Posted:  May 12, 2014

The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 The ultimate history of the Allied bombing campaigns in World War II

Technology shapes the nature of all wars, and the Second World War hinged on a most unpredictable weapon: the bomb. Day and night, Britain and the United States unleashed massive fleets of bombers to kill and terrorize occupied Europe, destroying its cities. The grisly consequences call into question how “moral” a war the Allies fought.

The Bombers and the Bombed radically overhauls our understanding of World War II. It pairs the story of the civilian front line in the Allied air war alongside the political context that shaped their strategic bombing campaigns, examining the responses to bombing and being bombed with renewed clarity.

The first book to examine seriously not only the well-known attacks on Dresden and Hamburg but also the significance of the firebombing on other fronts, including Italy, where the crisis was far more severe than anything experienced in Germany, this is Richard Overy’s finest work yet. It is a rich reminder of the terrible military, technological, and ethical issues that relentlessly drove all the war’s participants into an abyss.

In this book there are parts of it that are very interesting and there are other parts for me that were difficult to get through. There is so much information that at times you feel like there is too much. Most of the information is about the towns or cities that were bombed in Europe during WWII. There is also information about the blitz on Britain by Germany. Britain then set out and bomb Bulgaria multiple times for their alliance with Germany like they had in WWI. Thinking that bombing towns and then the capitol would win over the people it did not. It made them think that Britain were evil. By the time the U.S. came into the war the English were still in charge of the missions even though we had the most planes and pilots. Instead of attacking factories they continued to bomb towns. Killing and displacing thousands of people. There were times in the end of 45 and in 44 that they started bombing factories and train yards so they could not deliver goods. There was a consent bickering between Harris of England and Doolittle of the U.S. Doolittle thought it was wrong targeting civilian populations. This came to a head in February of 45 when a town (Pfozhiem), was bomb and 83% of the town was destroyed and 17,600 were killed. The third highest in European bombing. After this the press in England and the U.S. were after the leaders. Churchill and Roosevelt, here in the states they were able to contain the story. In England they had a harder time and eventually Churchill had Portal, notify all chief of staffs to stop with the bombing. On April 14 & 15 Potsdam was bomb. This was a Harris thing he just like the power to bomb. There is also a chapter of Italy being bomb for only a month less than Germany was bomb. As many Italians were killed from bombing as did the Britain’s during the blitz. The damage to Italy’s ancient heritage filled two volumes when investigated after the war. There is a chapter at the end of the book that talks about the effectiveness of the bombing. One of the Germans Generals Goring, “said that when the factories were destroyed it had more of an effect on us in the field”. The author shows documents that prove that point. Like I said at the beginning parts of this book was good and other parts were long. The author did spend a long time researching the information and he backs up his points with charts from the Second World War. If you like history your kind of book. I got this book from net galley.

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