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Thread: Suspicious Numbers of German Civilians Killed by Allied Bombing

  1. #101
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Suspicious Numbers of German Civilians Killed by Allied Bombing

    In reality from a purely military perspective they were largely ineffective and the resources used on these missions could be better spent attacking targets that had more military value.
    Define "military value".
    The sad truth about total war (where each nations pits all its ressources on the prosecution of said war), the civilian worker back in the factory becomes the foundation of every victory.
    Without the worker, the military front will collapse in short order due to failing logistics.
    Therefore, crippling the enemy warmaking capability is of prime importance.
    The RAF in 1941 did not have the precision bombing ability nor the strenght to mount a bomber offensive against small targets like a factory complex without causing massive collateral damage.
    Neither was it able to sustain the kind of losses incurred during daylight accompanying such an offensive.
    Remember, the US Airforce had to break off it's long range attacks into germany in 1943 before the P51 was available as a long range escort.
    Therefore, it concentrated on the one link in the chain it could reach, the housings of the factory workers. The main goal was not to kill the worker, but rather to destroy his home to break his morale.
    Did it succeed? Yes and no. It didn't break the workers morale, although the Gestapo became icnreasingly worried about possible revolts after such assaults. At times, they even stopped parts of the holocauts (the famed Rosenstrasse Protests) for fear it might lit the spark of an rebellion.
    But it did put an extreme strain on the german warmachine. Children had to be evacuated, workers were often absent after the bombings to look after their families and their belongings, and a massive buildup in air defenses was necessary.

    After the war, it became clear that no revolt had happened, but during the war it was never clear if a revolt could not happen or what might have been a more usefull application of the bomber ressources.

    IIRC (but I don't remember the book) what really broke the germans back was the attacks in 1944 on their fuel making infrastructure, and Speer remarked that a concetrated offensive on german powerplants would have been equally destructive on their production output.

    The military futility of the bombing should have been even more clear to the Allies looking at the complete failure of the Blitz, yet they had gone even more enthusiastically through the same mistakes.
    The Blitz cleard the channel from british freigth shipping, hit several industrial targets like Coventry and brought the london east end, on which most of the attacks were concentrated, dangerously close to war weariness (before Buckingham Palace was hit), quite the opposite of the often portrayed picture of the plucky, unflappable englishman.
    It probably would have been better for the germans to start mining all the seaports they could reach, but hindsight is always superior to the onthespot decision.

    In reality even if the Allies hadn't reached the same monstrosity of the Nazi death camps at the same time their mindset wasn't so different when they were evaluating the value of harm done to the civilians.
    For the most time, the allies had a military goal in mind when attacking civilians, how again is that the same of letting prisoners of war starve on purpose, engaging in indiscriminate retaliation actions against the civilian population and shooting the inteligentsia of conquered nations?
    Neutral to the teeth.
    'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'
    G.K. Chesterton

  2. #102
    Karabekian's Avatar Aquilifer
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Default Re: Suspicious Numbers of German Civilians Killed by Allied Bombing

    Quote Originally Posted by KEA View Post
    Just take Dresden for example, which was leveled on 13th/14th of February 1945, with no allied or German forces of note around and a point when everyone, save Hitler, knew that the war was over.
    Sorry to jumping in like this, enjoyed the read by other posters.

    But I have to say this, Hitler knew very well that the war was lost. The first time he admitted it was to his Luftwaffe adjutant, von Below sometime in December 1944. This is I think the first (not sure if only) time he spoke out of defeat.

    What followed in 1945 was not a collapse of a leader but the collapse of an entire system. The German people never stood a chance to oppose or change their fate due to the weight of the Nazi state or "the war" and the ties made to it since the First World war. And the Nazis had risen to power because they were willing to succumb to a gamble that would grant them ultimate victory or certain death. The top leaders had always known that their cause was so radical and criminal, if they lost there was no way out. Unfortunately they had very little regard for the people who would either place them on the throne, or let their lives be ruined was it not a success.

    In 1945 each of these leaders were trying to find a way out where none could be seen. Some gasped for a political conclusion, others killed themselves, some ran and hid and the more "brave" fought it out.

    The bombings of Germany were a huge tragedy and from our point of view perhaps unnecessary. But imagine the time they lived in and had to make these decisions!

  3. #103
    Ludicus's Avatar Citizen
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Re: Suspicious Numbers of German Civilians Killed by Allied Bombing

    Quote Originally Posted by Realpolitik View Post
    So apparently half a million German civilians were slaughtered by Allied bombing ...I personally think these are fraudulent numbers, seeing as how they completely leveled entire cities, then firebombed the remains
    Alllow me to rephrase this: "Seeing as how they completely leveled entire cities, then firebombed the remains, the exact number of deaths is almost irrelevant"

    But imagine the time they lived
    Well, yes. The Germans would have done the same kind of atrocities.
    Last edited by Ludicus; November 19, 2013 at 04:22 PM.
    I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.
    Somerset Maugham

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