I was specifically referencing Der Kuenstler’s post/topic and the explicit comments and implications contain. Your exposition on the topic is great Kurt, and very intelligent, but your information is not what I was talking about in my summary. Perhaps I did take his post farther than you did, though I do not believe, given the words of Der Kuenstler, that my conclusions are in any way unreasonable or unfounded.
I was specifically referencing Der Kuenstler’s post/topic and the explicit comments and implications contain.
In my earlier post, I didn’t mean to imply that my perspective of Der Kuenster’s post was necessarily correct, or that yours must be in error. You and I are each entitled to our perspectives. (With, hopefully, both of us being non-stubborn enough to change our perspectives in response to new data or new wisdom.)
From your earlier post:
Let’s remember that the premise of this discussion was that the Germans did not build a
four-engine (heavy) bomber because (a) their only conceivable use was against civilian
population centers and (b) the Germans were too moral to choose such a course of action…
As for (a), Churchill very quickly decided to use his four engine bomber force for terror raids. If he’d initially had some other plan in mind for them, it’s very far from clear what that other plan might have been.
Conversely, the United States engaged in daylight bombing raids. In the day, you can see well enough to make some effort to distinguish legitimate military targets from everything else. Terror raids became an increasingly prominent part of American military thinking as the war went on. But American military planners clearly wanted to keep the door open to legitimate strategic bombing raids; as opposed to adopting tactics (such as nighttime raids) which lent themselves only to terror attacks.
Granted, Churchill wasn’t prime minister during the prewar period. During Chamberlain’s time as prime minister, Britain did not engage in terror attacks against German cities. Given that fact, it’s quite possible Chamberlain did not requisition those bombers for the purpose of terror. But even under Chamberlain, not all people in the British government were of one mind. There were those who felt the ideal role for the four engine bomber was terror attacks. This pro-terror faction found a kindred soul in the form of Winston Churchill.
As for point (b)–the one about morality–I’ll start off by saying this. It is very rare for one person to always act more moral than some other person. Suppose, for example, that Mr. Jones is an adulterer, an alcoholic, and a card cheat. Mr. Smith is none of these things. On a snowy day, both men see someone stopped by the side of the road due to car trouble. Mr. Smith drives on past, while Mr. Jones stops and offers him a ride. Pointing out that Jones acted more morally than Smith in that instance shouldn’t be taken to imply that Jones is the more moral of the two overall.
Almost immediately after hostilities began, Britain and France imposed a food blockade against Germany. Assuming anyone in either government had even lightly skimmed Mein Kampf, they knew that Hitler would ensure the resulting starvation would be directed against Poland, not against non-Jewish Germans. The food blockade was not part of a negotiation tactic: no major Western democracy attempted negotiation, or offered Germany any peace terms except unconditional surrender. In 1940, Churchill evidently decided that terror bombing raids would be one of the tactics used to bring Germany to its knees.
By the end of the first month of war, the Western Allies had demonstrated a brutal disregard for the lives of noncombatants. (Including the Polish; whom they were supposedly fighting to save.) Their willingness to use murderous food blockades, and later, terror attacks against civilian targets, is fully consistent with the utter lack of concern about Soviet mass murder they uniformly demonstrated both before, during, and immediately after the war. Concern for the lives of the innocent does not appear to have played any role in either their conduct of the war, or in their ultimate war aims. Aims which apparently included creating a power vacuum in the heart of Europe–a vacuum to be filled by the Soviet Union.
WWII was hardly the first time Western democracies had chosen to adopt pro-Soviet foreign policies. During the WWI peace negotiations, the democracies agreed that the land Germany had conquered from Russia would be handed over to the communists. In the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-'21, the Western democracies did almost nothing to prevent Poland from being engulfed by the Soviet Union. Poland’s sum total of help received from all the major Western democracies consisted of a few French military advisors. In contrast, a pro-Soviet British government chose to sell weapons to the Soviets, but not the Polish.
During the 1930s, Western democratic politicians attempted to convince Stalin to join them in a war against Germany. The plan failed–not because of Western democratic reluctance to witness the Red terror spread into Eastern and Central Europe, but because Stalin refused. Stalin wanted to remain neutral while the Western democracies and Germany fought each other; so that his intended victims would bleed each other white. Only after both sides were war-weary, with depleted populations, would the Soviet Union launch its invasion of Europe.
The actions of Western democratic politicians bore no relationship at all to morality. If Der Kuenstler wants to imply that Germany was less immoral toward the Western democracies than they were to Germany, he’d be 100% correct. Not because Hitler was a shining paragon of moral virtue, but because the conduct of Western democratic politicians was so bad it would have been almost impossible for Hitler to have been worse.