This thread has drifted off into a lot of pointless speculation about whether the bunch of psychotic cut-throats whom the German people allowed to run their country through the Thirties and early Forties could have run things better if they if had been sensible, logical, well adjusted people instead of..erm .. ah...oh yes... umm... I see what you mean.
Meanwhile, back at the plot, various perceptive posters have weighed in against the preposterous initial thread premise that the Allies were engaged in a war of aerial genocide whilst the Nice Nazis never targeted the civilian population. If they ever did, it was only because they, the victims, were too stupid to get out of the way whilst the Wehrmacht had a nice clean battle in their homes in Rotterdam, Warsaw etc.
The first bombing attack by Germany on British soil took place against a highly strategic vegetable patch on Christmas Eve morning 1914 on the outskirts of Dover when Leutnant Karl Caspar in a Friedrichshafen FF29 wounded Mr Tommy Terson whilst he was cutting holly. Mr Terson was luckier than the three Parisian citizens killed when Germany set the city-bombing business in motion in August 1914. Germany also attacked Antwerp with Zeppelin-dropped bombs in August, and early in January 1915 killed several people in villages in East Anglia. Throughout the rest of the war, Zeppelins and later the Gotha and Giant bombers dropped high explosive all over London and other British cities, as well as the Brandbomben. Yes, the incendiary for city destruction was another German invention, further developed as the Elektron. The bombers alone dropped 105,000kg on British soil and killed 836 and wounded 1,965 in World War I. See First Blitz by Neil Hanson for more detail. No wonder Stanley Baldwin was horrified by the prospect of aerial bombing. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Baldwin
- take note of the words of his “The bomber will always get through” speech and see later how Nazi propaganda twists his words to distort the truth.
As well informed posters have observed, Nazi Germany was very keen on the idea of strategic bombing in the 1930s but when Wever was killed, the man with the vision was gone, thank goodness, and Goering just kept Hitler happy with large numbers. Just like the early toothless Panzerkampfwagens, small bombers were cheaper, and could be built in larger numbers and could still reach Paris or Warsaw as required. The Ju89 and Do 19 four engine types were not pursued after 1936 and the new Bomber A specification had (bizarrely) to be capable of dive bombing so needed low drag (only two engines). The He 177, when it arrived, tried to jam four engines into two nacelles and the result was prone to self immolation, performed poorly and took forever to get into service. The development programme for a proper strategic bomber had been strangled at birth.
Dr Robert Knauss had given a major study to Erhard Milch, State Secretary in the German Air Ministry, as early as May 1933, recommending a fleet of 400 four-engine bombers to act as a deterrent and threaten France, Czechoslovakia and Poland. The fear of such a force would allow Nazi Germany to rearm her other services without intervention. However Milch spent most of the Thirties fighting with successive Luftwaffe Chiefs of Staff Kesselring, Stumff and Jeschonnek and other ex-Reichwehr officers , all obsessed with Army co-operation, under the disorganised, non-technical comic-opera star Goering, (see para one above). Knauss went on to become the Head of the Air War College in Gatow from whence a coherent plan for strategic bombing was made, but Nazi inefficiency brought it to nothing. Knauss believed that the totalitarian Nazi state would obviously withstand terror bombing better than effete democracies. See The Luftwaffe by Williamson Murray.
Nazi Germany got its first taste of terror bombing on the 10th of May 1940 when bombs rained down on the undefended town of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, killing 57 including 22 young children, and German propaganda was still citing this as the start of the murderous Allied assault on civilians in 1942 and 1943. See http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/cologne.htm
for the scurrilous Nazi propaganda which some may find difficult to differentiate from some posts in this very thread. Except of course, as David Irving describes in The Destruction of Dresden, it was lost Luftwaffe bombers that had done the killing as Goebbels and his professional liars had known all along from the bomb fragments. Incidentally, this is the Irving of the Sixties, writing a reasonably well balanced book, with a foreword by Harris’ deputy, Saundby, a troubled man convinced he had helped in the greatest feat of concentrated killing yet perpetrated by humankind. This is the same Irving who compares the agony of the Dresden victims with that of the Extermination Camp inmates and lays the blame for Germany’s suffering squarely at the Fuhrer’s feet. It is not the Holocaust denier Irving, of our latter times, who has spent too much time with old (and new ) Nazis, has had his mind twisted by their evil poisonings and has eventually been forced to concede that a much lower death total for Dresden is likely.
As Tommy 303 has pertinently pointed out, Nazi Germany had switched to remote-controlled urban attack with the Fi 103, first flight in mid 1942, later known as the Doodlebug, and the more sophisticated, unstoppable ballistic missile, the A4, later known as V2. Neither had any ability to differentiate between military or civilian targets.
American views on the RAF’s area-bombing campaign had been critical at the time and have been so since, partly from a moral stance, and partly on an overestimate of their ability to accurately hit military targets in built-up areas. “Edificated areas”, as British studies called them, reveal the real intent of the campaign, not necessarily to kill civilians, but to render them homeless and incapable of working effectively in Germany’s war effort. It also has to be said that Americans had never felt the impact of German bombs on their soil, as the British had, nor seen the blood of civilians seeping into it. They didn’t have the thirst for vengeance that drove Harris and his men to both experience and dispense Hell night after night, and perhaps couldn’t understand it until the 11th of September 2001.
It is for responsible posters on sites like this to keep the twisted interpretations of some revisionists at bay and to debunk them ruthlessly.
All the best