Overy Richard - The bombers and the bombed

Author : Overy Richard
Title : The bombers and the bombed Allied air war over Europe 1940-1945
Year : 2013

Link download : Overy_Richard_-_The_bombers_and_the_bombed.zip

Preface. Between 1939 and 1945 hundreds of European cities and hundreds more small townships and villages were subjected to aerial bombing. During the course of the conflict a staggering estimate of around 600,000 European civilians were killed by bomb attack and well over a million more were seriously injured, in some cases physically or mentally disabled for life. The landscape of much of Europe was temporarily transformed into a vision of ruin as complete as the dismal relics of the once triumphant Roman Empire. To anyone wandering through the devastated urban wastelands immediately after the end of the war, the most obvious question to ask was: How could this ever have been agreed to? Then a second thought: How would Europe ever recover? These are not the questions usually asked about the bombing war. That bombing would be an integral part of future war had been taken for granted by most Europeans and Americans in the late 1930s after watching Japan’s war in China and air operations in the Spanish Civil War; it would have seemed almost inconceivable that states should willingly forgo the most obvious instrument of total war. Technology shapes the nature of all wars, but the Second World War more than most. Once the bombing weapon had been unleashed, its potential was unpredictable. The ruins of Europe in 1945 were mute testament to the remorseless power of bombing and the inevitability of escalation. Yet the remarkable thing is that European cities did indeed recover in the decade that followed and became the flourishing centers of the consumer boom released by the postwar economic miracle. To anyone walking along the boulevards and shopping precincts of modern cities in Germany, Italy, or Britain, it now seems inconceivable that only seventy years ago they were the unwitting objects of violent aerial assault. In Europe only the fate of Belgrade at the hands of NATO air forces in 1999 is a reminder that bombing has continued to be viewed as a strategy of choice by the Western world. Most of the history written about the bombing offensives in Europe focuses on two different questions: What were the strategic effects of bombing, and was it moral? The two have been linked more often in recent accounts, on the assumption that something that is strategically unjustifiable must also be ethically dubious, and vice versa. These arguments have generated as much heat as light, but the striking thing is that they have generally relied on a shallow base of evidence, still culled in the most part from the official histories and postwar surveys of the bombing war, and focused almost entirely on the bombing of Germany and Britain. ...

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