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Tags war crime charges , winston churchill , World War II history

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Old 12th April 2016, 12:32 PM   #281
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
That's not actually true. Even the planners made distinctions as we have seen from what they themselves said. Why did the Americans begin with precision daytime bombing? I have also read contemporary quotes from Roosevelt who objected to British area bombing. To begin with anyway. I think it is you who is making broad brush assumptions about people in WWII.
Daylight bombing should have been more accurate, early in the war the RAF andthe Germans tried it but losses were so high they switched to night bombing and accepted the loss of accuracy.
When the US joined in they decided to bomb in daylight for several reasons. Daylight missions would mean round the clock bombing putting more strain on German resources and slso there was the posdibility of more precise bombing.
Losses would be higher but it was though large close formations of heavily armed aircraft would be able to defend themselves but initially they were very high. It was the introduction of long range escort fighters that losses came down to sustainable levels, look at the rate of losses.
US aircraft had a 'secret weapon' the Norden Bombsight. an*analog computer*that calculated the bomb's trajectory based on current flight conditions, and flew the sircraft through a linkage to the bomber's*autopilot. Fantastic accuracy was claimed before the war but it wasn't achievable in combat.
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Old 12th April 2016, 12:55 PM   #282
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
I think it is worth noting that whilst Dresden was on the 13th to 15th February 1945, the V rocket bombing of the UK and in particular London was ongoing until the 28th March 1945. On the 8th of March 110 people were killed by one rocket in London. The V rockets had no strategic objective whatsoever, but it still happened. The reality was bombing was about hate, fear and revenge.
That's correct. And it's right to condemn the use of such weapons as they can only achieve indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. I want to retain the moral right to condemn such acts. That's why I oppose the policies embraced by Harris. If I accepted the strategic bombing, the goal of which was to kill civilians, as we have seen, my criticism of the German V Weapons would be less powerful. I would not be able to say: striking at cities with the intention of killing civilian residents is wrong.
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Old 12th April 2016, 01:12 PM   #283
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I have no problem with the Germans use of the V Weapons.
I am sure that if Britain or the US had developed a long range rocket it would have been used in the same way.
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Old 12th April 2016, 01:15 PM   #284
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
I have no problem with the Germans use of the V Weapons.
I am sure that if Britain or the US had developed a long range rocket it would have been used in the same way.
So am I. And its use would have been unjustified. But you think the more people killed the better. It's therefore only fair that you should have no problem with the enemy behaving similarly. Perhaps you can understand now why I take the opposite view, because I do have a problem with V weapons.
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Old 12th April 2016, 04:46 PM   #285
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For those interested in reading source documents, hundreds of pages of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey reports on the European war can be found here. Documents on the Pacific war can be found here.

From those sources comes the following data table for the European theatre.
Code:
Tons of Bombs by Strategic Air Forces Against Target Types
1 June 1943 to 8 May 1945


Target Type                   8th AF          15th AF              RAF
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Industrial areas              69,865  10.3%     5,567   1.8%   441,091  52.5%
Marshalling yards            194,928  28.7%   106,997  34.8%   117,808  14.0%
Oil, chemicals, and rubber    79,292  11.7%    61,058  19.9%   103,063  12.3%
Airfields                     89,241  13.1%    30,668  10.0%    17,076   2.0%
Tactical                      34,766   5.1%    18,160   5.9%    79,098   9.4%
Other Transportation          44,113   6.5%    35,208  11.5%    11,290   1.3%
Naval                         24,228   3.6%    11,401   3.7%    29,290   3.5%
Aircraft factories            26,479   3.9%    15,198   4.9%     3,763   0.4%
Heavy industry and armament   25,550   3.8%     7,189   2.3%     8,617   1.0%
V-weapon launching sites      28,462   4.2%         —   —       10,877   1.3%
Other manufacturing           13,711   2.0%     5,656   1.8%     6,631   0.8%
Unidentified                  48,757   7.2%    10,224   3.3%    11,525   1.4%
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL                        679,392          307,326          840,129
The target types were defined as follows.

Industrial areas: cities, towns, and urban areas; public utilities (electric light and power companies, gas companies, water companies, telephone companies); government buildings.
Marshalling yards: rail installations, tracks, marshalling yards and stations.
Oil, chemicals, and rubber: explosives manufacturing plants; chemical plants; rubber and tire-manufacturing facilities; natural rubber manufacturing; synthetic rubber manufacturing; oil refineries; natural oil refineries; synthetic oil refineries; oil storage facilities and other oil installations.
Airfields: airfields and airdromes.
Tactical: tactical targets; troop concentration; gun emplacements; supply dumps and warehouses; radio and radar installations; direct cooperation with ground forces.
Other transportation: transportation facilities; bridges; tunnels; moving trains and rolling stocks; highways and vehicles; waterways and boats.
Naval: naval installations; ports and harbors; submarine pens and yards; ships; tugs, barges, and sampans; ship building.
Aircraft factories: aircraft factories and assembly plants; propellor plants; engine plants; airframe plants; aircraft component plants; V-weapon sites.
Heavy industry and armaments: armament and ordnance plants; tank factories; vehicle manufacturing plants; iron and steel production facilities (blast furnaces, boiler shops, forges, foundries, steel works, rolling mills); railroad manufacturing works and roundhouses.
V-weapon launching sites: V-weapon launching sites.
Other manufacturing: manufacturing installations; machinery and equipment plants; abrasives; bearing manufacturing plants; electrical products manufacturing plants; machine tools manufacturing plants; optical products manufacturing plants; precision instruments manufacturing plants.
Unidentified targets: unidentified targets.
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Old 12th April 2016, 04:57 PM   #286
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
When the US joined in they decided to bomb in daylight for several reasons. Daylight missions would mean round the clock bombing putting more strain on German resources and slso there was the posdibility of more precise bombing.

The U.S. bombed by daylight in dense formations because that's how they were trained and the force organized. Early on in the daylight effort, when losses were heavy, the British suggested the USAAF abandon daylight bombing and switch to nighttime work, but the U.S. declined precisely because at that point changing the training and organization system of the USAAF would have been too difficult and taken too long.

Interestingly, when daytime air superiority had been achieved by the Allies, and the RAF still experienced some heavy losses at night, the U.S. suggested the British abandon nighttime bombing and fly by day. The RAF declined to switch over, though it did fly some daylight bombing missions. This proved somewhat problematic in that Bomber Command pilots flew individually and were not trained at all in the tight formation flying the USAAF used; after some experimentation a loose 'gaggle' formation was adopted for Bomber Command daytime missions.


Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
US aircraft had a 'secret weapon' the Norden Bombsight. an*analog computer*that calculated the bomb's trajectory based on current flight conditions, and flew the sircraft through a linkage to the bomber's*autopilot. Fantastic accuracy was claimed before the war but it wasn't achievable in combat.

Much of the problem was the weather. The Norden worked great over the mostly clear skies of the U.S. southwest. Over Europe, however, the skies were often cloudy, and the Norden for best accuracy required a minutes-long run in with the aiming point clearly visible and unobstructed. If clouds rolled in at any point during the run in, it spoiled any chances for an accurate drop.
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Old 12th April 2016, 07:58 PM   #287
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
So am I. And its use would have been unjustified. But you think the more people killed the better. It's therefore only fair that you should have no problem with the enemy behaving similarly. Perhaps you can understand now why I take the opposite view, because I do have a problem with V weapons.
There's two parts to traditional 'Just War' theory:

- Just Cause [for declaring war]
- Just Conduct [actions during the war]

You seem focused on the Just Conduct, to the exclusion of recognizing that there was Just Cause on the Allied side and that does morally differentiate them from the Axis.
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Old 12th April 2016, 09:06 PM   #288
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
1.) Corsair appears to be biting the bullet on this by saying that yes, civilians were indeed the intended target and that killing as many of them as possible insofar as it hindered the German war effort, was desirable.

Again, it depends on what you mean by "civilians as the intended target".

My position is that bombing the built-up areas of a city at night is that the destruction caused is a drain on the economy of the enemy, and while not as directly impactful as, say, targeting a munitions works, such damage nonetheless has a detrimental effect. Moreover, there is the nature of the reaction of the enemy to such attacks, which can cause it siphon away military assets from where they might have been put to better use. (See again the huge number of very capable artillery pieces produced by Germany which were pointed skywards rather than at Allied tanks and troops.)

Industrialized war is a dirty, awful business, and arguably the most moral thing to do is get it over with as fast as possible. To that end any damage done to the enemy's infrastructure and industrial capacity works toward that goal.

I think there is a lack of appreciation for the nature of cities in the 1940s as compared to today. At the centre of practically every place was a railway station, and railways were the way resources, goods, and people moved. (This is quite unlike today, where trucks are the method by which many resources and goods are moved.) I think too there is a lack of appreciation for just how complex, even in the 1940s, weapons were, and the vast array of vital subcomponents that were required for military arms.

It isn't just the fighter aircraft itself, it's the many things needed to make it: the aluminum for the wings and airframe; the armoured glass for the cockpit; the electronics for the radio; the rubber for the tires, oxygen mask, and self-sealing fuel tanks; the bearings, crankshaft, spark plugs, cylinders, carburetor, etc., for the engine; the propellor; the coolant for liquid-cooled engines; the radiator; the supercharger/turbosupercharger; the machine tools needed to create the myriad of parts; and a great many other things. Without all those many elements the fighter doesn't fly. (And that's not even taking into consideration the ammunition, fuel, oil for the engine, the pilot's flying suit and equipment, the parachute, and the pilot himself.)


Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
As far as I can see this is also what Bomber Harris called for, and that he really wasn't interested in precision bombing or making the targeting of the military a primary aim.

Harris simply did not believe that targeting specific economic nodes would work. He derided those who advocated such things as 'panacea merchants'. He was firmly wedded to the Douhet theory of air power, and remained so throughout the war. Even when presented with evidence demonstrating his theory wrong he stuck with his views. On this matter he was an ideologue through and through.

As I've stated previously, while Harris was indispensable in forging Bomber Command into a potent, effective weapon, he really should have been replaced in the fall of 1944.


Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
However, may I ask a question about this. Under this scenario would there still be any form of warfare, or any form of bombing of civilians that would be unacceptable?

Just off the top of my head, would it be permissible to target an orphanage with poison gas to kill off children that might assist in making fire breaks in a city, for example?

I generally don't do hypotheticals, as I think what someone says they would do from the comfort of an armchair is quite likely to be different from what they would actually do in the hypothetical situation.

Additionally, I don't find your hypothetical a plausible scenario, so consequently I cannot offer a meaningful response to it.


Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
However, again, are there any types of bombing which could be considered unacceptable? For instance, if there were any towns without armament-producing capacity or strategic position that were nonetheless bombed to perhaps placate Stalin, would this still be acceptable?

There were relatively few such towns; most had some sort of industry which contributed in some way to the war effort. The presence of a railway line through any place could make it of importance even without any sort of industrial capacity.
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Old 12th April 2016, 09:43 PM   #289
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
It was destroyed responding to what the Allies were doing. If they had been doing something else the Luftwaffe would have been destroyed responding to that.

How? You continue to avoid providing any sort of alternative.

I'll point out again the P-51 was vital in winning air superiority over the heart of German (with the development of drop tanks also important); the P-51 as a long-range escort was in direct response to the losses the USAAF suffered on long-range, unescorted missions over Germany. (See the Aug. and Oct. 1943 raids on Schweinfurt.)

If the U.S. doesn't insist on long-range missions to Germany (Berlin, for example, was some 550 miles from the airbases in England), the P-51 doesn't get developed as a long-range fighter. If that doesn't happen, then the gaining of air superiority over Germany doesn't happen by the summer of 1944. If air superiority doesn't happen, then the slamming of German oil and transportation in the summer and fall of 1944 doesn't happen. If German oil and transportation is not hit, then the Luftwaffe isn't starved of fuel, meaning it is stronger than it was historically.

Everything is interconnected; you can't take out one strand of history without unraveling all the others.


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
here that
The turn in the Luftwaffe's fortunes came during Big Week in which the U.S. Eighth Air Force flying from bases in Britain, and Fifteenth Air Force flying from bases in Southern Italy, carried out raids against German aviation industry throughout Europe.
That presumably wasn't carpet bombing of cities for the purpose of killing civilians.

The decline of the Luftwaffe's daytime fighter force is more complex than that. It took many months, and there were several contributing factors:
  • The continued pressure from air raids in the first half of 1944 forced the Luftwaffe to rise to defend Germany; it could hardly sit on the ground and let the bombers go wherever they wanted.
  • The P-51 was available in ever-larger numbers as 1944 went on (and larger drop tanks became available for the P-47), meaning German fighters would more and more frequently face opposition within German airspace
  • There was a significant change in fighter escort tactics in early 1944. Previously, fighters had been ordered to stay close to the bombers and not chase after enemy aircraft; now, American escorts, once finished their assigned leg of escort work, were free to aggressively hunt down German fighters wherever they could find them, and attack targets of opportunity on their way back to base. This meant no German fighter was safe from possible attack.
The above led to a self-reinforcing cycle: the presence of long-range American fighters free chasing over Germany resulted in escalating Luftwaffe losses; this forced training time of new pilots to be cut in order to get replacements into aircraft; these less well-trained pilots were easier prey for the well-trained and experienced USAAF aircrews; this resulted in even steeper German pilot losses, forcing training time to be cut even more to make up those losses; and so on, in a downward spiral.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, the strategic attacks on oil targets—especially the synthetic oil plants—starting in the middle of 1944 caused a steep reduction in the amount of aviation fuel available to the Luftwaffe. This had a severe impact on the amount of training time new pilots could get, which only exacerbated the general decline in training hours.

The Luftwaffe was caught between a hammer and anvil, and consequently as a capable daytime force it was ultimately broken.

(By night it was a different story; while German night-fighters were negatively impacted by the steady advancement of Allied ground forces across Europe, which heavily cut into the early radar detection of Bomber Command raids, they could still on occasion offer effective resistance. Intruder missions certainly contributed to night-fighter losses, but the German nighttime fighter force couldn't be swept from the sky the same way the daytime fighter force had. Fighting at night was an entirely different animal.)
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Old 13th April 2016, 02:11 AM   #290
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As for armament factories.
Most components for tanks and aircraft were produced by sub contractors in small factories scattered across towns and cities away from the main plant.
In the town where I live is a small foundry. In the war it had contracts to produce track shoes for Cromwell Tanks and castings for hatch hinges and the brakes. Its main product is steel valve bodies for industrial olant. There was a clothing factory now closed that was producing various garments for the RAF. In the village where I grew up there were 4 Ironstone mines, one of them right on the village. It is also on a junction of 3 branch lines converging from other mines and also a junction of the coast line from Teesside down to Scarborough and the Cleveland Railway looping round from Guisborough and the Esk Valley. It was bombed a number of times.
Across the valley is another village it had several mines and a factory producing automotive gaskets (still there) it was a sub contractor for Vauxhall that produced tanks and trucks. It was also bombed and one struck the watermill building about a mile from the village in the middle of the night. It demolished the mill part of the building but the accommodation rnd survived and is still a house today.
In a lot of towns there wasn't the zoning we see today. Industry and residential are mixed in older parts of town.
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Old 13th April 2016, 03:15 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
There's two parts to traditional 'Just War' theory:

- Just Cause [for declaring war]
- Just Conduct [actions during the war]

You seem focused on the Just Conduct, to the exclusion of recognizing that there was Just Cause on the Allied side and that does morally differentiate them from the Axis.
We are entitled to expect Just Conduct from belligerents with a Just Cause. Of course the Allies were morally differentiated from the Nazis; the Nazis committed more serious crimes, and crimes of types that the Allies never contemplated.

But that is not relevant to my argument: that the Allies were intentionally targeting civilians - not simply as a byproduct of attempts to destroy war industries and other such targets; and that there is insufficient evidence that this strategy was the best use that could be made of the resources available to the Allied governments.

We can not say: the enemy is worse than we are, so we can do anything we like. If that were reasonable then any act whatsoever could be justified in war. That, however, is essentially the position adopted by the Nazis, and it is not to be imitated by democratic states.
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Old 13th April 2016, 08:25 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That's correct. And it's right to condemn the use of such weapons as they can only achieve indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. I want to retain the moral right to condemn such acts. That's why I oppose the policies embraced by Harris. If I accepted the strategic bombing, the goal of which was to kill civilians, as we have seen, my criticism of the German V Weapons would be less powerful. I would not be able to say: striking at cities with the intention of killing civilian residents is wrong.
The killing of civilians has to be taken into context. In the 1930s factories and housing went together as workers had to live next to where they worked. There were also numerous, smaller factories then than there are now. Destroying factories and killing those who worked there was the aim.

The V rockets could not be targeted at all, but with bombing raids at least an attempt could be made. That makes for a big difference.
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Old 13th April 2016, 08:29 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
I have no problem with the Germans use of the V Weapons.
I am sure that if Britain or the US had developed a long range rocket it would have been used in the same way.
Churchill had his doubts about the bombing due to a lack of targeting accuracy. The V rockets had little targeting and no accuracy at all. I am not so sure.
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Old 13th April 2016, 08:34 AM   #294
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@Craig B
Bingo. And that's precisely my problem. Everyone who was ever sent to war was told that their cause is righteous, and that the enemy is worse. No army was ever sent to war with a speech to the effect of "meh, we're just a bunch of dicks attacking some guys who really didn't deserve it, but let's do it because we can."

The nazis had PLENTY of such rationalizations, for example. In the famous 1943 speech Goebbels for example assured Germany that the struggle in the east was about no less than preventing Europe from falling to Bolshevism. That no less than two thousand years of western civilization is bound to fall if Germany doesn't stop Bolshevism there and then. Etc.

It all is presented as a more than just war.

It's also presented -- again and again -- as a DEFENSIVE war.

If one concedes the idea that any atrocity is permitted if your war is just, then we might as well just concede that any atrocity is permitted PERIOD. Because there's no way to prosecute anyone then. They ALL thought they're fighting a just war. The nazis included. And you can't base a prosecution on requiring omniscience.
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Old 13th April 2016, 08:54 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
.

If one concedes the idea that any atrocity is permitted if your war is just, then we might as well just concede that any atrocity is permitted PERIOD. Because there's no way to prosecute anyone then. They ALL thought they're fighting a just war. The nazis included. And you can't base a prosecution on requiring omniscience.
Right. Sure. You can't tell the difference between the justness of the allied and Nazi war aims unless you are omniscient.
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Old 13th April 2016, 09:34 AM   #296
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Fighting Germany wasn't only Just, it was a matter of national survival. To lise would have meant the total destruction of the UK as a seperate State and total subjegation as a slave of Germany.
There was no choice other than to win at all costs.
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Old 13th April 2016, 09:42 AM   #297
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Right. Sure. You can't tell the difference between the justness of the allied and Nazi war aims unless you are omniscient.
Are you saying that the guy in the trenches actually had all the relevant info?
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Old 13th April 2016, 09:47 AM   #298
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Are you saying that the guy in the trenches actually had all the relevant info?
What info do you need apart from the knowledge that Germany was determined to subjegate all of Europe and was sat across the Channel having all but comoleted the task.
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Old 13th April 2016, 09:50 AM   #299
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
As for armament factories.
Most components for tanks and aircraft were produced by sub contractors in small factories scattered across towns and cities away from the main plant.
In the town where I live is a small foundry. In the war it had contracts to produce track shoes for Cromwell Tanks and castings for hatch hinges and the brakes. Its main product is steel valve bodies for industrial olant. There was a clothing factory now closed that was producing various garments for the RAF. In the village where I grew up there were 4 Ironstone mines, one of them right on the village. It is also on a junction of 3 branch lines converging from other mines and also a junction of the coast line from Teesside down to Scarborough and the Cleveland Railway looping round from Guisborough and the Esk Valley. It was bombed a number of times.
Across the valley is another village it had several mines and a factory producing automotive gaskets (still there) it was a sub contractor for Vauxhall that produced tanks and trucks. It was also bombed and one struck the watermill building about a mile from the village in the middle of the night. It demolished the mill part of the building but the accommodation rnd survived and is still a house today.
In a lot of towns there wasn't the zoning we see today. Industry and residential are mixed in older parts of town.

Precisely. This illustrates the industrial nature of the war, an aspect which I think certain posters are either discounting or ignoring. I suspect they are viewing WW2 and the industrial environment through the lens of today's world, which is quite different from what it was back then. E.g. railways were the key transportation system then, as opposed to trucks and 'just-in-time' delivery procedures today; coal as the fuel for trains, electrical generating plants, and many industrial processes (including the synthetic oil plants), etc.
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Old 13th April 2016, 09:51 AM   #300
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Fighting Germany wasn't only Just, it was a matter of national survival. To lise would have meant the total destruction of the UK as a seperate State and total subjegation as a slave of Germany.
There was no choice other than to win at all costs.
Sure, but the Nazis told the same thing to their soldiers and citizens. Just read the Goebbels speech I mentioned. You know, the 1943 one. The total war one. Not only was the survival of Germany at stake, according to Goebbels, but verily the whole survival of the western European civilization. Hell, he actually claimed to be protecting even the UK and America and all, who just don't realize that they too will fall to Bolshevism if Germany fails to stop it.

And I should mention that he didn't mean falling to Bolshevism as in just, you know, OMG, we'll be communists, but he really paints a bleak image where the whole western civilization and culture will be erased altogether, all intellectuals elliminated, and everyone turned into literal slaves of the Jewish Communists.

Surely fighting to prevent that must have sounded like the mother of all just wars, right?

(Edit: So, yeah, to answer your other question, THAT was what the people were told they're fighting for. They weren't told, "we just want to conquer the oil fields in Russia.")

And basically that's why I have a problem with the idea that any atrocity is OK if you're fighting that kind of uber-just war. Because the nazis too were told that they're fighting that kind of war for the very survival -- again, not just of the state as an entity, but of the whole western civilization -- and so was every army ever.

If you give people the idea that it's OK to commit any atrocities in a just war, and then sure enough they'll be told they're fighting a super-just war, it doesn't take much imagination to connect those dots.
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Old 13th April 2016, 09:54 AM   #301
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I'm going to state this again, because it's an aspect that neither Craig nor Hans have really addressed.

Who was it who worked in the armaments factories building the ships, tanks, artillery, rifles, bullets, bombs, torpedoes, submarines, and aircraft? The civilian. Who was it who worked in the steel mills producing the steel to make all those weapons? The civilian. Who was it who grew the food that fed the military? The civilian. Who was it who mined the coal which powered the railways and factories? The civilian. Who was it who ran the trains which moved the raw resources to the factories, and the end products from the factories to the military? The civilian. Who was it who worked in the chemical factories, electrical plants, oil refineries, electronics manufacturers, and the multitude of factories large and small which built the myriad of vital subcomponents without which military arms could not function? The civilian. From whose ranks were replacement soldiers, sailors, submariners, and airmen drawn? The civilian.

The civilian was absolutely indispensable to the war effort. No civilians, no economy; no economy, no military; no military, no war.

Given the above, how can area bombing be definitely ruled out as a strategy? Especially considering such area bombing caused general economic disruption, indirectly impacted the German war effort, and the noteworthy effects which resulted from the German reaction to both nighttime and daylight bombing?
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Old 13th April 2016, 10:06 AM   #302
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Sure, but the Nazis told the same thing to their soldiers and citizens. Just read the Goebbels speech I mentioned. You know, the 1943 one. The total war one. Not only was the survival of Germany at stake, according to Goebbels, but verily the whole survival of the western European civilization. Hell, he actually claimed to be protecting even the UK and America and all, who just don't realize that they too will fall to Bolshevism if Germany fails to stop it......
That was because in 1943 cracks were appearing in the Nazi plan and their domination and total victory far from likely. He knew offensive was turning to defensive.
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Old 13th April 2016, 10:16 AM   #303
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
I'm going to state this again, because it's an aspect that neither Craig nor Hans have really addressed.

Who was it who worked in the armaments factories building the ships, tanks, artillery, rifles, bullets, bombs, torpedoes, submarines, and aircraft? The civilian. Who was it who worked in the steel mills producing the steel to make all those weapons? The civilian. Who was it who grew the food that fed the military? The civilian. Who was it who mined the coal which powered the railways and factories? The civilian. Who was it who ran the trains which moved the raw resources to the factories, and the end products from the factories to the military? The civilian. Who was it who worked in the chemical factories, electrical plants, oil refineries, electronics manufacturers, and the multitude of factories large and small which built the myriad of vital subcomponents without which military arms could not function? The civilian. From whose ranks were replacement soldiers, sailors, submariners, and airmen drawn? The civilian.

The civilian was absolutely indispensable to the war effort. No civilians, no economy; no economy, no military; no military, no war.

Given the above, how can area bombing be definitely ruled out as a strategy? Especially considering such area bombing caused general economic disruption, indirectly impacted the German war effort, and the noteworthy effects which resulted from the German reaction to both nighttime and daylight bombing?
Indeed, it's difficult to picture now that wars are remote and self contained. In WW2 the entire national economy of the UK and Germany was on a war footing. Every factory, mine, shipyard, farm snd industry was part of the war effort. Every citizen was part of the war effort. Those that wouldn't be part were locked up in jail.
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Old 13th April 2016, 10:25 AM   #304
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Apologies if this came up before, but my understanding is that the US bombing efforts against Japan were largely ineffective until they included area bombing.

To me, that implies that the sort of precision strikes carried out today were just not feasible at the time, regardless of the intention behind the raid.
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Old 13th April 2016, 12:25 PM   #305
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
I'm going to state this again, because it's an aspect that neither Craig nor Hans have really addressed. < snip>

No civilians, no economy; no economy, no military; no military, no war.
Nobody can argue with that equation! But let's leave genocide to the Nazis, eh?
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Old 13th April 2016, 01:33 PM   #306
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Nobody can argue with that equation! But let's leave genocide to the Nazis, eh?
What is the moral difference between bombing a German (ex)civilian who had been drafted into the army, and a German civilian who had been assigned to work in a munitions factory?

Is bombing the draftee virtuous and bombing the munitions worker villainous?
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Old 13th April 2016, 01:43 PM   #307
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
What is the moral difference between bombing a German (ex)civilian who had been drafted into the army, and a German civilian who had been assigned to work in a munitions factory?

Is bombing the draftee virtuous and bombing the munitions worker villainous?
You're not into any of this stuff then? Back to Genghis Khan, eh?
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Old 13th April 2016, 01:53 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
... Destroying factories and killing those who worked there was the aim.
No. Here is the aim, clearly stated by Sir Arthur Harris, who was in charge of the bombing campaign. I have cited it before, but you haven't seen it. Here it is again.
the aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive...should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.

... the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.
My bold.
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Old 13th April 2016, 02:07 PM   #309
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Yes, they were aimed at trying to destroy the ability of Germany to wage war by destroying cities and factories and killing workers.

Given the knowledge available to the Allies and the situation at the time, it was reasonable, to say nothing of the requirement to keep Russia in the war.
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Old 13th April 2016, 02:19 PM   #310
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The prospect of a German victory in WW2 brings to mind the Orwell quote from 1984

If you want a vision of the future,*imagine a boot stamping*on a human face - forever
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Old 13th April 2016, 02:26 PM   #311
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Originally Posted by John Nowak View Post
Apologies if this came up before, but my understanding is that the US bombing efforts against Japan were largely ineffective until they included area bombing.

The U.S. tried to follow the same approach over Japan as it had used over Germany, but operational issues (specifically, the jet stream winds and the B-29s operating near the limit of their endurance) and the generally more dispersed nature of Japanese industry worked against it.

Results were poor until LeMay took the bold step to radically change tactics—he ordered the B-29s stripped of their defensive armament so they could carry a heavier bomb load and had them fly in at low altitude at night. The bomber crews thought the idea was nuts. It could have been a disaster. But as it happened the Japanese weren't ready for it (and their aerial night-fighting capabilities were poor in any case).
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Old 13th April 2016, 02:30 PM   #312
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
The prospect of a German victory in WW2 brings to mind the Orwell quote from 1984

If you want a vision of the future,*imagine a boot stamping*on a human face - forever
Problem is, some high-minded idealists appear to be willing 'to let the perfect be the enemy of the good'.


Craig, 57,000 Scots died in WW2. The vast majority were not career military (they were drafted civilians, or merchant navy, or etc etc). How many more Scottish civilians should have been sacrificed so that German civilians were spared? How would a democratic government stay in power if it, in a war of survival, prioritized enemy citizens over its own?
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Old 13th April 2016, 02:30 PM   #313
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Yes, they were aimed at trying to destroy the ability of Germany to wage war by destroying cities and factories and killing workers.
No. They were doing this.
the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.
Factories are mentioned only to deny that they are a specific target. The target is civilian morale and social cohesion. Thus, populations are targeted, to inspire terror. If factories are hit in the cities to be destroyed, that is incidental. That is the policy I find not merely immoral, but unsound.

Many posters here are attributing a rationality to the bombing campaign which was not there. If the concentration had been on factories, that would have been a different policy, which in my opinion would have been more reasonable. Because it would have been more effective. Harris's intended breakdown of society simply didn't occur. The policy didn't work as planned. Of course it did in practice destroy factories, but according to Harris that was not its primary purpose. The factories were "collateral damage". Civilians were the prime target.
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Old 13th April 2016, 02:33 PM   #314
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Nobody can argue with that equation! But let's leave genocide to the Nazis, eh?

That you cannot argue against my statement rationally, and instead invoke emotion-laden terms that do not fit at all with what I stated, pretty much says it all I think.
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Old 13th April 2016, 02:55 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
No. They were doing this.
the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.

And you continue to ignore the economic ramifications from the destruction of homes, public utilities, and transport causes. You continue to ignore the distorting effect on the German war effort caused by the Reich's reactions to the bombing offensive.


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Factories are mentioned only to deny that they are a specific target. The target is civilian morale and social cohesion. Thus, populations are targeted, to inspire terror. If factories are hit in the cities to be destroyed, that is incidental. That is the policy I find not merely immoral, but unsound.

And you continue to ignore how, if the civilians of Germany had collectively decided to stop their efforts, the war would have literally ground to a halt in short order. The German military could not function without food, fuel, ammunition, weapons, spare parts, and other necessary supplies. All of these were provided by civilian effort. Then there's the replacements for killed or captured soldiers, sailors, and airmen, which were drawn from the civilian population.

(I am more convinced than ever that Craig's perspective is one trapped in the early 21st century and the economic, industrial, and military conditions which exist today, and is unwilling or unable to understand how very different those things were seventy-plus years ago.)


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Many posters here are attributing a rationality to the bombing campaign which was not there. If the concentration had been on factories, that would have been a different policy, which in my opinion would have been more reasonable.

How many times must I cite the accuracy figures for bombing of the time before you begin properly appreciating the figures? Perhaps you can explain how Bomber Command at night (and the USAAF in cloudy weather during the day) finds a specific factory complex. If you can't explain how, then why should your protestations be given any credence whatsoever as compared to those who were there at the time and had the responsibility for planning and carrying out the operations?


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Harris's intended breakdown of society simply didn't occur. The policy didn't work as planned.

No, it didn't. It might have, however, if another half-dozen or so German cities had gone the way of Hamburg after that's city's devastation in July 1943, as testimony from Speer and other Reich officials made clear. But achieving that was beyond Bomber Command's means.


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Of course it did in practice destroy factories, but according to Harris that was not its primary purpose. The factories were "collateral damage". Civilians were the prime target.

Acres of destruction was the target, and Harris' favourite measure of a raid's success. Did Harris have sympathy for German civilians? No. He was rather Biblical when it came to that (as far as Harris was concerned, the Germans had sowed the wind, and would now reap the whirlwind).
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Old 13th April 2016, 03:26 PM   #316
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Quote:
Acres of destruction was the target, and Harris' favourite measure of a raid's success. Did Harris have sympathy for German civilians? No. He was rather Biblical when it came to that (as far as Harris was concerned, the Germans had sowed the wind, and would now reap the whirlwind).
Which was pretty much the general view of the population of the UK.

We are talking about entire nations totaly organised for war and hardened by years of total war.
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Old 13th April 2016, 06:23 PM   #317
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
That you cannot argue against my statement rationally, and instead invoke emotion-laden terms that do not fit at all with what I stated, pretty much says it all I think.
I responded exactly to what you stated. and indeed I can't argue against the assertion that if there were no civilians there would be no war.
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Old 13th April 2016, 11:20 PM   #318
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
That was because in 1943 cracks were appearing in the Nazi plan and their domination and total victory far from likely. He knew offensive was turning to defensive.
Presenting it to the population as defensive was nothing new, though. The attack on Poland was also presented as Poland having attacked Germany, and then, as far as the Germans were told, France and the UK had joined in the aggression.
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Old 13th April 2016, 11:28 PM   #319
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
The prospect of a German victory in WW2 brings to mind the Orwell quote from 1984

If you want a vision of the future,*imagine a boot stamping*on a human face - forever
I hope you realize though that pretty much the same arguments that Orwell used, is also the one that the Nazis used. The imagery above is not too far off, for example, from what they proposed would happen if Germany doesn't take out the USSR and Judaism for ever. Hell even the earlier argument about pacifists being deluded enough to support fascism, is pretty much just a different wording for what Goebbels said about the UK and others being deluded enough to oppose fighting Bolshevism. See, he too thought (or at least said) that those deluded pacifists who condemned the war on the USSR will just help Bolshevism destroy western civilization.

Which kinda illustrates the problem with thinking someone is right just because they're good with words and sophistry
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Last edited by HansMustermann; 13th April 2016 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 14th April 2016, 12:26 AM   #320
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I hope you realize though that pretty much the same arguments that Orwell used, is also the one that the Nazis used. The imagery above is not too far off, for example, from what they proposed would happen if Germany doesn't take out the USSR and Judaism for ever. Hell even the earlier argument about pacifists being deluded enough to support fascism, is pretty much just a different wording for what Goebbels said about the UK and others being deluded enough to oppose fighting Bolshevism. See, he too thought (or at least said) that those deluded pacifists who condemned the war on the USSR will just help Bolshevism destroy western civilization.

Which kinda illustrates the problem with thinking someone is right just because they're good with words and sophistry
Its also interesting that Orwell himself had quite a strong antipathy towards Jews. See http://forward.com/culture/160496/wa...n-anti-semite/
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