Canadian war museum resists vets' demand to revise statement on WWII strategic bombing campaign

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The Canadian War Museum, refusing to bow any further to demands from several veterans' organizations, has announced it will not change a controversial display that raises questions about the morality and military value of the Allied bombing campaign in Germany during the Second World War.

The decision quickly prompted the Royal Canadian Legion to renew calls for a public boycott of the museum and to ask a Senate committee on veterans affairs to "investigate the matter" -- ensuring a new round of debate in the long-running dispute over the Allies' aerial bombardment of wartime Germany.

A single panel at the heart of the conflict...[reads,] "Mass bomber raids against Germany resulted in vast destruction and heavy loss of life," the disputed panel reads. "The value and morality of the strategic bomber offensive against Germany remains bitterly contested. Bomber Command's aim was to crush civilian morale and force Germany to surrender by destroying its cities and industrial installations. Although Bomber Command and American attacks left 600,000 Germans dead, and more than five million homeless, the raids resulted in only small reductions in German war production until late in the war."

The decision not to alter the panel -- which some Canadian veterans have charged depicts them as "war criminals" -- follows the submission of separate reports on the controversy by four of Canada's leading historians: McGill University's Desmond Morton, Margaret MacMillan of the University of Toronto, the University of Calgary's David Bercuson and Serge Bernier, head of history and heritage at the Department of National Defence.

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