Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Waddling Thunder shocked a classmate with an off the cuff remark about his support of the Dresden bombing.

I approach Dresden from a slightly different angle. Churchill famously reacted very negatively to the terror raids, saying something along the lines of 'are we barbarians?' Churchill was a remarkable man, but in the heat of war I do not doubt that he was in something of a minority. The senses dull. In the war between Germany and the western allies there is a clear and slow decline of sympathy between the combatants. For the period of the Phoney War nothing much happened. The decline starts with the terror bombing of the Netherlands, and then with the Blitz. Two german aircraft off course mistakenly drop their bombloads on London. Britain bombs Berlin. Hitler orders to the London Blitz. Then you get the huge bomber raids of 1942 and 1943, germany respons with the V-1 and V-2 bombs. At that point no one is really thinking about the civilians - there is no line, no division. Civilians have become a legitimate target of war, for if you kill off the population... I recall seeing a British sketch about the 'bad Germans'. It went through the list, Hitler, the generals, the Nazi members, the soldiers, and ended up with basically the whole nation. But there are some good germans, the sketch continued, and the picture was a line of coffins.

Dresden is just one step along that road, and I must say not especially remarkable. The motives behind Dresden were not unique, just the numbers.

We are fortunate that we do not live in such times.

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