Spaight J. M. - Bombing vindicated

Author : Spaight J. M.
Title : Bombing vindicated
Year : 1944

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The Bomber and Aggression. 'The bomber saves civilisation': my first chapter heading may strike some readers as a paradox, possibly as a perversion of the truth, at best as an overstatement made for the purpose of calling attention to what I have to say. It is nothing of the kind. I am not trying to shock or to bamboozle the reader. I am stating the truth as the truth appears to me. The bomber is the saver of civilisation. We have not grasped that fact as yet, mainly because we are slaves to pre-conceived conceptions about air warfare. Air warfare is the dog with a bad name. The bad name is, on the whole, a calumny. This book is an attempt to rehabilitate it, not against the facts of the case but because of the facts of the case. Civilisation, I believe firmly, would have been destroyed if there had been no bombing in this war. It was the bomber aircraft which, more than any other instrument of war, prevented the forces of evil from prevailing. It was supposed to be the chosen instrument of aggression. Actually, it was precisely the opposite. Aggression would have had a clearer run if there had been no bombers—on either side. And the greatest contribution of the bomber both to the winning of the war and the cause of peace is still to come. This view of mine, I feel entitled to add, is no newly formed one. For twenty years or more I have believed, and written, that air power was very far from being the menace to civilisation which it was commonly supposed to be. I have no need in this particular matter to cry Peccavi—as I have, alas! in some others. Air power never was and is not now the villain of the piece in war. 'Air power', some reader may say. 'Yes, in so far as it is represented by the fighters it is the defender of civilisation; but how can you pretend that the bombers save civilisation?' I agree about the fighters. They saved the cause of freedom in the battle of Britain. What they did then is acknowledged by all. Their fame is immortal. So, too, should be that of the bombers, whose rôle as preservers rather than wreckers is less well understood. It is assuredly in no spirit of disparagement of the magnificent record of the fighters that I emphasise here the no less superb and no less important rôle which the other branch of our Air Force played in the great drama of war which we have been witnessing, and that I insist upon the essentially defensive character of that branch's activities. ...

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Balder Ex-Libris