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Allied Terror bombing of Germany

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Tomcat, Nov 10, 2014.

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  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    the Allied thought that they made a mistake for letting the Top Germans go "so easily" after WW1. So after WW2 the top Germans would be in court for their crimes.
     
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    At last an interesting question. Thanks for being around Takao, I might give an answer or two in return too.

    A beginning of an answer could be the fact that there are not one but several Geneva conventions.


    The first one dated from 1864 and regarded the wounded.

    Then there was a 1907 which incorporated the use of new weapons (for instance not allowing throwing bombs from Zeppelins), the respect of POWS. It was completely rewritten ( the 1907 conventions used terms like "wish" and was too ambigious ) .

    The 1929 version included the prohibition of combat gasses for example. This is the one that was valid during WW2 , so there were things that were considered "ok" during WW1 that weren't accepted in WW2 .

    "The second treaty was first adopted in the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies at Sea, concluded on July 6, 1906 and specifically addressed members of the Armed Forces at sea.[7] It was continued in the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, concluded on July 27, 1929 and entered into effect on June 19, 1931.[8] Inspired by the wave of humanitarian and pacifistic enthusiasm following World War II and the outrage towards the war crimes disclosed by the Nuremberg Trials, a series of conferences were held in 1949 reaffirming, expanding and updating the prior three Geneva Conventions and adding a new elaborate Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War."



    Finally a even more modern version was written in 1949.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Well, Churchill had no problem breaking the laws but I can understand that...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_weapons_and_the_United_Kingdom

    During World War II the British planned to use mustard gas and phosgene to help repel a German invasion in 1940-1941,and had there been an invasion may have also deployed it against German cities. General Brooke, in command of British anti-invasion preparations of World War II said that he "...had every intention of using sprayed mustard gas on the beaches" in an annotation in his diary.The British manufactured Mustard, chlorine, lewisite, phosgene and Paris Green and stored it at airfields and depots for use on the beaches.

    The Joint Planning Staff (JPS) examined the case of using anthrax bioweapons against six large German cities but only ruled this out on the grounds that the anthrax bombs were not yet available (??)
     
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  4. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    Well if your very own existence and the roots of humanity are in stake I guess you start planning for the unthinkable and even the unacceptable suddenly has a certain attraction!

    The NAZI's were not dropped from alien spaceships and then managed to subjugate the population and imposed their will on the poor innocent population! It was a slow, or maybe not so slow at all, process beginning with the appearence of the NSDAP and speeding up in 1933 when Hitler was elected,well after "Mein Kampf" had been written, and after the writing was on the wall! There was a transformation of a democracy into an absolutist, one party, one leader dictatorship! With out any resistance from the population worth mentioning! Political parties were banned, socialists and communists and every other opponent to the regime were locked away! Each aspect of daily life was willingly put into the hands of the Party! There were no sports clubs anymore, no youth movements no nothing effing anything at all...only the Party!!! All this with the consent and the active help of the vast majority of the population! Then books were burned, jewish shops were ransacked, people were deported and locked up because of their religion and their race! Then there was Guernica, then the war in the west and then the attack on Russia with industrial scale murder of POW's and Jews on the Eastern front! Nobody cared and everybody was happy to give a hand!!!! Then came the "Endlösung" and everybody inbetween Mosel and Vistula knew about it, but nobody opposed......the "Sportpalast"...... and I could keep going on for two hundred pages and more.........

    It was not only freedom at stake, it was the very essence of humanity, the whole world was on the verge of collapsing into total darkness!!!

    So if someone comes along and starts babbling about "Terror bombing", "innocent civilians" and all the apologist crap, I have just one comment „beati pauperes spiritu quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum“
     
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  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Just like the priests say " God is on our side" in war on all sides, we know everybody has the ability to use some or more chemical and bioweapons. Especially today. It just might be that whoever gets to be the first to use them might win if it gets that far...unfortunately. :(
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Doing a little more reading on my WWI query. It appears that strategic bombing, while abhorrent to many, was seen as having a good bit of potential in the fighting of future wars. Thus, while some did decry it and a few attempts were made to limit it legally(Hague Rules of Air Warfare & a few attempts in the League of Nations). There never was a general consensus to see the thing through. Ironically, Germany was one of the major proponents of these limits in the League, but when she withdrew from the League, support for limits on strategic bombing went with her.

    Hague Rules of Air Warfare(never adopted)
    http://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_Hague_Rules_of_Air_Warfare
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    When I was looking for info on reprisals earlier I came across information that arguably indicates that it was against both the 1899 and 1909 conventions although "gas" isn't mentioned explicity. See:
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hague04.asp
    (1909) Section II chapter 1:
    and (1899)
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/hague02.asp
    Again if you want to look up the conventions of warfare I strongly recomend:
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/lawwar.asp

    I also seem to recall reading something about plans to put the Kaiser on trial after WWI but his abdication and the Dutch granting him assylum short circuited that (to the releif of the British if what I read was correct).


    The British certainly considered using gas but considering the use of it isn't the same as using it. Anthrax was primarily considered a weapon to use against livestock from what I recall reading and even then it was as a counter to the possible use of poison gas by the Germans. Saying Churchill had "no problem" breaking the laws is IMO a bit over the top. If he had no such problem why didn't he start using them especially once it was clear that the British could do so with little fear of significant retaliation from the Germans.
     
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  8. Hop

    Hop Member

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    Oil was the RAF's number 1 priority target for most of 1940. It didn't achieve much.

    Oil bombing was very successful in 1944. It wouldn't have been as successful in 1943 for 4 reasons:

    1. Accuracy. Hamburg was the most devastating raid of the war in Europe. The RAF managed to achieve great concentration, which started a firestorm. However, whilst the bombing was very concentrated, it wasn't very accurate. The bombs fell 2 miles from the aiming point. In an attack on a large city, that didn't matter much. 2 miles off target meant the bombing hit a different part of the city. But a German oil plant, which was typically around 1 square mile, would be missed entirely by bombs falling 2 miles from the aiming point.

    2. Escorts. The 8th Air Force didn't have sufficient long range escorts to enable regular raids deep into Germany in 1943.

    3. Bomb Loads. In 1943 Bomber Command dropped 157,000 tons. In 1944 that increased to 526,000 tons. The USAAF heavy bombers in the UK dropped 42,000 tons in 1943, 398,000 tons in 1944.

    4. Romanian supplies. Roughly half of Germany's oil imports came from Romania. Those supplies were degraded by bombing and mining, but cut off completely in August 1944.
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    About point 4 : it is more complicated than that : the Romanian imports always were only a small part of Germany's available oil which was (in order of importance ) : 1:synthetic oil, 2 :imports , 3 : domestic crude .

    For 1940-1944 (included) ,synthetic oil was 22 million ton,imports :11.4 million,domestic crude :8.2 million (the import from Romania was 9.7 million).

    What happened in 1944 was that the Allies targetted a) the synthetic oil plants,the production of which was going down by some 33 %, b) the refineries and that Romania was lost (the import from Romania was going down from 2.5 million ton to 1 million ton).It was this combination of 3 factors which was giving the finishing stroke.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    A large batch of aerial bombs were ordered, but by the time the US factory was ready to produce them, they were deemed unnecessary since the war in Europe was almost over.

    ---------

    "But by the spring of 1944, anthrax was back on the agenda and this time Churchill approved an order for an initial stockpile of 500,000 anthrax bombs."

    "By 1945, a top secret report to a Cabinet Defence Committee revealed that even deadlier anthrax weapons were now on trial."

    -----------


    "The scientists were stunned by its efficacy: they realised that a mass detonation of anthrax over Germany would pollute the land for decades, making it totally unsuitable for human habitation."

    -------------

    Churchill wanted to use poison gas in response to the V2 rocket threat. He did not ask for germ warfare to be considered, but the chiefs of staff looked into its practicability anyway. They concluded that gas would be counterproductive, whereas sufficient anthrax bombs were simply not available. It was gas, not anthrax, which they dissuaded Churchill from using.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/sep/26/winston-churchill-anthrax-war

    ------------

    http://articles.latimes.com/1987-01-07/news/mn-2514_1_bombs

    Britain and the United States developed and began to manufacture deadly anthrax bombs for use against Germany in World War II, but never decided to use them, according to a new report by a Stanford University historian.
    Prof. Barton J. Bernstein declared in an interview and in an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists published Monday that an American plant, "probably in Vigo County" near Terre Haute, Ind., was scheduled to make about 50,000 bombs monthly by the summer of 1944, and 250,000 by that year's end.
    But in mid-1944, outraged and furious by the German V-1 bombings of Britain, "Churchill might well have seriously considered retaliating with anthrax bombing," Bernstein noted.
    The British also devised a plan in 1945 to drop the bombs on six German cities "but I can't tell if that was a contingency plan or something that would be used," Bernstein said. "Churchill's advisers knew when they devised the plan that the bombs wouldn't be ready."
    "My guess is he (Churchill) wouldn't have used them because F.D.R. (President Franklin D. Roosevelt) would have vetoed it," Bernstein said. "F.D.R. was troubled by gas warfare and probably would not have allowed the anthrax bombs to be used because of moral reasons. It's less certain about how Churchill felt, although we know he favored the use of gas."




     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The US not only manufactured poisons gas during WWII, they weaponized it, and sent it to Europe. However they did not use it so no violation of international law. Interestingly enough had the British used Anthrax in respose to the V2 it may have been "legal" under the reprisal laws of the time. In any case they weren't used and speculation as to the willingness to use them or why they were not used is subject to considerable potential error especially as many of the statments both during and after the war could be influenced as much by political posturing as serious consideration.
     
  12. Nordwind511

    Nordwind511 Member

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    I agree with you that in war neither side can avoid civilian casualties or it is extremely difficult to avoid them. And the discussion here shows clearly for me that for some of you means that civilians were the depot for the government (pool of manpower etc.). But I am not the same opion about your statement that the Allies may not have been intentionally targeting civilians in German cities - the facts I read about the strategic bombing is a little different. That´s the reason why I believe that the "moral bombing" (and especially the strategie) of the british bomber command to do the bombing have to be judged as war-crime. I don´t blame the bomber-crews who had to do their mission/jobs - they got their orders and do it - and not a few lost their lives.
    First: you should stop mixing subjects like the speech of Goebbels in the Berlin Sportpalace 1943, themes like the Volkssturm and Partisans warfare in the East and the Balkan and now at least the massacre of Oradur-sur-Glane of 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" (it was doubtless what I call war-crimes) in this topic. Than you will have my true respect - but your reaction is like a barking dog. You put reflexively other theaters of war here so it seemed to me you have a problem to stay focused on the topic of this thread. Should I think you don´t feel well to discuss this point seriously?

    You said: This article doesn't cover any German city because at that time Germany was in the middle of Fortress Europe, well defended -- absolutely and entirely valid military target. Your statement doesn´t convince me. In late January 45 the German air defense was collapsed. The bomber fleets were able to destroy each target without any serious defense ... and the bombing of old cities with no defence last when the end of war wasn´t far - for example the city of Halberstadt (08th of april). More than 1800 civilians (elder, kids, women) been killed - three days later the US army took possession of this city. There were no industrial targets to destroy ...
     
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  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The key here is that the real target was German industry it was never all civilians or just civilians. In some ways it was also a way to justify continueing the attacks given the rather limited accuracy exibited. I.e. If the official target was just the factories would it have changed the threat or losses of civilians?

    Actually the above has some bearing on the topic. If indeed the bombing campaign would normally have been considered a war crime it could also be argued that it was a justifyable reprisal for German actions and as such not a war crime. The arguement that the bombing was a war crime is still IMO rather weak.

    Sorry but we really don't have to convince you. The cities were still defended by both AAA and fighters right up to the end. It doesn't matter that said defence was weak or even ineffective. The conventions state that if it was defended and was of some military import it was a legitmate target. The way to get off the target list was to declare the city open.
     
  14. denny

    denny Member

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    I do not like some of those bombing campaigns. But what do you do, when you are at war (this war in 1944-45) and the front moves across the country you are fighting.?
    Some guys did not give a shit, other guys probably felt horrible about the civilians on the ground. I can see where SHAEF was coming from...they were going to bomb the crap out of every (semi) major city until The Germans said "quit".
    What Could fight, and what Could Not fight, were all tangled up in the same place.

    I can understand the feeling of the time.....These people started this crap...tried to take over our country...killed any and all they could, and now we are going to wipe them off the map if they do not quit.

    But in contrast (I realize it was not perfect or immediate) look at how well and fast the transition went at wars end. Look at The Berlin Airlift. What were, a very short time ago, mortal enemies, were now working in tandem, smiling at each other, working around the clock, Germans wrenching on what use to be USAAF bombers.....all in an effort to save the people and ideology of Western Berlin.
    Kind of the Hypocrisy/Irony of mankind. :)
     
  15. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    To the moderators: I have reported ad hominem attack. Shall we tollerate this?

    @Northwind511: My country was deliberated in 1945 -- you can not command me.
     
  16. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I am out of salutes for today, so let me just add to this a definition of the Open City:

    "In war, in the event of the imminent capture of a city, the government/military structure of the nation that controls the city will sometimes declare it an open city, thus announcing that they have abandoned all defensive efforts.
    The attacking armies of the opposing military will then be expected not to bomb or otherwise attack the city, but simply to march in. The concept aims at protecting the historic landmarks and civilians who dwell in the city from an unnecessary battle." (Wiki)

    The Hague convention applies to the open city, not to a fortress.
     
  17. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Bullshit- there was a Junkers facility at Halberstadt, and the railway station was also a target-
    http://www.geocities.ws/hjunkers/ju_halberstadt_a1.htm
     
  18. denny

    denny Member

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    Are you guys talking about the same time line.?
    Your article says they moved Junkers toward end of 1944.
    If the allies occupied the city 3 days after a bombing.......
    Was the train station still there, were there any trains running then,?
    Maybe you two are talking about different dates.?
    carry on
     
  19. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    The article says production was moved to caves at Felsenkeller, south of Haberstadt in 1944 from the former facility at Klusstrasse 38 in the town. Allied intelligence may not have known that, and the original facility was probably still in use to some extent any way.
    Both that and the train station were targets on April 8th '45.
     
  20. Hop

    Hop Member

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    By April 1945 the allied strategic air forces had largely switched to attacks in support of the ground forces. On the 14th and 15th of April the 8th Air Force bombed the occupied French city of Royan with 7,500 tons of HE, incendiaries and napalm. The operation wasn't designed to kill French civilians (although 1,700 were killed) but in support of a Free French offensive to clear the port.
     
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