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-   -   Bombing of German cities during World War II (http://historum.com/european-history/38074-bombing-german-cities-during-world-war-ii.html)

beorna February 15th, 2012 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CuriousHistorian (Post 937194)
......

The other is from the British military historian Robin Neillands, writing in 2001:

"German militarism seems to have been curbed, as the USSBS believed it would be, so perhaps the terrible destruction wrought in Germany by the Allied bombers has indeed had a lasting effect.

If so, it is not before time. All the wars started by Prussia and Germany from 1860 to 1939 - against Denmark and Austria in the 1860s, against France in 1870-1, and against France, Britain and Russia in 1914 - had been fought on foreign soil. Other countries were damaged or devastated; the German homeland remained intact. After their wars ended, in victory or defeat, the Germans marched home to their undamaged cities. Even after their crushing defeat in 1918, the military were able to tell themselves - and the more witless German citizens - that they had not been defeated on the battlefield but had been 'stabbed in the back' at home, by the Communists and the Jews - an accusation that was used by Hitler and his cronies to justify or initiate some of the Nazis' worst atrocities.......

The bomber offensive of 1939-45 finally brought war home to Germany. Then the German people discovered that they had no more taste for war than any of the peaceful countries they had themselves so often occupied and despoiled. If the price of European peace and a final freedom from chronic German militarism was the physical destruction of Germany, many may argue the price was well worth paying.".....

What a great nonsense. this is BS at his best.

"against Denmark and Austria in the 1860s, against France in 1870-1, and against France, Britain and Russia in 1914"

Did this guy has any idea about what he is talking? I don't think so.

redcoat February 15th, 2012 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beorna (Post 937226)
article 22.

"The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited."
So its not illegal then

Quote:

So do we need the HC or the GC then? Everything is allowed as long as you win? Wait, the Poles never surrendered to Germany. So the Nazis never committed a single crime in Poland. As you say, it is not illegal to try and frighten the enemy into surrendering. Wow.
MILITARY AUTHORITY OVER THE TERRITORY
OF THE HOSTILE STATE
Art. 46.

Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected.

beorna February 15th, 2012 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CuriousHistorian (Post 937229)
No, reprisal was never used as a rationale for the bombing strategy, as I have previously posted.

However, German bombing of the UK was undoubtedly a factor in public acceptance of the RAF's bomber campaign.

I'm beginning to think it's time for this icon :deadhorse:

I already agreed, that the bombing was a factor in public acceptance. What has this to do with the question if moral bombing is legal or illegal?

beorna February 15th, 2012 01:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redcoat (Post 937234)
"The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited."
So its not illegal then

Pardon? You are joking, are you?

Quote:

Originally Posted by redcoat (Post 937234)
MILITARY AUTHORITY OVER THE TERRITORY
OF THE HOSTILE STATE
Art. 46.

Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected.

Ah, this one, which you completely forgot after 1945.

CuriousHistorian February 15th, 2012 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beorna (Post 937233)
What a great nonsense. this is BS at his best.

"against Denmark and Austria in the 1860s, against France in 1870-1, and against France, Britain and Russia in 1914"

Did this guy has any idea about what he is talking? I don't think so.


You mean that Germany didn't start any of those wars? Not even 1914?

Germany, the eternal victim?

Grimald February 15th, 2012 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CuriousHistorian (Post 937194)
It does interest me that, for all the protestations of Germany being a new Germany, this has resurfaced as an issue.

In checking my sources, I have come across a couple of observations on this subject:

The first is from the USSBS:

"[the bomber offensive] brought home to the German people the full impact of modern war, with all its horror and suffering. Its imprint on the German nation will be lasting."

The other is from the British military historian Robin Neillands, writing in 2001:

"German militarism seems to have been curbed, as the USSBS believed it would be, so perhaps the terrible destruction wrought in Germany by the Allied bombers has indeed had a lasting effect.

If so, it is not before time. All the wars started by Prussia and Germany from 1860 to 1939 - against Denmark and Austria in the 1860s, against France in 1870-1, and against France, Britain and Russia in 1914 - had been fought on foreign soil. Other countries were damaged or devastated; the German homeland remained intact. After their wars ended, in victory or defeat, the Germans marched home to their undamaged cities. Even after their crushing defeat in 1918, the military were able to tell themselves - and the more witless German citizens - that they had not been defeated on the battlefield but had been 'stabbed in the back' at home, by the Communists and the Jews - an accusation that was used by Hitler and his cronies to justify or initiate some of the Nazis' worst atrocities.

The bomber offensive of 1939-45 finally brought war home to Germany. Then the German people discovered that they had no more taste for war than any of the peaceful countries they had themselves so often occupied and despoiled. If the price of European peace and a final freedom from chronic German militarism was the physical destruction of Germany, many may argue the price was well worth paying."

The Bomber War: Arthur Harris and the Allied Bomber Offensive 1939-1945: Amazon.co.uk: Robin Neillands: Books

Quite a useful read. Neillands explores most of the controversies over strategic bombing in WW2, including what the RAF and USAAF actually did as opposed to what they said they were doing, and it is one of the few accounts written for a general audience that considers the European and Japanese bombing campaigns together.

As you may imagine, I would also like to challenge Neillands' view that Germany was more aggressive or militaristic than its neighbors, except for the years 1933-45. I don't claim innocence or victimhood for Prussia and Germany, I just don't see anything out of the ordinary in the time up to 1933. For example, it was France that declared war on Prussia in 1870, not the other way round. And the origins of WWI, well, we know that it is complicated.

Obviously, Neillands never visited Heidelberg, where he could have seen the ruins of the castle, one of the many results of French expansionism. Admittedly, this was in the 17th century, and it is correct that the 1860s/70s wars and WWI did not lead to physical destructions in Germany. This is historically rather unusual, since Germany was the main battleground for the Napoleonic wars and the Thirty Years' War. On the other hand, the population severely suffered during WWI, due to starvation brought about by the British blockade.

Yes of course, WWII prompted a major change in German mentality. The destruction of all major cities was one factor, the others being the expulsion of 15 million Germans from the East, pouring into the destroyed cities in the West, and the Holocaust, whose broad reception in the general population started rather late, but then deeply changed German self-perception. Germany today is very pacifist - many observers from Britain or the US would say: too pacifist. I would not count on Germany for any future war, even if it was justified. In doubt, they will keep out and prefer not to get involved. And bombing campaigns against cities, even if alleged to consist in "precision" attacks, are in any case viewed with suspicion.

For those interested in architectural debate in regard to the widespread destruction of cultural monuments during WWII in Germany, the site of the Neues Museum in Berlin may be of interest:

»Neues Museum - Dokumentation der ergänzenden Wiederherstellung«
Don't miss "Treppenhalle" and "Apollosaal" in Ebene 2!

The pictures shown depict the state of the building AFTER the reconstruction (2009) of the building, which was of course severely damaged during WWII. The architect tried not to restore the original appearance, but to preserve the damage. This architect was of course - a Brit...!

Solidaire February 15th, 2012 02:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grimald (Post 936690)
Thanks for the post, I agree with most of it. I also understand that my main concern today is pure luxury, and that people then had other problems. Today, we know that the war in Europe ended in May 1945, but the people in 1943, or even February 1945, didn't know that. So their concern was winning the war, and not conserving art works.

Most people in Germany are anyway not interested in the architecture of their cities, it is only a minority. And there are still many small cities which were spared, reflecting the heritage of the larger cities in the same region. Often, there are pairs of sister cities, with the big one destroyed, but the small one intact, e.g. Frankfurt am Main and Limburg an der Lahn. Many historic buildings were also destroyed after the war and not by the bombing itself, due to ideological city planning. I also don't want to appear wallowing in self-pity - I am well aware that there was also major destruction in other European countries.

You're welcome, and let me stress again that I share your concern about cultural heritage and aesthetic beauty. I am mesmerised by medieval towns, and you can imagine my sorrow for their destruction.

Also, as a resident of Athens, I feel a stab in the heart every time I gaze at the half-crumbled Acropolis and the destruction the Venetian bombshell and the Ottoman powder wreaked upon it, especially on the Parthenon. Humanity laments losses, even centuries after a given war. :sad2:

redcoat February 15th, 2012 02:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beorna (Post 937241)

Ah, this one, which you completely forgot after 1945.

What :weird:
You mean we killed nearly 6 million German's after the war, around 3 million of them merely because they were a different religion to us :evil:

irishcrusader95 February 15th, 2012 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grimald (Post 937282)
As you may imagine, I would also like to challenge Neillands' view that Germany was more aggressive or militaristic than its neighbors, except for the years 1933-45. I don't claim innocence or victimhood for Prussia and Germany, I just don't see anything out of the ordinary in the time up to 1933. For example, it was France that declared war on Prussia in 1870, not the other way round. And the origins of WWI, well, we know that it is complicated.

Obviously, Neillands never visited Heidelberg, where he could have seen the ruins of the castle, one of the many results of French expansionism. Admittedly, this was in the 17th century, and it is correct that the 1860s/70s wars and WWI did not lead to physical destructions in Germany. This is historically rather unusual, since Germany was the main battleground for the Napoleonic wars and the Thirty Years' War. On the other hand, the population severely suffered during WWI, due to starvation brought about by the British blockade.

Yes of course, WWII prompted a major change in German mentality. The destruction of all major cities was one factor, the others being the expulsion of 15 million Germans from the East, pouring into the destroyed cities in the West, and the Holocaust, whose broad reception in the general population started rather late, but then deeply changed German self-perception. Germany today is very pacifist - many observers from Britain or the US would say: too pacifist. I would not count on Germany for any future war, even if it was justified. In doubt, they will keep out and prefer not to get involved. And bombing campaigns against cities, even if alleged to consist in "precision" attacks, are in any case viewed with suspicion.

For those interested in architectural debate in regard to the widespread destruction of cultural monuments during WWII in Germany, the site of the Neues Museum in Berlin may be of interest:

»Neues Museum - Dokumentation der ergänzenden Wiederherstellung«
Don't miss "Treppenhalle" and "Apollosaal" in Ebene 2!

The pictures shown depict the state of the building AFTER the reconstruction (2009) of the building, which was of course severely damaged during WWII. The architect tried not to restore the original appearance, but to preserve the damage. This architect was of course - a Brit...!

great post, i was going to jump in myself on the question of german responsibility for 1914 and show that the responsibility gos to everyone but you've covered most of that.

Grimald February 15th, 2012 02:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Solidaire (Post 937294)
You're welcome, and let me stress again that I share your concern about cultural heritage and aesthetic beauty. I am mesmerised by medieval towns, and you can imagine my sorrow for their destruction.

Also, as a resident of Athens, I feel a stab in the heart every time I gaze at the half-crumbled Acropolis and the destruction the Venetian bombshell and the Ottoman powder wreaked upon it, especially on the Parthenon. Humanity laments losses, even centuries after a given war. :sad2:

Taking into account that the Parthenon survived more or less undamaged for over 2000 years, it is really a pity that it was destroyed so recently, by such a stupid act. Today we ask: how can you use such a building for the storage of ammunition? But this is anachronistic thinking. In Central Europe, many castles were torn down well into the 19th century, just because people needed the stones for new buildings. In that sense, we are all children of romanticism, with its rediscovery of history and the built environment.


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