The pilots of Bomber Command cannot be called heroes

Published by carolyn on Mon, 2012-07-09 21:52

Hans Krampe, a German-Canadian, sent out a letter written by another German-Canadian living on the other side of Canada – Walter Ruthard – and it is such a great letter that I am posting it here. It was written in response to an editorial in the Daily Mail by Peter Hitchens. Ruthard lived through the bombing and knows of what he speaks.

Don't confuse Peter Hitchens wih Christopher Hitchens, his brother, who was famous and recently died. This article by Peter Hitchens seeks to pin all the blame on Bomber Harris, none on Winston Churchill who led the British war effort -- keeping Harris in place and approving of what he was doing. Hitchens engages in typical scapegoating with the goal of covering up rather than exposing the truth, thus retaining a patriotic narrative for the folk. ~CY

The Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London, which was unveiled by the Queen Thursday, June 28.

Dear Mr. Hitchens,    [email protected]

I am referring to your column “The heroes of Bomber Command deserve their memorial... unlike the butcher who led them”, which was published in The Daily Mail Online on June 30th , 2012 and updated on July 1st , 2012 and which I received today,  July 6th, 2012.To me as a German who survived the treatment meted out by Bomber Command, it is indeed interesting to read what you, a Briton, have to say about these dreadful years although you did not live during the time of the nightly terror attacks on German cities.<--break->However, I am surprised about your rather polite interpretation of the events that led to the Second World War and especially to the fight between the British and the Germans. Other Britons are not so civil when, as you write, “the football crowds who crudely chant Bomber Harris’ name to tease modern Germans”. Ah, yes, “Sir Harris” the knighted war criminal, also known as “Butcher Harris”:

“No doubt he had been brave in his time...”. Brave? Already in the early 20th century he established his reputation of a ruthless
terrorist during the Iraqi uprisings against British rule. At that
time he was the commander of the 45th squadron of the Royal Air Force in Iraq. Together with Winston Churchill, who was Minister of War in 1919, he expressed the idea of forcing the rebellious Iraqis to surrender to the Empire’s wishes by attacking them with bombs and gas! Churchill himself wrote: “I do not understand the opposition against the use of gas. I am very much in favour of employing poison gas against uncivilized tribes.” And: “It is not necessary for the gas to be deadly but it must cause great pain and spread extensive terror.” After a bombing raid in 1924, Harris noted: “Arabs and Kurds
have begun to believe that if they could tolerate a bit of noise,
they could also bear being bombarded and still be able to negotiate. They now know what real bombardment means in terms of losses and devastation. They now know that within 45 minutes a whole village can be eliminated and a third of its inhabitants killed or maimed by four or five airplanes which don’t present a real target to shoot at and which don’t give them a chance to fight like brave warriors or take flight.” Later, after realizing that the inhabitants often were running away when a British plane approached, they used time fuse bombs which killed the fugitives after their return to their houses.

This is also what Sir Harris, the nobleman, and his criminal air
crews did to German civilians!

Now, Mr. Hitchens, please tell me where was the bravery in Butcher Harris’ and Winston Churchill’s long and honourable military careers? There, in Iraq, they tested what they perfected in WW II on a much grander scale.

“To this day, few British people know what we actually did to
Germany. We know of and are rightly angered by the Luftwaffe attack on Coventry and by the London Blitz.”

Well, here are some more facts that are kept from you, and maybe after checking them out, you could extend your anger against Bomber Command and its criminal bosses:

September 5, 1939 the British attacked Altendeich near Wilhelmshaven with one bomb;
September 29, 1939 they attacked Vechta with one bomb;
December 3, 1939 they attacked the coast of Helgoland with 21 bombs;
December 12, 1939 they attacked Borkum with five bombs;
December 14, 1939 they attacked Sylt with five bombs;
December 18, 1939 they attacked Borkum with seven bombs, Juist five bombs and Amrum five bombs;
December 20, 1939 they attacked Hörnum near Sylt with 3 bombs;
December 21, 1939 they attacked Rantum near Sylt with four bombs.

And this was only the beginning. I could go on and on. In order
not to stress your attention too much, I now will quote your own
Undersecretary of State, Spaight, the foremost authority on  the law of air warfare, who wrote in his book  Bombing  Vindicated,
published  in London in 1944:

“We  began bombing  targets in Germany before  the  Germans  did  so in England. That is a historical fact that has also been publicly admitted. We sacrificed  London, because the  retribution was certain. It is not absolutely positive, but nevertheless very likely, that the  Germans  would  not  have  attacked  London and the industrial  area. Germany sought a moratorium in the bombing war whenever there seemed to be the slightest chance of  such.”

And another British historian in Oxford, A.J.P. Taylor, wrote this:

“The British initiative (for the air war) is perfectly clear. The
German bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam was part of a military campaign, an expansion of a previous shelling of defended cities. The Blitz (the German air raids on London) began only after the British had already bombed German cities for five months.”

And to round this up, read what another British nobleman had to say:

Sir Hartley Shawcross, chief British prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, remarked recently on a British TV program, that at the time of the trials, he found himself wishing that the "great Allied war criminals" be put on trial. Sir Hartley has also been quoted as saying that neither Adolf Hitler nor the German people ever planned or wished for World War 2".
Source: “Spotlight”, February 17, 1997, p. 13.

And he also said this:

“Step by step, I have arrived at the conviction that the aims of
communism in Europe are sinister and fatal. At the Nuremberg Trials, I, together with my Russian colleague, condemned Nazi aggression and terror. I believe now that Hitler and the German people did not want war. But we declared war on Germany, intent on destroying it in accordance with our principle of balance of power, and we were encouraged by the ‘Americans’ around Roosevelt. We ignored Hitler’s plea not to enter into war. Now we are forced to realize that Hitler was right. He offered us the co-operation of Germany; instead, since
1945, we have been facing the immense power of the Soviet Empire. I feel ashamed and humiliated to see that the aims we accused Hitler of, are being relentlessly pursued now, only under a different label.”
Source: The British Attorney General Sir Hartley Shawcross in a
speech at Stourbridge in March 16, 1984 (AP).

So, there is no reason for you and the British people to be angry at the Germans for bombing Coventry on November 15, 1940 and the “Blitz” because “you asked for it”. The attacks on defenceless German civilians and cities were planned and executed by the British. 2,050,000 German civilians died in those terror attacks according to the Zurich paper Die Tat.

This is what your “very best, brightest and bravest young  men in
Britain, the Commonwealth and the Allied countries” accomplished. Look around you, Mr. Hitchens, and you will see a world that was made possible by your “very best, brightest and bravest young men in Britain, the Commonwealth and the Allied countries. This is the England  they “fought” for. And for what? No German ever threatened you. But you, their descendants, now have to live in it with its glory of boundless crime, brought in from your former colonies, unemployment and the real Britons marginalized and afraid to go out at night. As you said: “they asked for it”. Not the Germans, no, not the Germans! “They devastated the following German cities, ”... not just Hamburg and Dresden but  dozens of lesser cities.” 
Here are a few of the “dozens of lesser cities”:

Berlin, Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, Dresden, Frankfurt/Main, Nuremberg, Düsseldorf, Hannover, Bremen, Wuppertal, Vienna, Duisburg, Munich, Magdeburg, Leipzig, Mannheim, Stuttgart, Kiel, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Aachen, Würzburg, Darmstadt, Krefeld, Münster, Mönchen Gladbach, Braunschweig, Ludwigshafen, Remscheid, Pforzheim, Osnabrück, Mainz,
Bielefeld, Gießen, Düren, Solingen, Wilhelmshaven, Karlsruhe,
Oberhausen, Heilbronn, Augsburg, Hamm, Knittelfeld, Lüneburg,
Cuxhaven, Kulmbach, Hagen, Saarbrücken, Freiburg, Graz, Koblenz, Ulm, Bonn, Bremerhaven, Wanne-Eickel, Worms, Lübeck, Schweinfurt, Kleve, Wiener Neustadt, Wiesbaden, Paderborn, Bocholt, Hanau, Hildesheim, Emden, Siegen, Pirmasens, Halle, Bayreuth, Kreuznach, Witten,
Aschaffenburg, Kaiserslautern, Gladbeck, Dorsten, Insbruck,
Neumünster, Linz, Klagenfurt, Reutlingen, Recklingshausen, Reuel, Regensburg, Homburg, Elmshorn, Wetzlar, Villach, Hameln, Königsberg, Moers, Passau, Solbad Hall I.T, Coburg, Attnang-Puchheim, Friedrichshafen, Frankfurt/Oder, Danzig, Bozen, Chemnitz, Rostock, Schwerte, Plauen, Bad Kreuznach, etc., etc.

“I don’t call this a ‘war crime’ because the phrase is more  or less
meaningless. As those who have actually fought in wars know, all war is crime, mixed with hell. The question is whether it can possibly be justified. Nor do I (as some liars will immediately claim) in any way compare it with the crimes of the Germans against the Jews. The two are not remotely equivalent and anyone who says so is a fool and a scoundrel.”

This is typical English pious platitude. A war crime is a war crime
no matter who committed it, even if they were English bomber pilots and their masters Harris and Churchill. There is no question about it. Only the vanquished were brought to “justice” by the glorious and ever so guiltless victors. And, of course, you have to mention the so-called Holocaust. It sounds like you have to please some authorities that have impaled your  rational thinking and made you aware that your career depends on you behaving like a docile pupil. I think it is impossible for an Englishman to grasp the possibility that there was no Holocaust at all. That is the power of propaganda and you fell for it like untold millions of others. It is a pity that you as a journalist, having enjoyed an investigative training, are still incapable of seeing through a monstrous lie.

“The [their] death rate was an appalling 44 per cent – 55,573 of them gone for ever, and our ill-led, sloppy and declining country has felt their loss every day since. Heaven knows it is time their sacrifice, and the equal bravery of those who survived, was marked. A medal would be nice, too.”

For every Allied airman killed, there were 37 Germans murdered by them. Now, who has more reason to be angry? There were also Canadian bomber pilots over German cities trying their best to kill Germans.
Recently, one of them boasted publicly that he killed 50,000 Germans and that he is proud of it. And there is this English nobleman, John
T. Saxon, Esq., of  Lake Worth, Fla. who in his letter to the Barnes Review (May 1997, p. 31) proudly announced this:

“... as the captain of a Lancaster heavy bomber, having witnessed the destruction of English cities, I was delighted to partake in 91 bombing missions, including the fire bombing of both Hamburg and Dresden, and I would happily go back and do the same all over again. ... Speaking of myself, and many other crews, we were delighted when the met (meteorology) boys forecast strong winds, in any direction over a major German city, and immediately changed our bomb load to one Tall Boy (a 10-ton bomb of high explosives plus two tons of small incendiary bombs, dropped at the same time.) The catastrophic results were almost guaranteed; ask the citizens of Hamburg, of whom over 2 million trudged out of the city over a period of months to get away from the firestorms. We saw them from the air,
endless miles of people running away from the firestorm, and we had no sympathy for them then, or now. They started it, and we replied in kind, with far greater bombs, and better fire ignitions. I visited both Hamburg, Wilhelmshaven, Dresden, Essen and other cities we paid a visit to, after the war, and saw the destruction which the firestorms inflicted upon the German population, and I lost no sleep over it at all. ... The Germans asked for it, and we gave it o them, good and strong. In war, to achieve victory, you must be ruthless, or you will end up speaking German for a long time.”

Now, Mr. Hitchens, these were your “... bomber boys [who] did what they believed was their duty and asked few questions.”  Yes, they delighted in what they were doing, the “brightest and bravest young men in Britain”. Today, Canadian veterans of Bomber Command get riled up when it is suggested that their activities were war crimes. They need not fear; it never ever happened that an Allied war criminal was brought to justice and it will never happen. That is reserved for Germans only. And “lesser” people like Irakis, Afghans, Libyans and more.

You do not have to believe what I just wrote but you owe it to
yourself to prove me wrong. Can you do it? I do not think so.


Walter Ruthard