by OJ 72 View Post
What must be remembered is, that after Dunkirk, Bomber Command was the only force that was capable of taking the fight to the enemy.
I cannot help noting that a number of posters refer to Bomber Command in terms of being, if I may use OJ 72's words, "after Dunkirk ....the only force that was capable of taking the fight to the enemy". Whilst not wishing to detract from the thread's overall thrust, with which I agree, may I gently point out that the Royal Navy Submarine Service was doing precisely that throughout World War II.

Jack

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Old 19th Jun 2020, 15:46
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It was indeed Jack - and IIRC the casualty figures were similar - 74 - 79 submarines lost
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 16:47
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Jack, maybe part of the reason is because those submariners were part of the silent service? Bomber Command even sent radio reporters (Richard Dimbleby?) on some raids. There was a greater immediacy to reporting, and some footage of the devastation caused, which was far less likely if a submarine sank a ship, likely the sub would be straight into evasive manoeuvres.

And of course, those RAF chaps were far more handsome and much less smelly than the guys in the boats
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 16:49
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In fairness Jack, I think one can say that Bomber Command were the only substantial means of hitting at the machinery of the Nazi war effort. Others were fighting after Dunkirk, e.g. in North Africa or commando raids on the European mainland (Operation Collar was in June '40). The role of the Merchant Navy and the RN surface fleet in sustaining the UK war effort and fighting the U-Boats shouldn't be forgotten either. (Personal interest to declare: my late father served under "Johnnie" Walker's command.)

What "Butch" Harris and his aircrews did was perfectly legal. It is, yet again, a case of applying laws and standards that did not apply at the time. Like any good service(wo)man he was following the legal orders of his superiors and government. I am personally very thankful he did. (I will avoid any discussion on slavery as I would go on for pages.)

The law of war covering aerial bombardment in WW2 was the XIVth Declaration of the 1907 Hague Convention which was in force by default (and still is) as the Third Peace Conference never took place. It in effect only covered war between the British Empire and the USA as France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia, did not sign or ratify it. Austria-Hungary signed but did not ratify it. It has been said that perceived advantages from developments in the means of "aerial navigation" had put governments off restricting their use. I am pretty certain tHere were no laws of war covering civilians in unoccupied territory.

The Contracting Powers agree to prohibit, for a period extending to the close of the Third Peace Conference, the discharge of projectiles and explosives from balloons or by other new methods of a similar nature. The present Declaration is only binding on the Contracting Powers in case of war between two or more of them. It shall cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between the Contracting Powers, one of the belligerents is joined by a non-Contracting Power. (my emphasis)

Declaration (XIV) Prohibiting the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons. The Hague, 18 October 1907

Last edited by SLXOwft; 19th Jun 2020 at 16:54. Reason: addition re civilians
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 18:17
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by OJ 72 View Post
Having not been on-line for a few days I've just had a quick read through this thread, and when I got to Jenns' crass and offensive comment at Post 55 comparing Harris with Eichmann I couldn't really believe what I was seeing. I've been trying to think of some form argument to counter this repugnant comment, but then I realised that if Jenns genuinely holds this opinion then he's patently a lost cause, and no form of reasoning or cogent discussion could persuade him otherwise.
Itís a false equivalence. Eichmann was enacting genocide (a term not coined until 1947 I think). Harris - Britain - was waging war as best it could with the available tools, against a foe that was waging an aggressive war, perpetrating all sorts of ghastliness in the process.

Incidentally, the USAAC/F might claim some sort of moral superiority because it used precision bombing - but it was hardly precision when the entire formation bombed at the same time as the leader, or used radar, or dropped incendiaries over Japanese cities.

Caramba
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 18:28
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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I am not "comparing" anything here, I am just saying that "I followed orders" is not a valid excuse for war crimes. In the decades after 1945 Europe evolved into something really great but there is a prevailing mentality in the UK that is completely stuck in the 1930s. What else (besides an infinite amount of poor taste) could have led to the erection of the statue in question in the first place?

In 1992 the rest of Europe was looking forward to travelling and trading without border controls and to the Euro. In a process that has no equivalent in human history we had successfully put the animosities of the past centuries behind us. Yet some idiots needed to erect a statue that symbolizes them more than hardly anything else? Weren't you ashamed?
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 18:29
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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I readily accept the input from of the preceding three posters and, without wishing to deviate too far from the thread's specific subject, simply felt as an underwater warrior that the significance of the Silent Service's continuous war patrols was worth a mention, *specifically* but not exclusively, in relation to the posts I indexed. "Other fighting forces are available" - and their supporters are of course just as welcome to mention them on the same principle, should they so wish.

SLXOwft - For your interest, I had the pleasure of knowing both Mrs Johnny Walker and her aviator son.

Jack
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 19:09
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Jenns View Post
In 1992 the rest of Europe was looking forward to travelling and trading without border controls and to the Euro. In a process that has no equivalent in human history we had successfully put the animosities of the past centuries behind us. Yet some idiots needed to erect a statue that symbolizes them more than hardly anything else? Weren't you ashamed?
Because the subject of that statue was a key enabler of the conditions that allowed freedom of movement without having to show your papers to any gauleiter who took an interest in your genetic, racial, sexual or political predilictions. There is no need to feel ashamed over what he and his peers achieved.

Last edited by Harley Quinn; 19th Jun 2020 at 19:42.
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 19:33
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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Regarding Jenns' comment in Post #73 about being 'ashamed' of Sir Arthur Harris' statue being unveiled in 1992...I am in no way ashamed about its unveiling. My only regret was that I was on holiday with my wife in France at the time and we were unable to accept an invitation to attend the unveiling with the surviving 'Old Lags' from my Squadron Association. And Jenns, before you ask, I felt nothing but pride watching the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park in 2012. The only 'shame' was that the 55 573 dead and the dwindling band of survivors had to wait so long to be recognised by the Nation.

It may be simplistic, but if it wasn't for their sacrifice, (and that of the other services, and the civilians of the UK and the Commonwealth) then the borderless Europe that you alluded to in your post may have been a reality. However, I doubt if there would have been much peace, prosperity or indeed freedom of movement for those people who didn't constitute 'Grosser Deutschland'.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 08:39
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Originally Posted by OJ 72 View Post
Regarding Jenns' comment in Post #73 about being 'ashamed' of Sir Arthur Harris' statue being unveiled in 1992...I am in no way ashamed about its unveiling. My only regret was that I was on holiday with my wife in France at the time and we were unable to accept an invitation to attend the unveiling with the surviving 'Old Lags' from my Squadron Association. And Jenns, before you ask, I felt nothing but pride watching the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park in 2012. The only 'shame' was that the 55 573 dead and the dwindling band of survivors had to wait so long to be recognised by the Nation.

It may be simplistic, but if it wasn't for their sacrifice, (and that of the other services, and the civilians of the UK and the Commonwealth) then the borderless Europe that you alluded to in your post may have been a reality. However, I doubt if there would have been much peace, prosperity or indeed freedom of movement for those people who didn't constitute 'Grosser Deutschland'.
At the risk of repeating myself: +1
On the other hand: Jenns
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 08:43
  #78 (permalink)  
 
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The problem with Jens argument is that it doesn't address the issues at the time. Assuming he/she agrees that ending the hold of the NAZI party on Germany and Europe was a desirable and necessary thing how was it to be achieved?

The answer was an alliance of many nations, none of whom could be described as without some serious faults themselves but nothing like as mad, bad and dangerous as Hitlerian Germany. Once you start a war you unleash death and destruction - this is why it should be avoided if at all possible - but by 1939 there really was no choice - it was literally fight or be subjugated. You fight to win, and to win as fast as possible - no one seriously holds the view that Hitler winning would be a good thing for anyone, especially Germany. For many years the Allies in the West had a very limited options on how to fight - the bombing campaign was the main answer. We should also remember that it wasn't started by the Allies - Germany was quite happy to bomb anyone.

We can say it was awful, we can say it would have been better if we could have won the war without doing it - but we can't say it was wrong at the time or that the people who carried it out weren't very brave. It's like any other battle - thousands killed and wounded and awful destruction but there really is no choice - sometimes it's necessary.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 09:02
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Originally Posted by Jenns View Post
I am not "comparing" anything here, I am just saying that "I followed orders" is not a valid excuse for war crimes. In the decades after 1945 Europe evolved into something really great but there is a prevailing mentality in the UK that is completely stuck in the 1930s. What else (besides an infinite amount of poor taste) could have led to the erection of the statue in question in the first place?

In 1992 the rest of Europe was looking forward to travelling and trading without border controls and to the Euro. In a process that has no equivalent in human history we had successfully put the animosities of the past centuries behind us. Yet some idiots needed to erect a statue that symbolizes them more than hardly anything else? Weren't you ashamed?
That is the most sanctimonious twaddle imaginable. Not only that, it is very dangerous sanctimonious twaddle. You remind me of those who surrounded Greenham Common to 'stop war'. All they did was offer comfort to those who would start wars. As to your enthusiasm for a borderless Europe, as already stated, you are late to the party. A little stout French Emperor and an Austrian Corporal had already tried it and failed. Third time lucky? I wouldn't put any money on it. Save your anti Brit attitudes for elsewhere. We were offered a deal by the Fuhrer, turned him down, and with the help of Bomber Command defeated his tidy minded ideas of Germania. When you start planning the lives of other peoples you tend to get push back, so don't!
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 09:09
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Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_Er_Was View Post
Eventually that tactic won that war though.
Don't think so. The blockade of German materials and food exhausted them and the arrival of US troops helped. Throwing men at barbed wire and machine guns never became a success story.
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