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Ethics and Airpower in World War II: The British Bombing of German Cities [Hardcover]

Stephen Garrett
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

22 Jun 1993
On the night of 27 July 1943 about eight hundred British bombers attacked the German city of Hamburg, creating a fire-storm that destroyed almost four square miles and killed forty thousand people. The raid on Hamburg was part of a British wartime strategy known as area bombing. Over five hundred thousand civilians lost their lives as a result and another million received serious injury. This book analyzes the attitudes which various people and groups in Britain took towards this strategy as it was unfolding. It pays particular attention to the small band of dissenters against such bombing. At the same time the book offers its own moral critique of area bombing, not just on traditional ethical grounds but also in terms of its dubious military rationale. Ethics and Airpower in World War II is the most penetrating attempt yet to understand how apparently humane individuals could condone area bombing, and to show what lessons it carries for us today.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (22 Jun 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312086830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312086831
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,023,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'A useful and important contribution to the debate about acceptable strategies for the future and to the evaluation of the British effort in WWII.' - F. van Hartesveldt, Choice

'Garrett has produced a well-organised, clearly written, and objectively argued account of the ethical debate over RAF targeting policy.' - Mark R. Jacobson, Orbis

'Professor Garrett's book is a masterpiece....' - Friday Review of Defence Literature

'Highly recommended.' - Library Journal

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2.0 out of 5 stars The Truth is still out There 29 Mar 2013
I am again struck by the blindness of authors who compelling argue that it was the British who bombed German cities, while conveniently avoiding the whole truth that the Americans also bombed German cities albeit not until 1942 when they entered the War in Europe.

The claim at the time and thereafter was that the British did 'area bombing' and that the Americans did 'Precision bombing', which by unspoken implication killed no citizens. The actual bomb fall around the target was very similar, described graphically by one senior American bomber commander at the time as British 'precision bombing of area targets' and American 'area bombing of precision targets'. The simple statistics of actual American bomb fall as recorded by American Forces speak to the truth. Garrett fails to examine this embarrassing aspect and consequently discredits his analysis.

The truth is that the Americans won the public relations war; the British told something closer to the Truth. It is a great shame that the massive contribution of the Combined Bombing Offensive to Allied Victory continues to be emasculated by modern authors who play the ethical and moral cards within the context of Total War. I am sorry to say that this book continues to play the public relations game.
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