Who Started the Bombing of Civilians in World War II?

300px-StpaulsblitzEvery year the British public—and indeed the world, through the controlled mass media—are bombarded with images around September of the “Blitz”—the German air offensive on London and other targets in Britain. These stirring images, showing St. Paul’s Cathedral amid a pall of smoke, or the city centre of Coventry burning and falling, are evocative and soul-stirring.

Yet realistically, who started the bombing of civilians during that war? One of the most penetrating and revealing overviews of the origin of the policy of saturation bombing of civilians was published during the war, in 1944, by a  former British Principal Secretary of the British Air Ministry, J.M Spaight.

His book, Bombing Vindicated, was written in response to increasing discontent in Britain with the Allied bombing of German cities, and set out to justify the saturation bombing of civilians.

Spaight’s contribution is valuable, because in the extreme conditions of war, he felt free to set out the exact conditions which had led to the Allied bombing campaign, and why, in his opinion, it was so successful.

BV-frontcover-webHe pointed out that although the first bombing of cities had occurred when the Germans invaded Poland (the bombing of Warsaw), and then again in Norway and Holland, but, as he said, these were only limited campaigns in support of German ground forces.

The British bombers were designed to bomb cities, he said, while the “Teutonic mind” never even considered such a policy, and instead viewed an air force merely as a tool to “blast open” a path for attacking armies.

It was, Spaight said, left to the British to “realise the full potential” of saturation civilian bombing, and goes on to reveal that the decision to bomb civilians on a repeated, extensive and massive scale, completely independently of any ground-based military operations, was taken by Winston Churchill soon after he became Prime Minister in May 1940.

Hitler, Spaight fully admitted, opposed this tactic and actually refused to retaliate for over three months while the German cities were bombed, hoping, as the German leader said in a speech on September 4, 1940, that “Churchill would stop this nonsense.”

This belief that Churchill would stop the bombing is dismissed as “stupid” by Spaight, who went on to describe as “pacifists” and “socialists” those Britons who objected to the bombing of civilians.

Hitler then finally retaliated, and hence the “blitz.” But, as Spaight points out, in comparison to what had already been thrown at German cities by the Royal Air Force, and to what occurred in 1943 and 1944 (the bombing of Hamburg, Cologne and Munich—where, Spaight boasted, the fires could be seen 150 miles away), this “blitz” was actually minor.

The German air force, he pointed out, was never used for anything else until ordered to retaliate against the British campaign. As Spaight put it:

“Whatever Hitler wanted or did not want, he most assuredly did not want the mutual bombing to go on. He had not wanted it ever to begin. He wanted it, having begun, to be called off. There was ample evidence that he did not want the latter kind of bombing to become the practice. He had done his best to have it banned by international agreement.”

Inter-European wars are always terrible and are today rightly condemned by all rational-thinking people. It is however instructive to know that so much of the propaganda which is spread even today, about World War II, is false—because that knowledge provides a clue to understanding the propaganda masters of today, who are essentially the same as those of 1940.

An exact reproduction of J.M. Spaight’s Bombing Vindicated has been published by Ostara Publications and is available here.

By Venutius Brigantes © 2013

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Additional articles that may also be of interest:

Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter — A review of the ground breaking mini-series following the lives of five friends and charting their experiences during WWII.

Generation War – Our Mothers, Our Fathers — Announcing the broadcast in the UK of the hit German mini series Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter.

My Little Heart (Mein kleines Herz) — A review of the song sung by Greta from ‘Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter’.

Rochus Misch – the Last Survivor from Hitler’s Bunker – A transcript of an interview with Rochus Misch who was the last survivor from Hitler’s World War Two Berlin bunker.

Das Buch — Discussing the recent surge in interest and sales of ‘Mein Kampf’.

The Liberation of Auschwitz –A review of the mounting controversy surrounding the alleged war crimes committed at Auschwitz during World War Two.

Treblinka – The Forensic Examination Fails – A review of the forensic examination of the Treblinka concentration camp site by Caroline Sturdy Colls.

Jewish Sensibilities & the Commemoration of Heroes  — How ‘Der Landser’ and the Berlin Holocaust memorial factor in the German psyche.

Der Landser – Discontinued – How Baur Publishing have been pressured into discontinuing the publication of Der Landser thereby denying German youth the opportunity to appreciate the heroism of their forebears.

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5 thoughts on “Who Started the Bombing of Civilians in World War II?

  1. frederickdixon

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    “the increasing discontent in Britain” over the atrocious bombing of German cities may have been due in no small part to the inspirational preaching of George Bell, the wartime Bishop of Chichester. In Oxford cathedral, which I visited recently, there is a very moving memorial to the great bishop in which his work for peace and reconciliation between Britain and Germany is emphasised. It may also have been due in part to Bell that “Bomber Harris” did not receive the same post-war honours as the other war-time commanders.

  2. Michael Woodbridge

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    If the Britons who objected to the terror bombing of German cities were descibed by J.M. Spaight as pacifists and socialists he may have been at least half right.

    George Bell sounds like a gallant chap. Where do we find his like today…a distinguished public leader ready to defy the political establishment on any important principle? The Canon Collins’ of our post-war world don’t count because they have been merely perpetuating liberal orthodoxy. By doing so they have been able to bask in a self-righteous glow without any real risk to themselves. It would have been a different story though had a leading Church of England bishop told the truth about the “Hollohoax”! Recently we’ve seen what happened to Roman Catholic Bishop Williamson. He has been hounded out of his home and livelyhood for his courageous stand on historical truth.

  3. I have got around to watching “Churchill & the Fascist plot” which is very strong on the opposition being traitors & anti Semitic.
    It seems a clear out amongst the establishment occurred at that time along with the arrest of Oswald Mosley & laid the foundations of our present zionist leaning governments & establishment.

  4. Churchill began blitzing German cities on 11 May 1940, four months before Hitler retaliated with the London Blitz.

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