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Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:06 PM

Was firebombing Dresden justified?

What about the harbor in Marseilles?

And if they were justified, can you please explain your reasoning? Thanks.

28 replies, 2209 views

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Was firebombing Dresden justified? (Original post)
closeupready Aug 2012 OP
shraby Aug 2012 #1
closeupready Aug 2012 #2
lame54 Aug 2012 #3
closeupready Aug 2012 #4
lame54 Aug 2012 #6
closeupready Aug 2012 #8
hlthe2b Aug 2012 #5
closeupready Aug 2012 #9
Nye Bevan Aug 2012 #13
hlthe2b Aug 2012 #15
pennylane100 Aug 2012 #7
closeupready Aug 2012 #10
Nye Bevan Aug 2012 #11
closeupready Aug 2012 #12
CTyankee Aug 2012 #23
CTyankee Aug 2012 #14
closeupready Aug 2012 #16
CTyankee Aug 2012 #17
sofa king Aug 2012 #18
aint_no_life_nowhere Aug 2012 #19
closeupready Aug 2012 #20
Dreamer Tatum Aug 2012 #21
1-Old-Man Aug 2012 #22
taterguy Aug 2012 #24
Franker65 Aug 2012 #26
Zalatix Aug 2012 #25
Brewinblue Aug 2012 #27
MannyGoldstein Aug 2012 #28

Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:11 PM

1. That can be debated and talked about until the cows come home, but it won't change the

facts in the case.

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Response to shraby (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:14 PM

2. Actually, yes, very true.

nt

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:21 PM

3. What year is this?

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Response to lame54 (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:22 PM

4. Huh? World War II?

1939 - 1945, right?

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Response to closeupready (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:23 PM

6. No - this year

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Response to lame54 (Reply #6)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:24 PM

8. the same year the US dropped the atom bomb

on Japan - so whatever the conflict pertaining to that, the same conflict pertaining to these firebombings.

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:22 PM

5. Did I enter the WWII forum? This is GD.. So what is today's specific relevence?

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:25 PM

9. This other thread in GD currently:

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:34 PM

13. "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it".

Personally, I love to see discussions of subjects like World War 2, as opposed to Jersey Shore and Twilight.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #13)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:36 PM

15. I simply asked what today's relevence was. I have no problem discussing history (obviously)

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:23 PM

7. and let's not forget the blitz in London.

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Response to pennylane100 (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:27 PM

10. I was going to ask that, but

responses to that wouldn't have been useful for purposes of illustrating the foolishness of those of us today second-guessing Roosevelt & Truman w/r/t Japan.

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:29 PM

11. In retrospect, with the benefit of years of hindsight,

probably not.

But the thing is, if you don't want your cities bombed, it's an excellent idea not to invade and subjugate a whole bunch of neighboring countries, commit mass genocide and attempt to eliminate entire races of people. When you do stuff like that, shit has a tendency to happen.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #11)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:30 PM

12. Agreed.

nt

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #11)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:52 PM

23. Yep, a kind of "democratic" rough justice...you vote for it, you get what you get...

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:36 PM

14. It's an interesting question. I would imagine that there are all kinds of analyses that you could

find in a library or bookstore. I guess at the time we felt that we had to terrorize the German population in order to dissuade them from supporting their fuhrer.

I used to know a guy who was a navigator on the planes that flew the firebombing missions over Tokyo. I think he said the planes were the newer Superfortresses that also were used to drop the A bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

If we have a group of WW2 buffs here at DU, you could ask there for some reading references. I'd be interested in finding out about them, too...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #14)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:39 PM

16. Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughter-house Five" of course, is

one account among many.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:50 PM

17. Yep. I was thinking more along the lines of historians analysis.

It was not too long ago that I found out that the decision to destroy the Italian monastery Monte Cassino during the war was made in error. The German army was not holed up there but after the Allies destroyed it, the German army was able to use the rubble to provide cover for them, thereby prolonging the conflict there. Hey, it happens...

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 03:05 PM

18. Ask Bomber Harris

Bomber Command was the only major British unit which was not awarded a campaign medal, and Arthur Harris became the only British officer of his rank and status to refuse a peerage as a result. He lived in self-exile in South Africa for years until his return was demanded by Winston Churchill in 1953. A statue erected in his honor had to be kept under 24-hour guard to prevent it from being defaced.

Bomber Command was responsible for 600,000 civilian deaths in World War II, almost as many as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 03:41 PM

19. My mother celebrated the bombing of Marseille

She went out under the path of the allied bombers to cheer along with hundreds of happy people in the streets, some who died. Not only were the docks hit, but much of an old section of the town called "Le Panier" (the basket) was leveled by mistake. But my mother told me she'd had enough of seeing her friends and neighbors die of starvation and welcomed any retaliation against the Nazis. Over the years she's described a number of people she knew before the war who gradually got visibly thinner and thinner until they couldn't get out of bed and finally died. The Nazis had confiscated all the food from French farmers and sent it to Germany leaving the people to subsist on bread made of sawdust and not enough protein to keep a person alive. My mother found a walnut tree in the countryside and her mother and sisters lived on walnuts for quite awhile and my mother said if not for these kinds of food sources they would have starved. I don't know if the bombing of Marseille served a useful purpose. From my mother's descriptions, the Germans were well entrenched and the Battle of Marseille that took place after the allied landing in Provence was hard-fought. My mother's brother who spent the war in the resistance took to the streets with comrades ahead of the allied arrival and is pictured below firing his machine gun in street fighting.

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Response to aint_no_life_nowhere (Reply #19)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 03:44 PM

20. Thank you for that interesting post.

I've been to Marseille and it's one of my favorite places - very diverse and vital.

Cheers.

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 03:44 PM

21. Yes. nt


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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 03:46 PM

22. Well, it taught the Allies the value of fire-bombing, just ask Tokyo

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:29 AM

24. I always thought Dresden was about sending a message to the Russians

The city itself had no military importance, but at the time the ground forces in the Russian army were the best in the world.

We didn't know how far they'd advance in Europe and we had to make sure they'd stop at an acceptable place, by demonstrating what we were capable of doing.

But I didn't attend any of the meetings where the decision was made so I really don't know.

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Response to taterguy (Reply #24)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:40 AM

26. Not justified

From what I've read, the town was supposed to be an important crossroads, full of German soldiers retreating or reinforcing the front line. Unfortunately, it was also full of refugees. There may be some who justify the firebombing of Hamburg in 1943 as its port infrastructure and large amount of workers was a key target. Industry was not as important in Dresden and by the time it was destroyed, the war was practically over. By this time, the Allies were not fighting a war from afar - US, Russian and British forces were advancing into Germany and bombing German cities was irrelevant. In my opinion, a needless massacre.

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:35 AM

25. We didn't have hackers and cruise missiles back then.

 

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:48 AM

27. Justified, perhaps not.

But quite understandable given the circumstances.

Difficult decision in a very difficult time in history.

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Response to closeupready (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:21 AM

28. Dresden was about destroying Germany's will to fight

The thinking at the time was that wars only *really* end for good through unconditional surrender, and unconditional surrender only comes through obliterating the enemy's will to fight. The war must be so horrible to all, even civilians, that they give themselves entirely to peace. My understanding is that Sherman's march to the sea was the same type of thing.

In the case of WWII, it seems to have worked. Don't know if there were other ways to do it - I don't know enough about military history to have an informed opinion.

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