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The Role Of Strategic Bombing Raids Of Germany In World War II

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The Allied strategic bombing is a controversial subject, when discussing its importance. It’s hard to say whether it achieved the plans of those who were overlooking it. While it did destroy German morale, it didn’t completely, but what it did do was open doors to new technology, and help to affect Germany economically, and caused another for the Germans, where they would have to force Germany’s resources elsewhere. Over the course of the war, it developed in significance. The strategic bombing of Germany during the Second World War was not significant in destroying German morale, partly because Britain was not really aiming to just destroy German morale but through its city, meaning its aims were spread over the two, resulting in a smaller coverage of damage to both. Churchill himself told Stalin that they viewed Germany’s morale as a “military target”, however this still doesn’t take away from his plans to destroy multiple German cities, where he quoted, “We sought no mercy and would show no mercy. We hoped to shatter twenty German cities as we had shattered Cologne, Liibeck, Düsseldorf and so on…. If need be, as the war went on, we hoped to shatter almost every dwelling in almost every German city.” And shatter he did, some major dwellings saw 55-60 percent of their dwellings destroyed, obviously leading to the split up of multiple families, which would only lead to a decrease in morale. Nuremerg saw a loss of 30,000 civilians due to bombing. During a single attack carried out at night from February 1st to the 14th in 1945, more than 20,000 civilians were killed in Dresden.

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In Hamburg alone about 49,000 civilians were killed by Allied bombing, and in Berlin about 35,000. There were around 635000 German civilian due to the results of the bombing campaign; casualties will always have a negative effect on morale, and so the bombing proved effective with so many. Scenes were described as ‘sheer horror’, this quote from Frieglich clearly shows how scary it would have been to live in an area that had been affected by the bombing at the time. “As they (German civilians) ran out to the street from their cellars people often got stuck I the melted asphalt, making it hard to avoid the burning debris raining down all around them”. This quote clearly showing the horrific conditions and the Allies ability to kill. However, the German’s morale didn’t drop too low, proving the lack of effectiveness in achieving this aim. The nonstop overwhelming bombing of the same communities did not produce decreases in morale corresponding to the amount of bombing. This was partly due to the lethargy resulting from the heaviest bombing which made people more susceptible to the controls of the regime, and partly to the fact that those with already low morale inclined to leave the more heavily bombed cities after the early raids leading them to a small percentage of Germans with low morale, whilst the others still saw the positives. Economically, the impacts of bombing were high. Germany was a good target by the Allies for the bombing, they had a lot of industrial plants that would be detrimental to Germany’s success. Their main aim was to cripple German industry and therefore weaken their ability to fight. In the beginning times of the war, the objectives were principally key processing plants and other foundation however the achievement rates were low even in sunshine because of the high heights of over 15000 feet and the erratic nature of the wind that could adjust a bombs course by as much as a kilometer.

Moreover, a bomb was viewed as a ‘hit’ on the off chance that it arrived inside 5 miles of the objective, making the present poor achievement rate look appalling, especially when considering that only 1 in 3 got within 5 miles of the target. Although, there may not have been a lot of control over the placement of the actual bombs, the aim was to slow the rate of acceleration of the constantly-growing German economy, not to put it to a complete halt. If there had been no Allied Strategic Bombing campaign the German economy essentially would have been left unmarked, which possibly would have led to the vast production in areas such, as guns, steel, aircraft and more. Regardless of this, German production peaked at the summit of the bombing campaign, the Strategic bombing didn’t have a significant effect on German production until 1945, German industry instead surprisingly compensated for the destruction of some of their plants by increasing the productivity. Germany even after World War 2 had the largest industrial establishment in Europe, proving the bombs weren’t entirely targeted properly.

However, the bombs, did provide the redirection of the workforce into military roles including, bomb manufacturing and actual service in the German numbers. By 1940, 4 million Germans found themselves expelled from the workforce to battle in the German military, by 1944, 11 million were expelled, which was around a quarter of the whole workforce. So, whilst the production of weaponries did increase significantly by 1945, some strain was placed on the economy. When looking at the significance militarily it also varies, there was effectiveness in creating another front against the Germans. Germany strongly controlled the air in the initial stages of the war reflected by the Bomber Commands large and unstainable losses of men and aircraft in initial daylight raids on heavily defended German industries. In the Autumn of 1940, Bomber Command switch tactics from daylight raids to large scale bombing carried-out by moonlight, which hampered the Luftwaffe ability to locate and destroy the attacking bombers.

01 February 2021

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