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Author Topic: Opinion of the Dresden Bombings  (Read 12733 times)
12th Doctor
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« Reply #50 on: March 17, 2009, 08:32:06 pm »
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It was a show of force, an attempt to crush morale through the dying nation likely in the hope of ending the war a little sooner. Heavily bombing Serbia led to the rise of a rebellion and the fall of Milosevic. While the event was an inescapable tragedy, this was a time of massive war and destruction, death and massacre. To ask this is to ask whether the nuclear attacks on Japan were really necessary. They killed many innocents and severely injured countless more, but they helped end the power through a show of massive force.

No.  It isn't.  The Japanese were still more than capable of putting up a fight, and very much intended to.

I had a feeling that, at some point, someone would try to draw that comparison, but it doesn't work.  At all.
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« Reply #51 on: March 17, 2009, 08:34:30 pm »
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The Serbs should've "stopped"? So in other words pull out of Kosovo, let the Kosovo Liberation Army ethnically cleanse all the remaining Serbs live there, and then let the place become a kleptocracy and a haven for any drug lord and/or terrorist who wants to hang out?

Sorry they didn't see that as a great scenario.

Yes.  That is exactly what I was saying.

Or... what I might have been saying is the point to seem to have left off, which was that they could have gone on the defensive and not tried to exterminate all the Albanians.
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« Reply #52 on: March 17, 2009, 09:18:45 pm »
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[Snip]

Yeah, I know that.

Then why did you feel the need to respond to my original post stating that allied bombings of other German cities were either strategic or retaliatory when that is clearly not true of all cases?

The outcome of the war was still very much in doubt at that time.  Because of that, all the bombings, regardless of their targets, were either strategic or retaliatory.  Once the outsome of the war was no longer in doubt, it was bloodlust.



You have a pretty strange definition of strategic bombing I must say, but it is good to know that any act committed in a war where the outcome is in doubt is strategic. Does that apply to other military operations?

Again Dresden does not stand as an isolated example. Nuremberg was hit slightly before Yalta and during the conference Berlin, Mannheim, Chemnitz and Magdeburg were heavily bombed around the same time as the first bombing of Dresden. Then after Dresden you have the bombings of Xanten, Mainz, Cologne, Wurzburg, Worms, Paderborn, Rothenberg, Bayreuth, and Berlin. Targets for these bombings were often far from 'strategic', like in Dresden, where historic monuments - churches, museums, opera houses etc - were targeted (sometimes accidentally but quite often on purpose). For that reason, I think it is reductionist to simply ascribe the bombing of Dresden to 'bloodlust'; they were just as much attacks on German culture and national identity as they were on the German people.

Again, there seems to be some confusion here.  I am not saying that all Allied bombing was necessarily strategic, but rather that is had strategic value.  At that stage in the war, the Nazis still presented a real threat to European citizens.  What changed in the month of February is that the Allies overran almost all of the area from which V2's could have been effectively launched... at least for the most part.

Almost all of those places you mentioned have two things in common:

1) They were on the Rhine, or in the area of German territory directly East.  Makes sense since that's where the German army was concentrated.  They also wanted to limit resistance from the population and reduce potential fortifications as much as possible.

2) They had all been extensively bombed before.

Thus, hitting those areas to loosen up resistance makes sense, and the people living and the German army had reason to expect raids.

Dresden was far out of the way and was defenseless.

And again, the Allies made no pretense, none at all, that the target of the bombings in Dresden was anything, but the population.
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« Reply #53 on: March 18, 2009, 01:43:23 am »
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It was a show of force, an attempt to crush morale through the dying nation likely in the hope of ending the war a little sooner. Heavily bombing Serbia led to the rise of a rebellion and the fall of Milosevic. While the event was an inescapable tragedy, this was a time of massive war and destruction, death and massacre. To ask this is to ask whether the nuclear attacks on Japan were really necessary. They killed many innocents and severely injured countless more, but they helped end the power through a show of massive force.

No.  It isn't.  The Japanese were still more than capable of putting up a fight, and very much intended to.

I had a feeling that, at some point, someone would try to draw that comparison, but it doesn't work.  At all.

     Absolutely. Japan didn't want to surrender even after we nuked Hiroshima. They were still capable of putting up a hell of a fight, & would continue to be unless we took radical measures to stop them. Bombing Dresden was completely useless except for increasing the body count, though.
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« Reply #54 on: March 18, 2009, 02:01:46 am »
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In fact, the casualty projections for Operation Downfall (which numbered the same as the total of all U.S. casualties in the war, til that point) were probably low.  U.S. planners didn't know that the Japanese were saving their best technology and tactics for a U.S. invasion.  When the war was over, we learned that the Japanese kamikazes were being ordered to attack troop transports, not warships (which would have meant 100x the number of casualties from the average suicide attack), that the Japanese navy itself was to be deployed as a kamikaze strike force (like fire ships) and that the Japanese actually had jet aircraft that they were keeping in caves, that would have been far better than anything the Americans had at the time.

Japanese casualties in the war, up to that time, had been happening at a ration of 15-1.  Even with conservative estimates, the total number of Japanese dead would have numbered around 15 million, far higher than the number killed by the bombs.
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« Reply #55 on: March 18, 2009, 06:18:20 am »
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Anyone who tries to rationalize the massacre of Dresden should have their head examined.
I am stunned that there is even an argument in 2009 about this atrocity.
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« Reply #56 on: March 18, 2009, 08:37:14 am »
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Again, there seems to be some confusion here.  I am not saying that all Allied bombing was necessarily strategic, but rather that is had strategic value.  At that stage in the war, the Nazis still presented a real threat to European citizens.  What changed in the month of February is that the Allies overran almost all of the area from which V2's could have been effectively launched... at least for the most part.

That's strange, because a second ago you said that:

The outcome of the war was still very much in doubt at that time.  Because of that, all the bombings, regardless of their targets, were either strategic or retaliatory.  Once the outsome of the war was no longer in doubt, it was bloodlust.

Almost all of those places you mentioned have two things in common:
1) They were on the Rhine, or in the area of German territory directly East.  Makes sense since that's where the German army was concentrated.  They also wanted to limit resistance from the population and reduce potential fortifications as much as possible.

2) They had all been extensively bombed before.

Thus, hitting those areas to loosen up resistance makes sense, and the people living and the German army had reason to expect raids.

Dresden was far out of the way and was defenseless.

And again, the Allies made no pretense, none at all, that the target of the bombings in Dresden was anything, but the population.

Cities I mentioned not on the Rhine or in the Rhineland: Magdeburg, Chemnitz, and Bayreuth. Chemnitz and Magdeburg are both in roughly similar locations to Dresden and were part of the same campaign of bombings - often the same mission was sent out to bomb Chemnitz and/or Dresden depending on which was a clearer and easier target.

Cities I mentioned that had not been significantly bombed before: Magdeburg, Bayreuth, Rothenburg, Xanten, Wurzburg, and Worms.

As to the presence of the German army in some of these cities, I feel here it is necessary to draw a distinction between the 'target' of the bombing and the 'aim' of the bombing; while many attacks may have been aimed at driving the German army out of towns and cities, the targets they chose to do so were often historical and cultural landmarks. The British and American authorities also claimed when bombing Dresden that the intention was to help the advance of the Russians in the east and to create confusion that would prevent the movement of German troops. Whether that is true or not is debatable, but the point is that the aim of a bombardment is different from its target.

I am not trying to say that Dresden was not an atrocious act, just that it is the most extreme image in a wider picture that is often neglected.
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« Reply #57 on: March 18, 2009, 11:42:41 am »
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Again, there seems to be some confusion here.  I am not saying that all Allied bombing was necessarily strategic, but rather that is had strategic value.  At that stage in the war, the Nazis still presented a real threat to European citizens.  What changed in the month of February is that the Allies overran almost all of the area from which V2's could have been effectively launched... at least for the most part.

That's strange, because a second ago you said that:

The outcome of the war was still very much in doubt at that time.  Because of that, all the bombings, regardless of their targets, were either strategic or retaliatory.  Once the outsome of the war was no longer in doubt, it was bloodlust.

Almost all of those places you mentioned have two things in common:
1) They were on the Rhine, or in the area of German territory directly East.  Makes sense since that's where the German army was concentrated.  They also wanted to limit resistance from the population and reduce potential fortifications as much as possible.

2) They had all been extensively bombed before.

Thus, hitting those areas to loosen up resistance makes sense, and the people living and the German army had reason to expect raids.

Dresden was far out of the way and was defenseless.

And again, the Allies made no pretense, none at all, that the target of the bombings in Dresden was anything, but the population.

Cities I mentioned not on the Rhine or in the Rhineland: Magdeburg, Chemnitz, and Bayreuth. Chemnitz and Magdeburg are both in roughly similar locations to Dresden and were part of the same campaign of bombings - often the same mission was sent out to bomb Chemnitz and/or Dresden depending on which was a clearer and easier target.

Cities I mentioned that had not been significantly bombed before: Magdeburg, Bayreuth, Rothenburg, Xanten, Wurzburg, and Worms.

As to the presence of the German army in some of these cities, I feel here it is necessary to draw a distinction between the 'target' of the bombing and the 'aim' of the bombing; while many attacks may have been aimed at driving the German army out of towns and cities, the targets they chose to do so were often historical and cultural landmarks. The British and American authorities also claimed when bombing Dresden that the intention was to help the advance of the Russians in the east and to create confusion that would prevent the movement of German troops. Whether that is true or not is debatable, but the point is that the aim of a bombardment is different from its target.

I am not trying to say that Dresden was not an atrocious act, just that it is the most extreme image in a wider picture that is often neglected.

Fine, I'll give you Chemnitz, and say that was also unnecessary.  But Bayreuth was the site of a Nazi concentration camp and Magdelburg fits my profile of cities that were East of the Rhine, meaning cities directly between the allied advance and Berlin.  The Chemnitz incident was not nearly as intense as the Dresden bombing, either.

You know what I am talking about with what I am saying.  I have made every effort to be accommodating to your points.  I'm starting to wonder why you are trying to "show me up" and what I did to piss you off.  This is the first time you have ever acted this way towards me.
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« Reply #58 on: March 18, 2009, 12:34:34 pm »
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Anyone who tries to rationalize the massacre of Dresden should have their head examined.
I am stunned that there is even an argument in 2009 about this atrocity.

Lincoln didn't say what is in your signature, fwiw.

And Dresden was necessary to break the will of the Germans.
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« Reply #59 on: March 18, 2009, 12:51:36 pm »
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  But Bayreuth was the site of a Nazi concentration camp

Bombing concentration camps wasn't Allied policy, because it did not advance the war effort... the presence of Flossenburg would have had nothing to do with the decision to bomb it.
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« Reply #60 on: March 18, 2009, 04:22:58 pm »
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And Dresden was necessary to break the will of the Germans.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2006/11/quote_for_the_d_5.html
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« Reply #61 on: March 18, 2009, 04:43:17 pm »
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If you think this bombing was necessary, read Slaughterhouse-Five
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« Reply #62 on: March 18, 2009, 05:52:03 pm »
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  But Bayreuth was the site of a Nazi concentration camp

Bombing concentration camps wasn't Allied policy, because it did not advance the war effort... the presence of Flossenburg would have had nothing to do with the decision to bomb it.

I never said they bombed the camp.  I know that wasn't allied policy.  Very late in the war, however, there were a few efforts made to make it harder for the Nazis to run the camps... tragically few.
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« Reply #63 on: March 18, 2009, 06:38:35 pm »
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You know what I am talking about with what I am saying.  I have made every effort to be accommodating to your points.  I'm starting to wonder why you are trying to "show me up" and what I did to piss you off.  This is the first time you have ever acted this way towards me.

I wasn't trying to show you up at all. I commented on your initial question and stated that Dresden was by no means a one-off to which you replied that other allied bombings of German cities were either strategic or retaliatory. Beyond that I was essentially re-hashing my original point with reference to other allied bombing campaigns during World War Two in an attempt to problematise what I saw as being a slightly narrow interpretation of Dresden which I felt decontextualised it. My disagreement was with your interpretation and not with you per se.
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« Reply #64 on: March 18, 2009, 06:58:39 pm »
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Nietzsche was a lunatic. And your signature is still wrong.
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« Reply #65 on: March 18, 2009, 07:25:56 pm »
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And Dresden was necessary to break the will of the Germans.

Assuming the allies had chosen not to bomb Dresden, do you really think the "will" of the Germans would have been sustained (and even if sustained, made any tangible difference) after this:



Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but, in retrospect, the only difference not bombing Dresden makes is that a few thousand German civilians survive 1945.
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« Reply #66 on: March 18, 2009, 11:37:10 pm »
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None the less, that statement of his contains alot of truth.

A woman who was driving home from work when one of the wheels fell off of her car, right in front of an insane asylum.  She had a jack and and was able to get the wheel back, but was stumped about how to secure it back on.  The nuts and bolts had gone everywhere, you see.

A man approached her, and said "excuse me, miss, but if you took one bolt off of each of the other wheels then you could put the other one back on." 

She did just that, and when she finished, she thanked him and asked if she could give him a ride home.

The man said, "no thanks" and pointing to the asylum said "I live there".

The woman gave him a strange look and ask "How did you come up with...?"

But the man, who had already started to walk away  cut her off saying, "I might be crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm stupid."
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« Reply #67 on: March 19, 2009, 01:08:48 am »
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And Dresden was necessary to break the will of the Germans.

Assuming the allies had chosen not to bomb Dresden, do you really think the "will" of the Germans would have been sustained (and even if sustained, made any tangible difference) after this:



Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but, in retrospect, the only difference not bombing Dresden makes is that a few thousand German civilians survive 1945.

One of the greatest photographs ever.
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« Reply #68 on: March 19, 2009, 01:42:26 pm »
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One of the greatest photographs ever.

Quote
Following the Red Army's capture of Berlin in 1945, one of the largest incidents of mass rape took place. Soviet troops reportedly raped German women and girls as young as 8 years old. Estimates of the total number of victims range from tens of thousands to two million. After the summer of 1945, Soviet soldiers caught raping civilians were usually punished to some degree, ranging from arrest to execution. The rapes continued, however, until the winter of 1947-48, when Soviet occupation authorities finally confined Soviet troops to strictly guarded posts and camps, completely separating them from the residential population of the Soviet zone of Germany.
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« Reply #69 on: March 19, 2009, 02:49:13 pm »
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Berliners deserved it for being such strong supporters of the NSDAP and totally opposed to Communism.

Oh...
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« Reply #70 on: March 19, 2009, 05:24:33 pm »
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That's a great quote.
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« Reply #71 on: March 19, 2009, 07:26:10 pm »
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One of the greatest photographs ever.

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Following the Red Army's capture of Berlin in 1945, one of the largest incidents of mass rape took place. Soviet troops reportedly raped German women and girls as young as 8 years old. Estimates of the total number of victims range from tens of thousands to two million. After the summer of 1945, Soviet soldiers caught raping civilians were usually punished to some degree, ranging from arrest to execution. The rapes continued, however, until the winter of 1947-48, when Soviet occupation authorities finally confined Soviet troops to strictly guarded posts and camps, completely separating them from the residential population of the Soviet zone of Germany.

Or you could mention how that photo is, in fact, doctored to hide the fact that the solider in the photo is wearing multiple wrist watches.  That's the communist ideal of personal property at its finest, right there.
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« Reply #72 on: March 20, 2009, 09:27:08 am »
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One of the greatest photographs ever.

Quote
Following the Red Army's capture of Berlin in 1945, one of the largest incidents of mass rape took place. Soviet troops reportedly raped German women and girls as young as 8 years old. Estimates of the total number of victims range from tens of thousands to two million. After the summer of 1945, Soviet soldiers caught raping civilians were usually punished to some degree, ranging from arrest to execution. The rapes continued, however, until the winter of 1947-48, when Soviet occupation authorities finally confined Soviet troops to strictly guarded posts and camps, completely separating them from the residential population of the Soviet zone of Germany.

Or you could mention how that photo is, in fact, doctored to hide the fact that the solider in the photo is wearing multiple wrist watches.  That's the communist ideal of personal property at its finest, right there.

Or, that in the original you can see soldiers looting german homes in the background.
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« Reply #73 on: March 20, 2009, 10:42:05 am »
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I don't know what way RosettaStoned intended his remark; but it is an iconic (and so IMO 'great') photo - as a very powerful image and a work of art.

(I'd agree though that of course there was a lot of malign activity that the photo highlights which obviously doesn't fit under the label 'great'.)
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« Reply #74 on: March 20, 2009, 02:57:36 pm »
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You have to understand that for Russians this photograph symbolises the victory over the greatest theat that Russia ever faced, achieved at terrible cost and after the country suffered horrible destruction. I'm not saying that it is the correct attitude, but one must not forget about the historical significance of the picture.
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