Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dresden and Gaza

A person I know to be intelligent, educated and serious, even though he's of the looniest of our loony left, writes to tell me the images coming out of Gaza remind him of Dresden, "and what do they remind you of, Yaacov?"

Not of Dresden.

In the late 1930s, while preparing themselves for an aggressive war against everyone in their way, the German Wehrmacht developed the doctrine of destroying cities from the air as an essential element in demoralizing enemies. They experimented in the Spanish civil war, the most famous case being Guernica in 1937, a village of 5,000 where they killed at least 250 people on one day. In 1939 they applied the doctrine to the cities of Poland. In 1940 they destroyed the center of Rotterdam in neutral Netherlands, killing 800 civilians and destroying the homes of 80,000 in one day. Then they turned to the British Isles and launched the Battle of Britian, which was based almost entirely on bombing civilian populations.

The British, joined later by the Americans, bombed back. In 1943 the British accidentally invented the firestorm: on a bombing attack on Hamburg they dropped so many incendiary bombs that the conflagration took on a power of its own, and the resulting inferno was far more destructive than anything the RAF had planned on. No-one had known such a thing was even possible; now they knew. The Germans had, quite literally, sown the wind and reaped the firestorm.

In February 1945 British and American planes quite purposefully created a firestorm in Dresden. In two days much of the city was destroyed, and a minimum of 24,000 people were killed, but perhaps as many as 40,000. Since many of the bodies were totally incinerated, there was no way to count.

The only way to see a resemblance between Dresden and Gaza is by being willfully and maliciously blind to common sense.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is no comparison between Dresden and Gaza, but I think you got some facts not up to date (see at the end of the comment)
As to bombings from the air as an urban German I also have an automatic panic reaction when any bombing occurs, not just areal bombings, anything coming from the sky which naturally includes Qassams.
When the US bombed Ghaddafi's palace way back then I felt so frightened probably because the news said that his little daughter was killed that I decided to do something about this knee-jerk of mine. It took some time and some thinking and the horror is still there but now I am able to look at it rationally at the same time -
mostly because I realized that had the Allies not bombed urbanites into a state where they wanted undisturbed nights of sleep much more than being Herrenmenschen the disziplination into democracy could not have been as successful - instead there probably would have been established pockets of resistance. Look at the pictures of people in cities bombed into rubble cheering the arrival of the allied troops. They knew back then in those first days that they had been bombed for a very good reason.

My doubts about your facts:
I believe I remember that the fire storm technique was not discovered accidentally but was a goal the militaries pursued at the time, the Germans as well as the British. The British got there ahead but I even seem to remember that the tactic was originally a German brain child.
I believe that you have got your casualty numbers on Dresden wrong. Recent recounts have resulted in much lower figures.
rgds,
Silke

Anonymous said...

There is no comparison between Dresden and Gaza, but I think you got some facts not up to date (see at the end of the comment)
As to bombings from the air as an urban German I also have an automatic panic reaction when any bombing occurs, not just areal bombings, anything coming from the sky which naturally includes Qassams.
When the US bombed Ghaddafi's palace way back then I felt so frightened probably because the news said that his little daughter was killed that I decided to do something about this knee-jerk of mine. It took some time and some thinking and the horror is still there but now I am able to look at it rationally at the same time -
mostly because I realized that had the Allies not bombed urbanites into a state where they wanted undisturbed nights of sleep much more than being Herrenmenschen the disziplination into democracy could not have been as successful - instead there probably would have been established pockets of resistance. Look at the pictures of people in cities bombed into rubble cheering the arrival of the allied troops. They knew back then in those first days that they had been bombed for a very good reason.

My doubts about your facts:
I believe I remember that the fire storm technique was not discovered accidentally but was a goal the militaries pursued at the time, the Germans as well as the British. The British got there ahead but I even seem to remember that the tactic was originally a German brain child.
I believe that you have got your casualty numbers on Dresden wrong. Recent recounts have resulted in much lower figures.
rgds,
Silke

Anonymous said...

The similarity between Dresden and Gaza is the lack of bunkers for the civil polulation. Last major researches name the casualty numbers to 18000

http://www.g-geschichte.de/News-Zeitgeschichte/18000-Tote-Dresdner-Luftangriffe-forderten-weniger-Opfer.html

Michael P. said...

Deborah Lipstadt once wrote that the person responsible for inflating the casualty figures for Dresden was none other than David Irving. Her post is here.

Anonymous said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

No! No! No!

Dresden AND the London BLITZ! That's the comparison. And, attached to these two events are Winston Churchill's WORDS:

IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO TEACH THE GERMANS A LESSON THEY WON'T FORGET!

Remember this, they've already forgotten hitler.

Anonymous said...

isn't Gaza full of tunnels - they could have been put to good use if Hamas had been willing to remove their explosives
In Nuremberg the best place to hide from the bombs was under the medieval Wall around the town - it doesn't need special bunkers, it just needs a reasonably strong place underground.
And yes Dresden and the Blitz are the real comparisons and do not forget Rotterdam
rgds,
Silke

Anonymous said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Actually, the tunnels in gaza held munitions. And, in once case, which the IDF has filmed; they destroyed a tunnel they found in the middle of a field. And, far away a house blew up.

I'm sure there are plenty of arabs in gaza who shake in their boots.

It's one reason the level of antisemitism is so high!

Let me help you out.

Today, the saud's again said their stinking plans are on the table, "but only for a short time." This, believe it or not, gains them traction with the press. Even in Israel, where no one can see through the charade.

Now, when I read the news I weigh it. Do you?

As to Dresden, the only way you got this past Eisenhower was that the COMMAND came from the TOP! Churchill stood his ground.

Of course, one of the experiences for eastern europe was how stalin never bought democracy's song. SO he just installed his troops in places they didn't belong.

ANd, today? The Ukraine can't get out from under the yoke. Perhaps they should hire the journalists who make such a song-and-dance routine out of what Israel has to give up?

Mind you, the news is just a sewer of information. If you don't take what you hear with a grain of salt, you can be driven to fears. While FDR began: YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR EXCEPT FEAR ITSELF.

I'll almost guarantee you that that O-bam-bam doesn't have his own clever remarks up his sleeve for tomorrow. FDR wrote his own speech. And, never just stuck things into the hands of others. So all the best material came out of his own mouth: (Yeah. I include the UN. He tried.)

But the best ideas when they fall into the hands of politicians and skunks, often goes awry.

So stay vigilant. Wait. Dubya is walking away from a mess. There is no magic wand!

As to America's military? Not drafted soldiers. And, believe it or not most of them come in contact with the pentagon's swiveling chairs. Not too many commanders, anymore, are tip top.

To be tip top? You need to look at Israel, and how well the troops FELT participating in the gaza fight.

You think I'm kidding?

Nope. Pershing was supposed to be America's best; coming into WW1. He was trained following America's Civil War. His aide-de-camp was General Douglas MacArthur. And, under MacArthur was Eisenhower. All that talent is dead. And, gone.

While American soldiers are being exposed to the same stinking muslims you've been fighting. The FORCE is with you! Not with them!

You don't need headlines in the NY Times to be successful! But the opposite. You need word of mouth.

And, perhaps? Someday Olmert will be able to show he was the adult in charge. I know others don't agree. But I've always liked this man. He's such a mensh. And, he's so honest! While I think Shimon Perez is a world class stinker. I have no explanation as to why the opposite shows up in headlines, even in Israel.

Anonymous said...

Churchill and Eisenhower were quick to play down their personal involvement in Dresden. A very craven act of self-preservation by two consumate politicians.
Dresden itself was a freak of uncommon bomb-aiming accuracy.
It must have given the Russian troops a morale boost to see German cities in ruins; they lost 21 Million dead to the Nazis, and i'm sure they would have been overjoyed to see that the overwhelming, fearless power of RAF Bomber Command was on the side of righteousness.