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75 Year Anniversary of the Bombing of Dresden, justified or not?

Pickman's model

every man and every woman is a star
Tokyo 9th March 1945.Single worst air raid of the Second World War generally agreed death count over 100.000 and no none of those near end of war bombings were justified but the start of posturing for the Cold War.
i think you're reflecting backwards what we know now and assuming that a) it was clear the end of the war was nigh (which yes it was in europe, but not so much in asia) and b) the cold war was being considered at the time. the cold war widely taken to have started in 1947 (see e.g. Cold War - Wikipedia), so i think you're presuming rather a lot there.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
Yep, so what he's saying is the tactics used were exactly the same as on previous raids.
How does he know? are you being deliberately obtuse? All he knows, assuming that is genuine, and the allusion to Vonnegut makes me doubt that, is his orders.
 

Pickman's model

every man and every woman is a star
Something of a racist lie has been propagated about Japan in order to justify the brutality - that they were fanatics (just look at the kamikaze pilots!) who would never surrender, who would blow themselves up rather than surrender. It was never true, and Japan had been seeking a way to surrender with terms for some time at the time of the A-bombs.

It's a form of dehumanising of the enemy, which always happens with wars, even down to 'the argies' in the Falklands. Read accounts of surviving kamikaze pilots, for instance, and you'll get a very different story, one of very young men, boys really, scared stiff, steeling themselves the best they could for the day they were called on, and desperately hoping that it would not happen. Regular humans, in other words.
as so often you're off the mark. do you think the soviet declaration of war had nothing to do with it? Did Nuclear Weapons Cause Japan to Surrender? | Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
he has been on fourteen previous operations, I presume he meant his orders were very similar to the ones he'd been given for those.
Sure. (Again assuming that's genuine, and again, you have to question that given the last sentence.) But that tells us nothing other than that his orders were similar to previous ones. Doesn't tell us how those orders combined with all other orders to produce the result.
 

Pickman's model

every man and every woman is a star
Something of a racist lie has been propagated about Japan in order to justify the brutality - that they were fanatics (just look at the kamikaze pilots!) who would never surrender, who would blow themselves up rather than surrender. It was never true, and Japan had been seeking a way to surrender with terms for some time at the time of the A-bombs.

It's a form of dehumanising of the enemy, which always happens with wars, even down to 'the argies' in the Falklands. Read accounts of surviving kamikaze pilots, for instance, and you'll get a very different story, one of very young men, boys really, scared stiff, steeling themselves the best they could for the day they were called on, and desperately hoping that it would not happen. Regular humans, in other words.
1581692623471.png
 

Artaxerxes

Well-Known Member
Something of a racist lie has been propagated about Japan in order to justify the brutality - that they were fanatics (just look at the kamikaze pilots!) who would never surrender, who would blow themselves up rather than surrender. It was never true, and Japan had been seeking a way to surrender with terms for some time at the time of the A-bombs.

It's a form of dehumanising of the enemy, which always happens with wars, even down to 'the argies' in the Falklands. Read accounts of surviving kamikaze pilots, for instance, and you'll get a very different story, one of very young men, boys really, scared stiff, steeling themselves the best they could for the day they were called on, and desperately hoping that it would not happen. Regular humans, in other words.
Japan was absolutely fucked but it’s naive to expect that they wouldn’t have resisted the invasion of the home islands quite strenuously. The army had been ground to powder but was still able to do a lot of damage when it could and some of the more terrified civilians of Okinawa had been told so often the yanks were barbarians they killed themselves.

The senior leadership was also categorically insane and had been since arguably the mid-20s and its escalating willingness to kill politicians and refusal to stop invading China.

The Japanese government was still trying to dictate terms until vastly late in the day even though it was clear the game was up and yes ordinary people paid for that, there was still nearly a coup after the emperor himself said we need to just give the fuck up.
 

andysays

Defiantly non-premium member
How does he know? are you being deliberately obtuse? All he knows, assuming that is genuine, and the allusion to Vonnegut makes me doubt that, is his orders.
Why does the allusion to Vonnegut make you doubt anything? There is no claim that this is a contemporary account, it was clearly written sometime after the actual bombing.

And you seem to be assuming that the crew would only know their orders for this flight, but they would surely know if tactics for this raid were significantly different from all the many other raids they took part in.

It's also perfectly possible that the purpose of specific raids was part of their briefing and that they would be able to comment, to some extent, on the planning and strategic aims of their mission, at least to the extent it was communicated to them.
 

dylanredefined

Not a house elf a tiger
I've read that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were deliberately spared the destruction brought elsewhere in Japan so there would be cities left to drop the A-bombs on. Elsewhere I've read that the destruction was as devastating as elsewhere in Japan and more of the same so maybe not the primary reason for the surrender. The military still thought it could continue to fight an effective defensive war as it had despite the bombings and that the Soviet Union may be able to play a role in negotiations. Some have suggested once the Soviets entered the war against the Japanese this changed and prompted the surrender.
The USSR entered the war against Japan 2 days after the first nuke dropped. Dresden didn't change anything bombers should have been stood down before then. Then again Nazis so no one cared.
 
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Sprocket.

There’s comfort in melancholy.....
It was a deliberate attack to terrorise the German civilian population of Dresden and the rest of the country when the results became known.

There were a series of documentaries on the BBC some time ago on the effects of the Blitz on Britain.
In one programme they investigated the story of how schoolchildren in bombed cities reacted in essays they were asked to write at school. This was a British government incentive.
The results showed how prolonged bombing could weaken the resolve of communities and areas and break the will to fight.
This was used against the Nazis by targeting German civilians.

It was wrong, and we see that from our perspective. But Churchill was determined to defeat the Nazis at any cost. Though I seriously doubt he lost sleep over civilians burned alive.
 

kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
The USSR entered the war against Japan 2 days after the first nuke dropped. Dresden didn't change anything bombers should have been stood down before then. Then again Nazis so no one cared.
The problem with that is that every 88mm gun not firing at a Lancaster or B-17 is an 88mm gun firing at a T-38 or Sherman, and every FW-190 or ME-110 not chasing bombers is a pair of 500lb bombs falling on an allied troop column crossing the Rhine or Oder, every lunatic jet fighter program cancelled is resources poured into the V2 or tank production, thus prolonging the ground war.

I'm not going to sit here and say that burning a city full of civs is great, but when you say 'we shouldn't do this', you have to ask what the consequences of not doing it are going to be.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
My understanding is that Dresden came out of a position of total war which implied that a whole population was pitted against the whole population of the enemy.

And after things like Coventry the bombing of Dresden was much more possible, it was viewed that civilian targets were valid targets especially by people like bomber Harris who was responsible for the raid.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the demonstration of irresistible power. There was nothing the Japanese could do but surrender. The fact that they also demonstrated the new weapon to the Russians is also benefit for the Allies.

One argument against the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is that the Allies just needed to demonstrate the power of the new weapon for Japan to surrender. And this could have achieved by bombing an island which was only occupied by the Japanese military. This would have demonstrated the power of the weapon but would not have resulted in massive civilian casualties. I believe this alternative was considered but it was deemed to be a less than certain course of action. Less certain of achieving total surrender.
 

Flavour

hang the bankers
The Nazis - and in a different way, the Japanese imperialists - represented an evil so extreme that normal ethics and morality might well be said to not apply in the case of the war against them.
I disagree, but understand how people might have felt that way at the time. In reality though, if you actually take a minute to imagine how many burned alive in Dresden died hating the Nazis, then no, it's not justifiable, and deliberate targetting of civilians NEVER is.
 

likesfish

an angry pretend soldier shooting at seagulls
Sew the storm reap the whirlwind.
Nazi Germany was still sending trainloads of civilians to the gas chambers.
Total war is horrific the Germans started it and would have done the same to the UK if they could but they couldn't.
 

SpookyFrank

Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit.
Sew the storm reap the whirlwind.
Nazi Germany was still sending trainloads of civilians to the gas chambers.
Total war is horrific the Germans started it and would have done the same to the UK if they could but they couldn't.
Pathetic.
 

Yossarian

free shrugs
My understanding is that Dresden came out of a position of total war which implied that a whole population was pitted against the whole population of the enemy.

And after things like Coventry the bombing of Dresden was much more possible, it was viewed that civilian targets were valid targets especially by people like bomber Harris who was responsible for the raid.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the demonstration of irresistible power. There was nothing the Japanese could do but surrender. The fact that they also demonstrated the new weapon to the Russians is also benefit for the Allies.

One argument against the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is that the Allies just needed to demonstrate the power of the new weapon for Japan to surrender. And this could have achieved by bombing an island which was only occupied by the Japanese military. This would have demonstrated the power of the weapon but would not have resulted in massive civilian casualties. I believe this alternative was considered but it was deemed to be a less than certain course of action. Less certain of achieving total surrender.
Japan occupied a very large amount of territory at the time the bombs were dropped and its troops were treating the civilian population of those places with extreme cruelty. If they had retreated through conventional war over the period of many months, untold millions of people would have died in a myriad of atrocities. Their soldiers massacred people in some places even after the unconditional surrender. So while Hiroshima and Nagasaki were undoubtedly among the most horrific events in human history, I would not change anything if I was sent back in time with the option of cancelling the bombings.
 

AnnaKarpik

Queen of all she surveys
<snip>

And after things like Coventry the bombing of Dresden was much more possible, it was viewed that civilian targets were valid targets especially by people like bomber Harris who was responsible for the raid.
<snip>
It saddens me immensely that thinking like this persists so many decades later. The bombing of Coventry may have made the Allied campaign against Germany more palatable but that was just a bonus, it was not a case of 'they started it'. The Allies started bombing cities in 1939; if anyone can point me to contemporary sources that exclude the urban workforce as a target, I would be grateful. Someone mentioned Hamburg up thread; there were about 80 other major towns and cities bombed that summer, with similar results. The firestorms were possibly larger than expected but the strategy was to drop incendiaries to set the targets ablaze and then bomb them to dust and ashes; the results were considered a huge success, not a human tragedy. There was certainly nothing accidental about it.
 

Sasaferrato

Grateful for what I have.
Sew the storm reap the whirlwind.
Nazi Germany was still sending trainloads of civilians to the gas chambers.
Total war is horrific the Germans started it and would have done the same to the UK if they could but they couldn't.
Quite. As to Japan, when I was a boy I lived next to a Burma railway survivor. Japan treated POWs like animals, indeed, worse that animals. The people on the railway worked until starvation and exhaustion killed them.

The bleeding heart liberal view of Britain's actions in Germany and Japan fall on deaf eras here I'm afraid.

What do the apologists have to say about London, Coventry and Glasgow civilians being bombed? My mother was manageress of the British Restaurant at Tate & Lyle in Clydebank, and was on duty the night it was bombed. The screams of those engulfed in molten sugar stayed with her for the rest of her life.
 

Sasaferrato

Grateful for what I have.
It saddens me immensely that thinking like this persists so many decades later. The bombing of Coventry may have made the Allied campaign against Germany more palatable but that was just a bonus, it was not a case of 'they started it'. The Allies started bombing cities in 1939; if anyone can point me to contemporary sources that exclude the urban workforce as a target, I would be grateful. Someone mentioned Hamburg up thread; there were about 80 other major towns and cities bombed that summer, with similar results. The firestorms were possibly larger than expected but the strategy was to drop incendiaries to set the targets ablaze and then bomb them to dust and ashes; the results were considered a huge success, not a human tragedy. There was certainly nothing accidental about it.
FFS! Workers are a legitimate, indeed necessary target. Destroying the enemy capacity for manufacture is a necessity.
 
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