Why did WWII happen ? - Page 8




 
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March 29th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redcoat
No
My Quick Response:

(1) Strategic bombing refers to the independent use of airpower to defeat an enemy. The German high command in WWI/ WWII did not employ airships or bombers to force a military decision. The action was political. The Germans did NOT develop strategic bombing. There were no conceptions or weapon systems capable of decisively defeating the enemy. The bombing of Warsaw, Rotterdam or London (WWI/WWII) was a curious mixture of standard artillery conceptions and political terror. The Allies, on the other hand, aimed at a host of critical industrial nodes such as transportation targets, oil refineries, fixed nitrogen synthesis facilities, etc. in order to immobilize the war economy. Harris decided to attack German civilians (dehousing) primarily because of the failure of the RAF to stop production. Bomber Command had planned and carried out attacks on industry. Show me how the Germans developed and instituted a similar policy. [Not just raids against London by airships developed for a tactical role against the British Navy. That these attacks influenced Trenchard to pursue the development of strategic bombing cannot be doubted, however.]

(2) If you look at some of the books that I cited in a previous post, you will notice that terror or morale bombing occupied British and American thinking long before 1940. It in fact frightened the hell out of Americans and Europeans during the 1920s and 1930s. As part of the German rearmament plan, for example, a whole series of bunkers were constructed. I agree that the Luftwaffe introduced many of the night bombing techniques, but their strategic conceptions were far more primitive than those of Britain and the United States...even prior to the war. The German developments related to the speed with which the German general staff and operational planners reacted to changing battlefield conditions. This speed should not be confused with responsibility. The British were just much slower.

(3) The argument of who "started" strategic bombing is seriously flawed. Frederick Taylor is just rehashing old arguments. The bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam (most other examples in fact) represented the extension of tactical bombing and were NOT strategic in nature. Warsaw was turned into a fortress by the Poles and bombed in a manner akin to artillery. Rotterdam sat astride the German line of advance. [The order to recall the bombers came too late, unfortunately] London was an expression of German general strategic failure and impotence. The original bombing of England represented preparations for the landing and were tactical in nature...like the transfer of Bomber Command/8th Air Force to the bombing of Normandy targets in 1944...Something the strategic bombing pundits considered a mistake at the time.

(4) The British launched a host of strategic attacks against German industry in 1939 and 1940. These attacks, most of which experienced extremely high attrition rates, were a total failure owing to German radar, etc. Ops were suspended and the pundits were forced to rethink strategy. This timelag/failure should not constitute an excuse for the "just war" theorists. Historians rarely mention these operations...oddly enough. It seems that they mix up city saturation bombing with strategic bombing [killing civilians is only one small part of the program]. The British strategic bombing program did not begin after mid-1940. It started immediately after the outbreak of war.

In any case, Hitler's bombing of London, as everyone knows, was a consequence of the BC attack on Berlin. Churchill had hoped to elicit precisely this response from Hitler. In any case, it does not matter who started what or when. Any attempt to answer this question will degenerate into an argument concerning the differences between tactical/strategic operations. MY POINT: The allies developed a strategic bombing force independently of Hitler or even Germany (technically...because the envisioned enemy always remained Germany]. This program called for the utilization of airpower to defeat industry. The Germans did not.

(5) It was Iraq of course...sorry.

(6) Roosevelt had no business interfering in European affairs. The American "Monroe Doctrine" held Europeans out of American affairs. The same should have been expected of the USA. The USA was in any case not a member of the League of Nations. If Roosevelt was so against strategic bombing, why develop the B-17 and Norton bombsight?
March 29th, 2006  
Missileer
 
 
[quote=Ollie Garchy) If Roosevelt was so against strategic bombing, why develop the B-17 and Norton bombsight?[/quote]

Norden, and because we were just such inventive little rascals.
March 29th, 2006  
redcoat
 
 
Quote:
.
(1) Strategic bombing refers to the independent use of airpower to defeat an enemy. The German high command in WWI/ WWII did not employ airships or bombers to force a military decision. The action was political. The Germans did NOT develop strategic bombing
Your definition is too narrow.
The aim of strategic bombing to undermine a nation-state's ability to wage war, historically as a part of a total war strategy. This is exactly the policy that Germany attempted to use in 1915-17 .
Quote:
(4) The British launched a host of strategic attacks against German industry in 1939 and 1940. These attacks, most of which experienced extremely high attrition rates, were a total failure owing to German radar, etc. Ops were suspended and the pundits were forced to rethink strategy. This timelag/failure should not constitute an excuse for the "just war" theorists. Historians rarely mention these operations...oddly enough.
Thats because there were no attacks on the German mainland until May 11/12 1940, before then the only attacks on German territory had been against the German fleet at Wilhelmshaven, and even with these, the pilots were instructed not to bomb if the ships were too close to land for fear of causing civilian casualties, and on occasion, they did return without bombing due to this.



Quote:
There were no conceptions or weapon systems capable of decisively defeating the enemy. The bombing of Warsaw, Rotterdam or London (WWI/WWII) was a curious mixture of standard artillery conceptions and political terror. The Allies, on the other hand, aimed at a host of critical industrial nodes such as transportation targets, oil refineries, fixed nitrogen synthesis facilities, etc. in order to immobilize the war economy.
Only after the German attack on Rotterdam. Before then they had been forbidden to attack targets within Germany,
Quote:
Harris decided to attack German civilians (dehousing) primarily because of the failure of the RAF to stop production. Bomber Command had planned and carried out attacks on industry.
Only in Mid 1942 , when he took command of Bomber Command, long after the London Blitz which had been an attempt to force the British to surrender through air attack alone.


Quote:
In any case, Hitler's bombing of London, as everyone knows, was a consequence of the BC attack on Berlin. Churchill had hoped to elicit precisely this response from Hitler
No. Churchill ordered the bombing of military related targets around Berlin as a public relations exercise for the benefit of the British public. To show that if they bombed our capital, we would bomb theirs.



Quote:
MY POINT: The allies developed a strategic bombing force independently of Hitler or even Germany (technically...because the envisioned enemy always remained Germany]. This program called for the utilization of airpower to defeat industry. The Germans did not.
MY POINT .
The allies, especially the British, developed strategic bombing as a direct result of the German bombing of Britain in WW1
Quote:
. If Roosevelt was so against strategic bombing, why develop the B-17 and Norton bombsight?
The original idea behind the B-17 in the early 30s was as a long range bomber to attack any naval forces threatening to attack American shores, not strategic bombing
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March 30th, 2006  
boris116
 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie Garchy
OK. There can be little doubt on that one. I agree.

I just wonder how much of the Soviet economy was devoted to armaments during the 1920s and 1930s. Does anyone know? I have also had trouble finding info. relating to the Soviet OB in 1941. Anyone know a good link or citation?

Ollie Garchy
I will ask my Russian friends if they know any such sites.
However, I should warn that the Soviet statistics was a very tricky animal
March 30th, 2006  
boris116
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redcoat
Kindly explain how coming to a secret agreement with Germany on the carve up of Eastern european nations, 'provoked' Hitler.
If you read Mein Kampt, you would realise he didn't need any provoking.
I don't have a book, but from memory, I could recall Suvorov's logic as such:

1. Stalin has offered his help to Hitler which may pushed tha later to the brink of the World War. In the same time, being, in fact, an ally of Hitlerite Germany, the USSR has nominally remained as the ENEMY of Axis(aka Anti-Comintern Pact). This, as well as conspicious 17 day delay in invading Poland) has helped Stalin to avoid being painted as agressor and initiator of the WWII. All infamy has been left to Hitler....
2. According to Suvorov, Stalin have had total confidence that the war between Germany and the USSR was imminent. But he didn't want to fight it alone. He needed the West to help him, which was unthinkable in the 1930s. How to achieve this goal - to make them fight each other. And join the fight on his own terms... The last provision has not happened - Hitler had striken first, but just the fact that Germany had to fight on 2 fronts was a huge achievement for Stalin. In this sense, the Grat Patriotic War has been won in winter 1941 - where the Germans have been repelled from Moscow AND the USA have joined the Allies
March 30th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
 
 
A CHANGE OF OPINION: [I looked at Terraine's "A Time For Courage".]

(Thanks guys for the good comments! Also, please remember that most of my posts are written using my increasingly bad memory. I do not want to waste time checking everything.)

A SERIES OF OBSERVATIONS:

(1) SIMULTANEOUS GER/BR INTEREST IN TACTICAL NIGHT OPS: Night operations began to interest Bomber Command after December 1939. The "success" of No. 4 Group in dropping propaganda leaflets at night, low losses that stood in stark contrast to those groups operating in daylight against the German fleet on the coast, convinced BC to rethink policy. This rethinking was undertaken. German night actions, such as the bombing of Scapa Flow, helped influence the change.

(2) BOMBER COMMAND OPS AGAINST GER FLEET: Bomber Command operated moreorless exclusively against coastal targets in 1939/early 1940. John Terraine points out that the quasi-gentleman's agreement not to bomb cities helped save BC from a repeat of the "charge of the light brigade". That is, BC still focused on the "knockout blow", but the bombers were held back by a list of constraints.

(3) EARLY BR SUPPORT FOR STRAT BOMBING: The British Cabinet decided to initiate strategic air attacks against the Ruhr during the German invasion of France. A passage from John Terraine's book on BC is appropriate:

"It remained only for Churchill to sum up what was evidently a united Cabinet opinion in delivering a hard blow at Germany:

'He considered that the proposed operations would cut Germany at its tap root, and was hopeful that they might even provide an immediate contribution to the land battle. They should dispel French doubts about our willingness to suffer and also have a salutary effect on Italy. Finally, he considered that this was the psychological moment to strike Germany in her own country and convince the German people that we had both the will and the power to hit them hard. He accordingly suggested that operations should be carried out that evening.'

Pausing only to ask Duff Cooper to arrange that 'discreet reference should be made in the press to the killing of civilians in France and the Low Countries' by the Germany -- without, of course, any reference to the possibility of British retaliation, Churchill then steered the War Cabinet

'to authorize the Chief of the Air Staff to order Bomber Command to carry out attacks on suitable military objectives (including marshalling yards and oil refineries) in the Ruhr as well as elsewhere in Germany; and that these attacks should begin at night with approximately 100 heavy bombers.'

For the RAF representatives, this was a moment of consummation; Ironside tells us:

'I never saw anything so light up as the faces of the RAF when they heard that they were to be allowed to bomb oil refineries in the Ruhr. It did one good to see it. They have built their big bombers for this work and they have been keyed up for the work ever since the war began. Now they have got the chance'." (Terraine, p. 143)

AN IMPORTANT POINT: BC began it's "private war" against German industry that evening. It is yet another horrific example of how the British government abandoned the French state. Instead of tactical daylight or night attacks against German troop concentrations, supply lines, etc., Churchill's government redirected the bombers to pursue a longterm strategy of industrial attrition. There should not be any doubt here. Terraine clearly explains that the Ruhr campaign did not influence the fighting in France. The cabinet's illusions were only feable excuses...excuses that surface time and time again.

This brings up another point. The French government influenced the British decision to hold the bombers. The French reasoning was simple. The Luftwaffe could have retaliated by sending the bomber streams against Paris...a logical action if we regard the experiences of 1871/1914. The abandoning of their French ally allowed Britain to ignore this constraint. The timing of Churchill's decision (prior to the French surrender) was extremely cynical.

(4) CHURCHILL & MORALITY: Churchill had no illusions of the nature of strategic bombing. The prime minister argued in 1940 for a "knock-out blow" (the concept developed during the 1930s) using "absolutely devastating, EXTERMINATING attack". (emphasis mine) (Terraine, p. 260.) This philosophy cannot be reduced to the simple formula of "Germany started it".

(5) OVERALL RESPONSIBILITY: In leafing through Terraine's book, I do not get any indication of the "morality game"...ie., the attempt to place blame on either side for initiating the terror bombing of civilians. Instead, Terraine hints that the plans to kill women and children (on both sides) developed from a complex mixture of prewar planning, wartime events, and crude and escalating demands for retaliation. Seen in this way, the brutality of terror/ strategic bombing is similar to other darker episodes of WWII like the killing of POWs on the eastern front. [Doctrine or ideology combined with actual experience to increase the willingness to commit atrocities].

CONCLUSION: This framework fits well with my previous comments concerning the murky origins of WWII. I therefore retreat from any impressions that Britain alone held responsbility for the outbreak of terror bombing. Both sides used the other's bombing raids to justify their actions...actions that were intended from the outset. That the German Luftwaffe did not develop an adequate strategic bombing doctrine or capable weapons systems should not deflect attention from the desire to terrorize civilians and force the enemy to surrender. Nor should anyone hold Warsaw, Rotterdam or Coventry as events that fundamentally altered Bomber Command's "private war". Bomber Command clearly upheld a doctrine of saturation or carpet bombing that did not distinguish between military and civilian targets. Civilian targets (like marshalling yards, rail stations, and houses) in fact formed the basic target.
March 30th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
 
 
IN RESPONSE TO REDCOAT:

The argument that Britain developed strategic bombing because of German WWI bombing is a poor one. This logic has no validity because it is extremly general and could be applied to every weapons system. Did the Germans develop battleships because of the "Dreadnought"? Sure. But technological developments are a part of life. Did the Americans and Soviets develop rocket technology because of Wehrner von Braun and Germany? Sure. But rockets were a good weapons system and could not be ignored. Did the Germans develop tanks because of British efforts during WWI. Sure. But none of this has any moral dimension. Furthermore, doctrine is another matter altogether.

The causal relationship between WWI Germany and WWII bombing is correct but useless in explaining anything other than an utterly ridiculous concept of moral responsibility. It is like saying that the Romans are to blame for slavery or the chinese for using gunpowder.

I am not sure, but I think that you are trying to suggest that the terror bombing of Germany can be attributed to WWI German air operations. I disagree. German WWI air operations can themselves be indirectly attributed to pre-20th Century artillery bombardment. Cities suffered under siege conditions. "Softening" up a target, or terrorizing the civilian population is a traditional method of war as old as war itself. The Germans only "enhanced" the concept in WWI. I am going to look into this subject. I suspect that Allied air operations on the western front (ie. in Alsace-Lorraine) probably targetted German villages and towns and therefore predate the German attacks against Britain. [The same could be true for Belgium/France in relation to the Germans] It is possible that the German high command adopted the viewpoint of Bomber Command in WWI...ie. we have to hit Britain and demonstrate defiance.

And, after reading Terraine, the British attacks against the German coast (which included such targets as the airfields at Wangerooge and not just naval vessels] led to civilian deaths because of the nature of strategic bombing. I, however, want to avoid the whole argument for the reasons stated in the previous post.

[I could mention a lot more. In reference to the B-17, you just have to account for doctrine. Billy Mitchell's work (that was similar to Trenchard and Douhet regarding terror) mattered. The "naval issue" helped the bombing pundits generate popular, political and fiscal support for bombers. The military has to justify expenditures and they develop a range of ideas for these purposes. This last point is hotly debated in connection to post-1945 developments...ie. what and who caused the Cold War].

[Lastly, the view in connection to British strategic bombing doctrine is just plain impossible to defend. You state: "Only after the German attack on Rotterdam. Before then they had been forbidden to attack targets within Germany". The attack on naval/ air targets in 1939/1940 refutes this point. You mention that yourself. There were more operations than just Wilhelmshaven...which is on the German mainland.]
March 30th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boris116
I will ask my Russian friends if they know any such sites.
However, I should warn that the Soviet statistics was a very tricky animal
Thanks Boris! And by the way, I appreciate the point concerning Soviet stats. They really are a "very tricky animal".
March 30th, 2006  
LeEnfield
 
 
Ollie....Your post of the 29/3/06
[1] Germany did start the terror bombing campaign with the Zeppelin Airships in WW1 which flew at such a height that fighters of the day could reach them at first.
[2] The German development on bombing techniques was pioneered by the Germans who would send out radio wave from to different radio transmitters, when the bombers found a change in the pulses coming from their radios they knew that they were over the target. This system was used on the Coventry raid with great success. After this raid Britain learnt how to bend those radio waves so that the bombers would mis their target.
[4] In 1939 and the early part of 1940 Britain had no bomber of any note, raids were carried out using the Bombay and the Whitley. The fast light bomber like the Blenheim had already been shot to pieces trying to do daylight raids and it was not until the mid 1940 did the Wellington bomber start coming on line and we did not have any four engine bombers at this stage. Churchill ordered the bombing of Berlin after the Luftwaffe had bombed London.
[6] Why shouldn't America design and build weapons that could be used for both defence and attack, or are you suggesting that they should have just sat their and done nothing until it was to late.
March 31st, 2006  
boris116
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie Garchy
Thanks Boris! And by the way, I appreciate the point concerning Soviet stats. They really are a "very tricky animal".
Оllie et al,

here are the numbers I have promised. They have been taken from the article by Dr. Mikhail Mukhin "Evolution of the Soviet Military Industry in 1921-1941 and the change of it's priorities"

http://www.rkka.ru/analys/oboronka/oboronka.htm

Here is my translation of the excerpt:

"From the moment of her creation, the Soviet Union had been preparing for the Big War. which neccesitated the permanent development and expansion of the Soviet military industry. Over time, the "oboronka"(defense industry) has become a huge industrial complex. In the end of the 30-s - early 30-s it was consuming up to 9-10% of GDP.
By the late 30-s it's share was about 30% of GDP"