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Due to palace media’s constant propaganda, Britons are firm in their belief that their country suffered enormously in the blitz and equal to the ruination of Germany.
Yet as late in the war as September 1941, the Economist conceded ‘that only 2% of British real estate had been destroyed by German bombing, and that only a tiny fraction of that amount consisted of industrial sites. Included a note which commented on the furious pace at speculators were buying the bombed sites ‘for a song’.
Though there were no air raids on England in August 1941, the Royal Air Force was in the same year conducting hundred-plane raids on scores of German cities during that same month (articles ‘Teeth for Two’, p19 and ‘Rebuilding England,’ p61 Time magazine September 15 1941.
Churchill was often booed by angry crowds when visiting bombed areas of London. On one occasion, standing on a mound of rubble, he cried out ‘We can take it!’
A cockney lady with the applause of the crowd gathered around her shouted back at him, ‘Yes, but it is us who are taking it, not yourself.’ Winston Churchill and his entourage beat a hasty retreat.
While British assets in the Far East and in Europe, the island of Malta and the British armed forces, especially the Royal Navy, fought a losing battle against Japan and the Reich, the British Eighth Army suffered one retreat after another. Everywhere, the forces of the British Empire were desperate for support.
Unfortunately for the armies of the East and the Eighth Army Britain’s factories and the war effort was being concentrated on the illegal bombing of Germany’s civilian population.
In June 1942, when Britain was militarily at bay on all fronts, the 1,000-bomber raids carried out by the Royal Air Force were enjoying what can only be described as a turkey shoot. Night after night waves of airborne marauders incinerated largely undefended German cities and their civilian populations relatively unimportant in terms of war contribution.
By the end of the war, for every ton of bombs, dropped on Britain by Germany, Anglo-American bombs dropped 315 tons on German cities.
Terror bombing is a phrase introduced into the vocabulary of warfare by Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, a terminological innovation for which the chief of Bomber Command in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War is justly infamous.
The notorious Bomber Harris endowed the concept with body and substance through a series of destructive incendiary air raids on civilian populations in Germany, culminating in the destruction of Dresden. This form of saturation bombing set an example that the U.S. repeated in Japan at Yokohama, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet, GCB, OBE, AFC (13 April 1892 – 5 April 1984), commonly known as “Bomber” Harris by the press and often within the RAF as “Butcher” Harris, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) RAF Bomber Command during the height of the Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign against Germany in the Second World War. World criminal.
Bomber Harris had learnt his craft on the training grounds of Britain’s colonial possessions. As a young squadron leader in the Royal Air Force, he provided a memorable description of an air campaign in Iraq in 1924.
“The Arab and Kurd now know what real bombing means in casualties and damage; they now know that within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured by just four or five machines.”
To maximise the salutary yield of aerial bombing it was essential that casualties should be of sufficient scale to produce ‘a real as opposed to a purely moral effect’
A colleague of Harris in Iraq operations of the 1920s had a rather more benign account of his experiences: “Air control is a marvellous means of bringing these wild mountain tribes to heel. It is swift, economic and humane, as we always drop warning messages some hours before we start to lay eggs on their villages, so that they can clear out. An eastern mind forgets quickly, and if he is not punished for his misdeeds straight away, he has forgotten all about them and feels his punishment is not merited if delayed.’
The Royal Air Force indiscriminately bombed undefended Berlin six times before the Luftwaffe retaliated against London. During World War 2 more bombs by weight were dropped on the city of Berlin than were released on the whole of Great Britain during the entire war.
All German towns and cities above 50,000 populations were from 50% to 80% destroyed. French cities and towns were also levelled and reduced to ashes by the RAF. The great city of Dresden dubbed the Florence of Northern Europe was incinerated with up to 300,000 civilians burned and buried in the ruins. Hamburg was destroyed and 70,000 civilians died in the most appalling circumstances whilst the ancient City of Cologne was turned into a moonscape. The only surviving building was the city’s cathedral. It was saved not because of its spiritual symbolism but because it guided and allowed RAF and U.S. Air Force bombers to blanket bomb the entire city.
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