Richard Overy: WWII bombing campaigns a costly, brutal failureHistorians in the News
tags: World War II, Richard Overy
THERE are many paradoxes associated with the European bombing campaign of the second world war. In the 1930s it was an article of faith that aerial bombing would transform the nature of war. Not only would the “bomber always get through”, as Stanley Baldwin, then Britain’s de facto prime minister, lamented in 1932, but when it did, the assumption was that it would visit so much destruction on city populations and national economies that any country on the receiving end would quickly be forced to surrender.
Yet when war broke out in 1939 no air force was capable of such devastation. Nor did the general staffs of the main protagonists have plans to use what passed for heavy bombers at the time to carry out such attacks, seeing them as adjuncts to ground warfare rather than forces intended for independent operation. Nearly four years later, even when allied bombers with the range and payload to do serious damage had become available in numbers, only the most blinkered disciples still believed claims that they could deliver a “knockout blow”. The bombing campaign in Europe had become a Western Front of the air: a costly, grinding war of attrition with no clear-cut end and a yawning gap between ambition and outcome...
comments powered by Disqus
- Finding Resilience, 25 Years After 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
- Will Anthony Kennedy Retire?
- All of American history fits in the life span of only three presidents
- A rare copy of the Declaration of Independence survived the Civil War hidden behind wallpaper. Later it was tossed in a box.
- ‘We say now’: The day more than 25,000 Florida teachers resigned over pay and school funding
- History Coalition asks historians to "Urge Your Representative to Join the Congressional History Caucus"
- Dartmouth’s Randall Balmer: Under Trump, America's religious right is rewriting its code of ethics
- Was This Technology historian plagiarized? Sure seems like she was.
- Meet the new authorized historian of Britain's communications intelligence agency
- Lerone Bennett Jr., journalist and historian of African American life, dies at 89