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Bomber War: Arthur Harris and the Allied Bomber Offensive 1939-1945 by [Neillands, Robin]

Bomber War: Arthur Harris and the Allied Bomber Offensive 1939-1945 Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Length: 464 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

Sixty years ago, as squadrons of British and US bombers set off night after night for Nazi Germany, few people challenged the morality of the operations. The Allies were on the side of the angels and any means were justified in the pursuit of victory. These days, as both memories and veterans fade away, questions are increasingly asked about the ethics of Bomber Command. In some quarters, Sir Arthur Harris, head of Bomber Command, is regarded as little better than a war criminal. It was to redress this imbalance of modern perception that Robin Neillands began this study of the Allied bomber offensive but, as he acknowledges, his remit rapidly expanded into a critique of strategic bombing as a whole. This, though, presents problems. Strategic bombing can loosely be defined as the carpet bombing of civilian and military installations in order to break the morale of the enemy. It is immediately clear that if you cite Hiroshima and Nagasaki as examples, then you have to concede that the theory works, as Japan surrendered in their aftermath.

Rather than clarifying the issue though, the Japanese experience confuses it, as it suggests that if Britain and the US had had the capacity to drop even more tonnage on Germany, the Nazis would have surrendered without the need for D-Day and consequent loss of life. The fact is, however, that although the Allies didn't have the weaponry to force Germany to its knees, they carried on regardless. Moreover, the bombing campaigns began in earnest at a time when the Allies had no other means to strike at the heart of Germany, and continued into 1945 with the destruction of Dresden when the war was almost won. Under such circumstances it is hard to argue the unequivocal morality of the British position, much as Neillands might like to. Harris was clearly not a war criminal, but he was no saint either. The fact is that five years of war is enough to wear anyone down and people take decisions they otherwise might not make. By late 1944 everyone was thoroughly exhausted and the collateral damage of a few German cities and their inhabitants was a minor consideration in the effort to get the war over and done with. For the most part, though, Neillands is an engaging and fair-minded historian and his accounts of the main events of the campaign are skilfully told and enlivened by first-hand accounts. And if he doesn¹t succeed in getting the Allied commanders off the hook, he more than succeeds in conveying the courage and determination of the aircrews, many of whom were knowingly condemned to an early death. --John Crace

Review

'This book... counters some of the claptrap uttered [about the bomber war]. It is also a compelling and very moving account.' Major General Julian Thompson CB OBE 'Rarely has oral history been put to better use.' Blake Morrison, Independent on Sunday 'An engrossing study... a valuable contribution to the history of air warfare.' Saul David, Sunday Telegraph

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1541 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Endeavour Media (2 Oct. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00O4XS8QC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #125,079 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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