Skip to comments.Was the Dresden Raid a war crime?
Posted on 02/23/2009 9:50:15 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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“the best any could hope for was the slow death of slave labor camps.”
No, the best any could hope for, and what millions would have given anything to have, wss a quick bullet behind the ear.
You mean you don't know the war crimes the Japs committed in WWII? Then you are talking out of your a** and don't know what you are talking about. Because the Japs and the Germans started the frickin' war they got their just deserts and, yes, the Japanese committed many, many, atrocities, against our troops, the British and the Chinese. What a military commander says when he is old and when he has won, don't really reflect what he actually thinks.
Of course he would have been tried as a War criminal, the Japs thought out troops were criminals for fighting back. When Doolittle made his raid on Tokyo, the Japs killed the pilots that they captured for committing "war crimes" of bombing them in retaliation for Pearl Harbor.
And BTW, you are the clueless one, not DesertRhino.
Wrong again. How exactly do you think the Soviets made it to Poland? They were barely on the outskirts of Poland by december 15th,’44. In June of 44 they attacked germans in Finland and Byelloruss. but were nowhere near They were still confined mostly to the borders of the USSR. Only the western front knocking on the door enabled their final push.
Not to mention 3 years of bombing, steadily increasing in its violence and scale. No, without the western front, the russians would have probably been fought to a stalemate in the east. Auschwitz is in Eastern Poland. It was liberated Jan 27th of 45. The Russians weren’t even close to where you claim. It’s indisputable.
And im still waiting for you to explain how the destroyed cities, with tens of thousands dead, *helped* the German war effort. You must be claiming either that, or that it was completely neutral in its effect. These are both nonsense. Transportion centers were destroyed, factories disrupted, workers killed, increasingly scarce defense assets had to be deployed. Anything that makes their life more difficult, is effective per se’.
The bombing not only hurt ‘em, it had a huge effect on bringing them down. And what was your big Churchill plan? The complaint was that we SLOWED our assault to let the Russians take Berlin.
Besides, my argument was that with no western front, either soviets or nazis were a dead certainty to rule ALL of Europe.
Agreed. The main purpose of bombing Germany and Japan was to end the war. It worked and American and Allied lives were saved. We didn’t start the problem but we finished it.
So what are you saying? That American forces were war crimials? Why are you so hot to see things through the eyes of the Nazis? Goebels would be proud of you.
You need to go watch some 12 O’ Clock high or something.
You seem to have run afoul of my word choice, "undoubtedly." The intended meaning was "there is no doubt that" the Japanese committed war crimes. My bad for choosing my words poorly ... your bad for teeing off like an idiot.
Yup. "Clueless" is a pretty good description for your spittle-tossing rants. Have a nice, twisty-knickered life, bozo.
They were the cancer, we were the good guys.
Our goal wasn’t to gain territory and murder civilians. Ours was to end the horror Germany and Japan was inflicting on the world and upon free peoples. *Thats* the difference, and if your logic is that twisted, i dont think i can help you much with the concept.
If it helps you to look at our 8th air force as morally the same as the SS, go ahead. If when you see a B-29, you see the equivalent of a V-2 or a buzz bomb, then im very sad for you.
Great, and i like your tagline.
Thanks sir, and i especially liked your point about Lemay. Saying tough things later, as the victor, doesn’t always reveal his true reason for his actions. Lots of vets, later say lots of cruel things, for many deeply personal reasons.
Its an ugly business than people deal with in many individual ways.
Lemay was a treasure to this nation. I still have a national geographic magazine article about him. It was complimentary, it was from the era before the revisionists.
Well guys, its been fun, but i’ve got to run. Go paint your Maltese falcon and weep for the Nazis.
Frequent? Can you document that?
And can you be a little more specific on the circumstances? Was it during combat operations while still along the front lines? Or was it after the POWs were processed and well behind the lines?
The Soviet Union finally entered Warsaw (this is the capital of Poland) in January 1945, after it was destroyed and abandoned by the Germans. Over three days, on a broad front incorporating four army fronts, the Red Army began an offensive across the Narew River and from Warsaw. The Soviets outnumbered the Germans on average by five~six to one in troops, six to one in artillery, six to one in tanks and four to one in self-propelled artillery. After four days the Red Army broke out and started moving thirty to forty kilometres a day, taking the Baltic states, Danzig, East Prussia, PoznaÅ, and drawing up on a line sixty kilometres east of Berlin along the Oder River. During the full course of the Vistula-Oder operation (23 days), the Red Army forces sustained 194,000 total casualties (killed, wounded, and missing) and lost 1,267 tanks and assault guns.
Auschwitz, by the way, is in southwest Poland, or it was when I visited it this spring. The map at this link shows its location, although the national borders changed after the end of the war. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp
And you're setting up a false premise: I never said the bombing the cities helped the German war effort. My point is that it had no material effect on the war effort. If having no material effect is the same as helping then an analogy is a tie is really a win.
I graduated from two U.S. military war colleges. We studied things like WW II. To say the eastern front would have stalemated with a western front is absurd after the reversal at Stalingrad. From that point onward the Germans never regained strategic momentum.
“You’re still operating on that old out-dated notion that the Germans started WWII?”
It seems that I don’t have enough of a WWII education to accuse the allies of being just as bad as the NAZIs like some on this thread seem to be doing.
(/s back atcha)
US casualty estimates (for the first invasion alone) were one million. The Japanese casualties, with civilians armed with satchel charges and bamboo pikes added in, not to mention "friendly fire" instances involving the war gases they had stockpiled for the invasion, would have been an order of magnitude higher.
I imagine that issue was being printed and mailed out as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were being hit. Two days after the issue date, Hirohito got on the radio and announced surrender.
No they weren't. On June 6th, 1944, the Russians were still fighting the Germans on Russian territory. The Red Army didn't reach the outskirts of Warsaw until January of 45 and it wasn't until nearly a year after D-Day that they got to East Prussia. (Hitler actually had his military HQ in East Prussia until the end of 1944. He pretty much stayed in Berlin after that.)
The Soviet drive on Berlin didn't come until well after D-Day when Hitler pulled several of his top armored divisions from the Army Group Center to send to France. The Germans expected the Reds to make their big push in the south, but Stalin fooled them and 2.5 million Red Army soldiers poured through stripped German defenses in the center of the front.
Without a second front in France occupying over 1.5 million German troops, The Red Army would have likely broken themselves trying to break through into Germany from the East. The German Army was tough as hell, but the two fronts were more than they could handle especially with air power destroying transportation and communications.
Many like to think that without the Western front, Hitler & Stalin may well have beat each other's brains out. Maybe, but they could also agreed to call it quits and team up again on say the Mideast and South Asia like they teamed up on dividing Poland only 5 years earlier.
There is no predicting what those two butchers would have done given the opportunity.
And the Soviets conveniently stood by while the Germans wiped out the Armia Krajowa. This after the Soviets told the AK to rise up because the Russians would be right there. They stood by for two months, while their main post-war opposition was ripped to pieces.
It kind of is out-date. The Germans AND the Soviets started WWII with the agreement to carve up Poland. The Soviet Union was for all intents and purposes a member of the Axis until Operation Barbarossa.
We were very fortunate that Hirohito wasn’t assassinated before that radio speech. If he had waited another day or two, he may not have made it.
You still are wrong, war college boy. You said that even before D-day, the russians were in Poland and “east prussia”. They werent even close to that on d-day.
And yes, if it had no material effect, you are then arguing precisely *that*. The burden is upon you to prove how all the bombing did not weaken the Germans.
And you dont need to go to war college to read a map with dates. Read one showing our positions when the Russians made it into Poland.
And you are on the nazi side here.
There are too many people who read Pat Buchanan’s apologetic book for the Germans in WWII and take it as gospel.
Amen! I love Pat in some ways, but he is clearly morally crippled by his anti-semitism. It’s sad to see people who don’t realize they are missing the big picture when they start making pro-nazi arguments.
You say, “The Soviets outnumbered the Germans on average by five~six to one in troops, six to one in artillery, six to one in tanks and four to one in self-propelled artillery”.
In your experience at war college,,any idea what the other german forces might have been dealing with right then? Ill clue you in, there were LOTS of dual purpose 88s in the cities shooting at B-17s and B-24s. And a lot of tanks and infantry fighting on the western front.
The germans were weakened by the bombings, even if only to the extent that it pinned down portions of their forces and made movement a little more difficult for them. And the Russians were stuck in Ukraine and Russia on D-day.
Dresden was a successful raid, not a war crime.
In some instances, yes it would be a war crime. Much of the Allied bomber campaign (which had little of the designed effect) can be called that. German Luftwaffe generals were brought up on charges for doing what we did in Japan (terror bombing as a tactic).
The one real lesson for WWII air power was that wide area conventional bombing doesn't work as a strategic arm. The factories moved into shelters, and production increased. We lost way to many men for the damage inflicted. Now bombing with nuclear arms was a different story.
But the difference between that and say, the death camps is huge.
Asserting a false dichotomy on the point on strategic bombing is simplistic. Claiming that if it did not hurt then is must have helped is silly but at this point expected. It's fun to be on Freep and, when logic fails and the facts are against them, some people rely on the personal attack; e.g., “war college boy” and “you are on the side of the nazis”. It's hard not to laugh.
I am so darn sick of this hand wringing self-loathing. It is destroying our civilization. The same Western white guilt is causing many of our problems today - from permitting Islamo fascism to tyrranize us, to voting for an incompetent Black man to run the greatest country this world has ever known, to second guessing how we kill or control our enemies in Iraq, or Gaza, or Guantanamo, etc.
Wars like Iraq cost exponenetially more because we must spare our enemy. And for every life we spare the enemy is less defeated and more emboldened. What might have happened if we did not allow the population to flee Fallujah the first time we attacked? When will we realize that our soldiers lives are worth more than so called “civilians.”
We no longer have the will to survive.
Kurt Vonnegut — I wonder what kind of name that is??
I'll respectfully disagree on where the lines were on June 6. My handy source is Erickson in “The Road to Berlin.”
East Prussia was pretty big - I'm not certain when they finally abandoned the Wolf's Lair but the end of 1944 seems reasonable. I'd have to review to be sure.
Regarding Dresden, here's what Churchill had to say about a month later:
It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land
The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforward be more strictly studied in our own interests than that of the enemy.
The Foreign Secretary has spoken to me on this subject, and I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.
What about factory workers manufacturing arms? Are they fair game? What about trucks and trains that transport supplies? Their distribution hubs? What about farms and farmers that supply food? What about the homes of those workers that built arms? Are they legitimate targets?
This was WWII. The entire country of Germany was at war, and so was ours. There were no bombing targets that were wrong, excepting they were of less value in breaking Germany's ability to produce and will to fight than some other targets.
Murdering civilians in Hiroshima to save soldiers who might otherwise have had to fight was also a war crime. Maybe what some are saying here is that war crimes are sometimes excusable. I dont buy the idea that Japan could not have been easily defeated without use of the A-bomb. One bomb could have been used as a demonstration in an uninhabited site. Then Japan could have been blockaded.
Japan didn't surrender after the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and you actually believe that we should have detonated one in the middle of nowhere as a demonstration? That they could then have been easily defeated? Where are your reasoning skills? Have you studied history at all? Read anything about the Japanese mindset regarding these things? As individuals they were ramming their planes into our ships. As a nation they refused to surrender after the first bomb. And that doesn't tell you anything? You think we should have blockaded them? Would you also recommend some nice glide slope indicator lights on our ships to facilitate Kamikaze night raids?
The fact is, that as usual we were already tired of the war, and wanted to bring the boys home. We cant take a war lasting more than a few months, and that may be prove ultimate undoing.
OK - this statement is the icing on your cake of "I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about". It is true today that some in this country can't take a war of more than a few months, but that was not the case for those who fought WWII. Yes there were those idiots who thought we should stay on the side lines, but once we entered the war we were committed. Our people had not been dumbed down yet by publik schools that don't teach, but propagandize. Our attention spans had not been trashed by television, and we had not yet been convinced that problems are solved between the last commercial and the change of the hour. We didn't consider an animal's "feelings", we slaughtered them and ate them. Trees were for houses, not hugging. And when Axis imperialists attempted to dominate the world, America did what was necessary. It wasn't nice and pretty, it was a brutal ugly mess and lots of people died.
You don't like it? You believe war should be nice and neat and humane? Get ready, because as sure as your brain surgeon is at risk for e-coli there is more war coming. And our enemies will not offer any quarter or mercy. They will not detonate a dirty nuke in Death Valley and then tell us to convert. There will be no brownie points for the prius owners with their cheery little "Coexist!" bumper stickers.
Like it or not, the problem we have now, and the problem we have had for decades IS your mindset. The Chamberlins of this world are who the Hitlers count on to keep the Pattons out of the fight until it is too late. This idea that we can be nice and they will see it our way is garbage. No - they will see it our way when they are utterly defeated, or dead. That is war. And the ONLY way to prevent it is to be completely prepared to wage it that way.
First, you didnt say balkans, you said “Poland and east prussia at the time of D-day”. And as to Churchill, so what? Its all so simple to you; do you think it’s at all *possible* that Churchill was trying to shape the future of post war Europe with some healing remarks, more than he was truly feeling BAD about the way the war was conducted?
And you are still missing my *central point*, if you argue that the bombing effort had no material effect, then you are saying just that. That it did not hinder Germany’s war effort in any meaningful way. You are saying that if the bombing effort had never been made, neither we are they, would have noticed any meaningful difference. You have not proven this in any way. Except to say what school you attended, and to refer to one bombing study which the Strategic Air Command immediately disregarded.
Im still waiting to hear how all the men, fighters, fuel, command talent, supplies, intact cities and factories used in defending against the 8th air force *alone* would have not benefited the Nazis greatly in the fight against the Russians. Only if you argue that this is true, can you say the bombing had no “material effect”.
Amen, i love the “blow one up in the water” thing. They would have laughed. Our obvious lack of will to use on them would have steeled their nerve.
It took TWO on their cities,,and even then they dragged their feet.
Imagine each letter “T” is a B-17 or a B-24 bombing you in Schwienfurt, Dresden, Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin. Repeat many many times, for years,,day and night.
Tell me again how the German war effort wasn’t materially affected?
Thats about 1100,,
As allied troops did to German soldiers. But the fact of the matter is that allied POWs were treated much better at German prison camps than they were at Jap camps.
"... I cannot prophesy. I cannot tell you when or where the United Nations are going to strike next in Europe. ... I cannot tell you whether we are going to hit them in Norway, or through the Low Countries, or in France, or through Sardinia or Sicily, or through the Balkans, or through Polandor at several points simultaneously. But I can tell you that no matter where and when we strike by land, we and the British and the Russians will hit them from the air heavily and relentlessly. . . . "Yes, the Nazis and the Fascists have asked for it, and they are going to get it."
” Or an objective historian definition would be “war crime” “
In “Animal Farm” the objective historians were all pigs.
You sure as hell didn't want to be a German grunt in East Prussia in the Spring of 1945.
“It kind of is out-date. The Germans AND the Soviets started WWII with the agreement to carve up Poland.”
Whatever you say champ, but you miss an awful lot if that’s where you start.
Does Asia count anymore, or is that a “for all intents and purposes” kind of thing too?
Again, Dresden was “poetic justice”...a sort of retribution on a very small, but lethal scale for the horrors the Nazis unleashed upon millions of innocent souls.
The Nazis wouldn’t have benefitted from not having a second front? Explain that. Without having to defend against the Allied forces in North Africa, in Italy, in France and the rest of Western Europe after the D-Day invasion the Nazis would have had all those troops, all that military power at their disposal to direct at the Soviets, and if that had allowed the Germans to develop the A-Bomb, unmolested in the west, they would have devastated the U.S.S.R., along with the v-bombs that they used albeit briefly against the British. Actually, when the Germans allowed Hitler to override his Generals common sense at crucial times regarding military strategy the war was lost for the Nazis.
I agree. I have trouble with the whole concept of "War Crimes", primarily because who is the judge? The victors in a particular war? Some unelected World Court?
Given that, however, using our own criteria--namely the purposeful targeting and destruction of civilian population centers....then yes, Dresden was a war crime.
Does that defend AT ALL, the literally millions of "war crimes" done by the Nazis? Of course not. However, you'd have fewer neo-Nazi types (not that there are that many, really) both in Germany and in the USA, IF we had scrupulously followed our own ethic--and NOT purposely bombed civilian population centers.
My Momma always said, two wrongs don't make a right...
I never once met anyone who seemed to have neo-Nazi tendencies... though the polling I've read about says that around 10% of the German population does--however, everyone I came in contact with were ashamed of the Nazi years, and acknowledged the evils of the Holocaust.
With my friends there though, we had some interesting discussions. These folks are normal people--not neo-Nazi one bit--who were educated in the west--without the communist eastern German propaganda used in Dresden (that it was the evil capitalist Americans who did it...when the USSR demanded that we and the Brits hit Dresden).
His point to me was that the vast majority of Germans were not fanatical Nazis, and by '43 or so were very tired of Hitler, and the trouble he had led them into with WWII.
Germany after all was a dictatorship...you showed any sign of opposition or dissent, then off the concentration camps (or just being shot) with you. The German people had nothing to do with the purposeful bombing of London, or other civilian centers--it was their brutal Nazi masters....
So when the Allies PURPOSELY bombed civilian centers in cities (like Dresden...where the huge military base 5 miles north was pretty well left untouched, along with the railway bridges there....or Berlin, where the Luftwaffe HQ, and Nazi party HQ was untouched...) this really fired up the remaining German soldiers--to continue to fight, even though--by then--they also hated Hitler.
Churchill himself 3 weeks later, after being the man primarily responsible for ordering the bombing, said:
"It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforward be more strictly studied in our own interests than that of the enemy."
25,000 civilians, along with 90% of the city center was destroyed in 2 days of fire-bombing.