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Fri Sep 5, 2014, 04:21 PM

Any World War II buffs here?

I have written a post in GD about the destruction of the Santa Trinita Bridge and I would invite your comments/suggestions. I am not a historian of that war but the bloody crossroads of art and war caused great calamity in Florence so I have shared my thoughts here http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025494043

Please feel free to offer your perspectives!

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Reply Any World War II buffs here? (Original post)
CTyankee Sep 2014 OP
thucythucy Mar 2018 #1
CTyankee Mar 2018 #2
thucythucy Mar 2018 #3
CTyankee Mar 2018 #4

Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2018, 08:11 PM

1. I just finished reading "Fire and Fury"

not the book on the Trump White House, but Randall Hansen's book on the Allied bombing of Germany.

His conclusion was that the daylight, more or less precision bombing by the American Army Air Force made a substantial contribution to winning the war, by destroying the Luftwaffe fighter force, and by targeting transportation and oil production infrastructure.

By contrast, the British night carpet bombing, which was deliberately aimed at civilian housing and also at historic city centers, did nothing to aid the war effort--in fact hampered it by sucking in resources that would have been better spent on winning the Battle of the Atlantic and preparing for the invasion of France. The idea that German civilian morale could be destroyed by targeting cities at night worked as well for the British against the Germans as it had worked for the Germans in 1940 against the British--that is to say, barely at all. And the night bombings did little or nothing to compromise German war production.

Hansen is quite critical of Air Marshal Harris, who continued to detach bomber squadrons from their crucial role in targeting military targets in preparation to D-Day, instead diverting them to more or less useless attacks on Berlin and other city centers.

The eyewitness accounts Hanson includes of the firebombing of Hamburg are particularly grisly.

War is always an atrocity, but there are ways to try to temper the horror. The destruction of art, and the targeting of civilians are two approaches to war that should be avoided as best we can.

Thanks for your post. Kesselring had a reputation for being a particularly ruthless commander (which is why Hitler liked him so) but I hadn't heard of this particular facet of his career.

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Response to thucythucy (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 31, 2018, 12:04 PM

2. I agree with your point on avoiding destruction of art, but the stealing of art is often an

underlying factor. It seems stealing art becomes an objective since you essentially steal the heritage of a people. It seems half of the Louvre's art was stolen by Napoleon...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 31, 2018, 05:47 PM

3. This is also an issue.

Just one example--the Germans stripped the St. Catherine Palace outside St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) bare when they were forced to retreat. To this day no one knows where the Amber Room is--well, whatever billionaire now has it knows, but it's lost to the rest of the world. The German government paid to have a new Amber Room constructed, restoring it as closely as possible to the original, but the original has never been recovered.

Then there's the Elgin marbles at the British Museum. I think that's still an ongoing issue between the Brits and the Greeks.

Then again, sometimes it's necessary to move cultural treasures from their homes, at least temporarily, in order to preserve them. The rescue of the library in Timbuktu from Islamic extremists would be one example, art smuggled out of Tibet during the Cultural Revolution would be another.

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Response to thucythucy (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 31, 2018, 07:22 PM

4. The Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece.

Again, it is conquest. Come on, UK, get with it. Return them! It is part of the soul of that country!

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