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Was firebombing of Dresden by the RAF a war crime?

Discussion in 'History & Genealogy' started by spartacus1984, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. yes

  2. no

  3. don't know

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. MrLuther

    MrLuther In the Lord I'll be ever thankful

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    I don't see how this is even a question. Of course it was. There was no military need, either strategic or tactical, for burning Dresden to the ground. If this wasn't a warcrime, then the list of Nazi Germany's warcrimes suddenly grew quite a bit shorter.
     
  2. MrLuther

    MrLuther In the Lord I'll be ever thankful

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    How do you figure? Simply because the victims were Germans? That's about the most racist claim I've seen in a while...
     
  3. bhsmte

    bhsmte Newbie

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    Didn't the US fire bomb Japan?
     
  4. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    I do not think that the bombing of Tokyo or the dropping of the A-bombs were wrong, but Dresden is a different matter. No need, no strategic value, unnecessary ferocity, refugees as the target, not likely to shorten the war. There is basically nothing that would recommend it as a target except terror.
     
  5. Cjwinnit

    Cjwinnit Advocatus Diaboli (Retired)

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    Let's not mince words. The domination of a significant land area of the world, the subjugation of the Slavic peoples and the extermination of the jews.
     
  6. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    That would be like firebombing Miami Beach in order to destroy property and halt war-related manufacturing.

    IOW, that's not a very convincing explanation.
     
  7. MrLuther

    MrLuther In the Lord I'll be ever thankful

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    I'd say that terror-bombing civilians is equally malignant, regardless of the identity of perpetrator and victim...
    If your idea of "legitimate" is to stand, then the Germans' actions in the East were also legitimate. Though I'd be surprised if you actually think that. I'd suspect not.
     
  8. Cooch

    Cooch Regular Member

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    You suspect rightly, because I haven't forgotten - or chosen to ignore - a couple of major differences.

    (1) Germany was the agressor, not defending against agression.
    (2) The intent of the German campaign was not merely to "terrify" their opponents, but to engage in ethnic cleansing and take possession of a mostly depopulated land. The Allied bombing campaign had neither of those aims.

    Just War Theory has far more to consider than merely whether non-combatants are killed.

    You would be far closer to the mark if you had mentioned the Russian invasion of Berlin.
     
  9. Cooch

    Cooch Regular Member

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    I believe that you would be far less ready to rush to judgement on the Allies, if you faced what they faced..... and with only the weapons that they had to hand.

    Which is a polite way of saying that you are not convincing me that you know what you are talking about.
     
  10. Cooch

    Cooch Regular Member

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    You put words in the man's mouth, then convict him on the basis of something that exists only in your own mind.

    That is unjust and indecent of you. Not a very credible platform from which to lecture the rest of us....
     
  11. Cooch

    Cooch Regular Member

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    Again, you are ignoring the difference in intent, and in perceived need. The Allies are not innocent or guilty on the basis of your hindsight but - as in any case of self-defence - whether a reasonable man KNOWING WHAT THEY KNEW and BELIEVING WHAT THEY BELIEVED would do the same.

    Don't kid yourself that the British did not believe themselves to be under the greatest of threats. Good grief! The city of London ordered 1.25 MILLION coffins in order to deal with expected casualties from German bombing alone. Invasion was considered likely. Hitler was known to be working on wonder-weapons.... In that kind of situation it is far more reasonable to hit back with any means at your disposal, than you are willing to admit.
     
  12. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    I really don't care if you are convinced. I'm speaking to the issue itself, and if your mind is already made up, then it is.

    You can say what you did about most of the actions taken by the Allies, however the question here concerns only one particular one...and it is extremely difficult to objectively argue that the attack on Dresden, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, was anything but an act of terror, not something that had a strategic or military value.

    That's unless you are prepared to argue that every act of terror against civilians is justified because there's always the argument, true or not, that if the people are brutalized sufficiently their government might decide to surrender.

    And what I'm explaining is the judgment of historians, in case you are hoping to argue that I'm just guessing.
     
  13. MrLuther

    MrLuther In the Lord I'll be ever thankful

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    And this would have made sense (still wouldn't have made it right)....if Dresden had happened at the height of the Blitz! It didn't!

    By the time Dresden happened, Germany's defeat was a matter of weeks or months. Care to try again?

    Also, Seelöwe was never going to happen. It could not have worked.
     
  14. Cooch

    Cooch Regular Member

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    I think that that is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, old son.

    So attacking a city descrtibed by an allied POW as "an armed camp" is not of military value?
    Attacking a city which the Werhmacht described as having 127 factories and workshops producing high-value military supplies.... is not of military value.
    Attacking a major transport and support hub for German military is not of military value.
    ...... and diverting increasingly rare resources that might otherwise be used to resist Allied and Russian military efforts is not a military objective..

    I'm not sure that you are being objective at all, if you claim this.


    I am all to familiar with the writings of "historians". Firstly, what you are doing is appealing to authority, which, in itself, is a major logical fallacy.
    Secondly, historians write books in order to get noticed and to sell books. They do not do so by remaining uncontroversial. No historian ever got his name in the papers by simply saying, "They got it right, no argument, let's just move along".
    Thirdly, historians have their own bias, their own "narrative" and not all historians choose to put equal weight upon all factors. That includes the ones that you CHOOSE to regard as authoritative, probably because they confirm your own preferences.

    .......

    So I ask you again, faced with the situation existing at that time in WW2 - including two major enemies that were as yet undefeated. Facing the possibility that millions of your own people would yet be killed, would you deliberately sacrifice your own people just so that you could feel "nice" about not bombing cities?

    As I had a bunch of relatives involved in that war - in various theatres - I do not think highly of your callous disregard to their prospects of surviving the war.
     
  15. Cooch

    Cooch Regular Member

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    All of which is a matter of hindsight - which was not a luxury available at the time.

    and you are wrong..... making sense DOES make it "right". What you believe to be the right thing to do at the time is the right thing to do, even if you subsequently find that your judgement was in error.

    It is far too smug and easy to look back - as you do - without needing to consider what the consequences might be if the Allies did not use every advantage available to them. How many extra Allied deaths are you prepared to toss into the pot, and why is wasting those lives not a crime, too?

    Blunt reality is that the Germans could have avoided casualties that dwarfed those in Dresden, buy simply surrendering. They chose to prolong the war. Do you deny that, too?
     
  16. MrLuther

    MrLuther In the Lord I'll be ever thankful

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    There is nothing in what you have written above that makes Dresden any less of a warcrime. It was a city of refugees without military significance of any kind, and it was annihilated, not for any tactical or strategic reasons, but out of bloodlust, pure and simple.

    If that isn't a warcrime, then Germany's list of warcrimes just grew a lot, lot shorter. THIS is what matters. Your attempts at equivocation do not.
     
  17. SoldierOfTheKing

    SoldierOfTheKing Christian Spenglerian

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    This might have been relevant - were the railroads actually attacked. They only sustained minor damage during the bombing, and as I said in an earlier post, the railroad bridge, one of the few legitimate targets in central Dresden, was left intact.

    If there were any real military advantage in bombing Dresden, it would have been done long before February 1945.

    I would. Germans continued to sustain casualties after the was over. Surrendering didn't stop the terror.
     
  18. Cjwinnit

    Cjwinnit Advocatus Diaboli (Retired)

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    They chose to start the war. They also chose to gas six million Jews and initiate a chain of events that claimed the lives of almost 50 million people and the torture and rape of countless others.
     
  19. SoldierOfTheKing

    SoldierOfTheKing Christian Spenglerian

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    .

    It was Britain that declared war on Germany, not the other way around.
     
  20. MrLuther

    MrLuther In the Lord I'll be ever thankful

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    1: As was pointed out, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
    Rightfully so, to stop Hitler, but still...

    2: The rest of the above is true, but irrelevant.
     
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