Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bombing Germany

During the conflict last summer between Israel and Hezbollah,  I got involved in something of a discussion about comparisons of Israel's actions and those of  Britain (and the US (*))  in the Second World War (see 'The fog of war - 2'). In a subsequent e-mail exchange,  I mentioned a programme that had been shown on British TV.  I eventually got around to watching this and even later now to writing this weblog entry.  It turned out to be quite old (**). It did, however,  make two points that I think are worth highlighting.

Chamberlain told parliament in 1938 that targeting civilians would be against international law.

At Nuremburg,  no charges for bombing London, Coventry and other British cities were brought against Nazi leaders, not even against Hermann Göring. 

* Some of the details were a little hazy in my mind:  the British were largely reponsible for the devastation of German cities,  but,  as Jeff Weintraub pointed out,  the US carried out extensive fire-bombing of Japanese cities,  not to mention what happened at Hiroshima & Nagasaki.  

** 'Bombing Germany' written by Detlef Siebert,  BBC / History Channel,  Timewatch from 2001 (editor Laurence Rees),  contributions from American historian Tami Biddle.

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