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Bomber Harris a 'colonial warmonger'

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Bomber Harris a 'colonial warmonger'

Old 16th Jun 2020, 06:46
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Bomber Harris a 'colonial warmonger'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...s-removed.html
So the so called educated are saying Harris was a colonial war monger. As far as I can remember he was only involved in mining and farming in Africa and then fought in the German SW Africa campaign. These ridiculous protests are now branching out to a more general sphere. What next?
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 07:23
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...and of course, being the Mirror, it writes that Harris was responsible for bombing German Cities which were "typically working class areas". Oh dear.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 07:46
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Originally Posted by Wensleydale View Post
...and of course, being the Mirror, it writes that Harris was responsible for bombing German Cities which were "typically working class areas". Oh dear.
The article is actually in the Daily Mail
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 08:15
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Originally Posted by Skylark58 View Post
The article is actually in the Daily Mail
So just another brand of toilet paper then?
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 09:38
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I have the utmost respect and admiration for those at the sharp end of Bomber Command but, honestly, I'm never been at all sure about their commander-in-chief. Too me he was from the same mould as many of those Great War generals who could not see the wood for the trees and were of the 'one last push' mentality and to hell with the casualties.

The bombing campaign may have held a lot of German artillery and manpower back from being deployed to the Eastern Front, but in my opinion Harris was far too blinkered to see that if the Blitz had not broken civilian morale in London it was unlikely to happen in reverse. Too many times he promised area bombing would solely bring about German surrender when it failed to do so, even when it was clear invasion would be the only means to end the war. He resisted when his bombers were needed in the lead up to the Allied invasion to hit logistics and communications targets in France, and I believe he arefused to allow any four-engined bombers to be diverted to support Coastal Command in the Battle of the Atlantic when the U-boats were wreaking havoc on merchant shipping.

There was disquiet about area bombing at the time, and ever since, and even I remain unconvinced that, in the end, the results were worth the sacrifice of so many young men.

I apologise if my thoughts offend, but that's how I feel.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 09:39
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It was only a matter of time of course. The statue of Bomber Harris has been a target for the Hampstead Thinkers from the very moment it was unveiled by the Queen Mother. That it hasn't yet been cocooned a la Churchill's statue I find surprising, though on reflection he was just as despised by the Establishment (including those of his own Service). Now that attention has been drawn to him let us hope he is put on the at risk register and appropriately protected.

Four posts before the obligatory Daily Wail denunciation appears? Tut tut, we really must sharpen our ideas up mustn't we?
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 10:15
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I was a small lad living in the southern outskirts of London for most of WWII. I still have strong memories of the Blitz, the Bedecker raids and then the doodlebugs and V2 rockets. I also remember standing in the playground of my school and cheering as our bombers and the USAF streamed overhead on their way to targets on the continent. This was vengeance personified for the damage Hitler did to our country. So I for one am happy to applaud Bomber Harris for what he did, including the morale boost he gave to my family and school friends.

Perhaps I should also mention that I had members of my family flying in those bombers and thank God they were among the lucky ones who served with pride and without regret. So stuff the Hampstead Thinkers and their cohorts.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 10:25
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Originally Posted by Martin the Martian View Post
I remain unconvinced that, in the end, the results were worth the sacrifice of so many young men.
This issue was discussed extensively only a couple of weeks ago:
Dam Busters: The Race to Smash the German Dams
Is it really necessary to do it yet again?
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 11:28
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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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Old 16th Jun 2020, 11:40
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Doomed

Burn the history books. Topple the statues. Bury all remnants of past injustice.
nothing bad has ever happened when people ignore the lessons of history....
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 11:44
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those Great War generals who could not see the wood for the trees and were of the 'one last push' mentality and to hell with the casualties.
Eventually that tactic won that war though.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 12:52
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My parents/grandparents are all from South London and were there during the Battle of Britian and the Blitz. They endured.
Dodgy I am with you on that one, that these revisionists can peddle their midguided views in the public domain is thanks to the freedom bought with the blood of thousands of men, women and children, irrespective of nationality, during conflict.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 13:21
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Originally Posted by DODGYOLDFART View Post
I was a small lad living in the southern outskirts of London for most of WWII. I still have strong memories of the Blitz, the Bedecker raids and then the doodlebugs and V2 rockets. I also remember standing in the playground of my school and cheering as our bombers and the USAF streamed overhead on their way to targets on the continent. This was vengeance personified for the damage Hitler did to our country. So I for one am happy to applaud Bomber Harris for what he did, including the morale boost he gave to my family and school friends.
Interestingly, if you had moved out of the suburbs, and into central london, (or Coventry or Plymouth) those sorts of attitudes became less common (or even a minority view). There was gallup poll in 1941 that looked at public attitudes to 'reprisal' bombings which found that support for them overwhelmingly came from areas that had experienced the fewest air raids. I imagine that the people who had experienced area bombing had a much better idea of who was actually being targeted for 'vengeance' than the wider public.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 13:25
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I don't support the motives of these people seeking to topple the statues for the reasons cited.

However, did the west not celebrate when the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in a campaign fuelled by western support? What about the facts of politics and history then and that statue serving 'as a reminder' to the future populations of Iraq?
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 16:27
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Can't see the point of removing statues - - if you have to attach an explanatory notice but where do you stop? Knock down the Roman Wall (clearly imperialist) or the Louvre or..........?

Bomber Harris? Not a great leader - he rarely ever went anywhere near an operational station, blinkered (fought tooth & nail against letting Coastal have any decent aircraft) and bombastic. He also slithered around clear orders at times. Not worthy of the people he sent out to fight
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 16:48
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Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.


1984 George Orwell

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 16th Jun 2020 at 19:44. Reason: Sort out quote
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 16:50
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Can't see the point of removing statues - - if you have to attach an explanatory notice but where do you stop? Knock down the Roman Wall (clearly imperialist) or the Louvre or..........?

Bomber Harris? Not a great leader - he rarely ever went anywhere near an operational station, blinkered (fought tooth & nail against letting Coastal have any decent aircraft) and bombastic. He also slithered around clear orders at times. Not worthy of the people he sent out to fight
Unlike Keith Park, who was frequently out and about to the front-line stations in his Hurricane.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 17:23
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Asturias56...I suspect that any of Harris' surviving 'Old Lags' would take deep exception to your comment that:

'Bomber Harris? Not a great leader - he rarely ever went anywhere near an operational station...'

As Squadron Historian and Adjutant in the early 90s I had the immense privilege of meeting, talking with (in depth) and, best of all, drinking with dozens of ex-Bomber Command aircrew, groundcrew and their families..and almost to a man and woman they would not hear anything bad said about 'Butch' as he was very affectionately known to them. They would have followed him to hell and back, and to the survivors it must have felt like that at times.

The main problem with 'Bomber', 'Bert', or 'Butch' Harris has been the revisionist view of the strategic bomber offensive that was started as early as Feb/Mar 45 by one Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, who, after Dresden, feared that his legacy could be tarnished by association with Bomber Command and Harris.

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Old 16th Jun 2020, 18:12
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Yes Harris was cold blooded man, but he had a job to do, to wage war against the enemy with all that he could muster. as others have pointed out, for a long time at the beginning of the War, the Bomber Offensive was the only means we had of striking back at the enemy, and helping our Allies, in taking some of the heat off of them.

War is a dirty business, and people get killed, on both sides, Military or Civilian..Area bombing was a blunt tool to get at Hitler, but precision bombing, even in daylight with a Norden bombsight, was just not accurate enough.

I am also sure that if the Manhattan Project had come to fruition 6 months earlier, Berlin would have been the recipient of Little Boy and maybe Dresden would have got Fat Man...maybe that would have convinced the Nazis to pack it in...What would we have made of Harris then?
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 18:18
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Originally Posted by Lingo Dan View Post
Unlike Keith Park, who was frequently out and about to the front-line stations in his Hurricane.
Park and Mallory were GROUP Commanders responsible for their squadrons.

Harris was a COMMAND Commander. His responsibility was for the Groups. Even 30 or more years later Group Commanders would make annual visits to their units and frequently fly with their crews. Where Command chiefs visited it was usually as a farewell trip around their Units before they retired.

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