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tv   Doc Film - Aerial Bombing - From Guernica to Hiroshima Part 2  Deutsche Welle  February 11, 2018 4:15pm-5:00pm CET

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this is the story of a world shattered by bombs a world where the very sky became a threat where terror descended upon cities and transformed people into hunted cry . but. the air. above. on the night of july twenty seventh one thousand nine hundred forty three british bomber command launched one of its largest raids against hamburg germany is second largest city.
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the pilot recounted how they had left behind an enormous inferno whose glow they could still see three hundred kilometers away. in one night three hundred fifty thousand homes were destroyed the working class neighborhood of hama brooke was totally demolished all told there were forty two thousand six hundred deaths in what was known as operation gomorrah. an eyewitness noted. i saw roofs lift off into the sky bodies caught fire like tinder the asphalt was boiling are so two women trapped in the top they looked like thrice stuck in the burning rats of a. handle the air in the shelters have become an breathable for lack of oxygen.
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from a population of one and a half million nine hundred thousand people left the city taking along whatever they could save in a suitcase yes. the same words were on everyone's lips apocalypse the end of the world. reacting to the aerial devastation of hamburg get close settled for a terse phrase build it back up again. two months later the city had regained most of its production capacity. the story
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repeated itself in the industrial of our valley after each raid the machines were repaired factories moved and dead workers replaced by soldiers on the battlefield. german morale was definitely affected by the nonstop bombardments. by popular morale carries only limited quite in a dictatorship. in nazi germany the terror caused by the bombs had to compete with people's arguably greater fear of the regime. goebbels his henchmen went after anyone who showed the least sign of defeatism you could be put to death for listening to enemy radio broadcasts stealing
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a piece of bread found in the rubble or whispering a critical remark or telling a joke about the government. the allies use of incendiary bombs in particular was wreaking enormous damage but it wasn't enough to make germany capitulate. the r.a.f. had been bombarding germany for over eighteen months under the command of the harris his strategy will ultimately cost tens of thousands of british amand their lives. much later statistics would show that it was more dangerous to be on board
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a bomber than to be in a city that was bombed. despite the losses and the fact that victory had not come harris was able to convince the decision makers that the gulf was close at hand. in london faith in the power of bombers took on almost mystical dimensions spectacular ceremonies were organized to raise funds from ordinary people. in the eyes of public opinion bombers embodied a tremendous hope. the campaign was called wings for victory. bomber command stepped up attacks against berlin their goal to sever germany's head.
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and. paris predicted. it will cost us between four hundred to five hundred aircraft it will cost germany the war. a few months previously in january nine hundred forty three churchill had met with president roosevelt in casablanca their talks were about how to open a second front on the ground against germany in europe. it was an implicit acknowledgement that airpower alone would not get germany to surrender but roosevelt also promised churchill american support for the further aerial bombardment of their mutual enemy it. was more the us air force would carry out daytime air raids while the r.a.f. operated at night.
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the british continued their strategy of carpet bombing while the americans wanted to precisely target strategically important industrial and infrastructure sites. the aircraft that would carry out these raids the gigantic be seventeen the flying fortress. yet what the u.s. air force thought was its secret weapon would fit into a carrier back. it was believed so valuable that pilots had orders to keep it locked in a safe between missions. this new technology the norton bomb site. during tests it was able to hit targets on the ground with a precision of fifty meters from an altitude of four thousand six hundred meters.
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the idea was to be able to bomb from altitudes beyond the reach of german flak. but the reality was different. the northern wasn't always as accurate is touted and it was susceptible to a variety of influences including bad weather that limited the nortons usefulness. moreover the u.s. air force had hoped to be seventeen's would be able to fly missions without armed escorts. that proved to be a miscalculation. in just three months the eighth air force lost more than three hundred brand new bombers. gen henry h. arnold commanding general of the u.s. army air forces was dismayed the u.s.
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military couldn't afford to keep losing aircraft at that rate. newcomers to bombing warfare the americans had botched the and from c. . but u.s. bombers would prove their destructive potential in other campaigns in other places . in july nine hundred forty three the war entered a new phase the landing of allied troops in sicily launched a ground offensive and ground troops expected support from bombers. for the u.s. air force this was a second chance italy was less well defended than germany. bought italy was like a china shop almost all the italian industrial sites were located near architectural treasures. how could the allies even in the name of
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liberty destroy the cradle of western civilization. by. the great the american general staff began classifying citizen according to their heritage value. category c. sienna p.'s or belong here and twenty one others. category b. nineteen citizens looting karma via montepulciano. category a rome venice florence. crews were given detailed maps of the one hundred sixty most noteworthy cities indicating the buildings to avoid believing that all necessary precautions had been taken the american command authorized bombing raids.
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panorama. no city was spat. not even rather a category a city which was both a treasure trove of architectural masterpieces and a center of christianity. the attack of july nineteenth one thousand nine hundred eighty three targeted the capital's train stations and air bases bombs went astray and fell on residential neighborhoods. there were at least one thousand five hundred casualties.
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the americans had to face the facts precision bombing was simply not always possible. in france stray allied bombs cause nearly sixty thousand deaths. there were twelve thousand deaths in belgium. and nine thousand in the netherlands. collateral victims of a new form of warfare. by now churchill himself worried about the consequences of mass bombing but his concerns were swept aside by the supreme commander of the allied powers general dwight eisenhower.
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the bottom line was that nothing was to be allowed to delay allied forces from retaking western europe from the not says. by the end of the summer of nine hundred forty four the allies had liberated most french territory. leaving behind joy. but also satin. yes and destruction. for many cities the price of liberation was devastating destruction. in taking back france from the nonces the allies had only bombed cities that were
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strategically important with no such scruples applied to the bombing of germany in the final two years of the second world war the allies meted out an unprecedented destruction on that enemy the americans to what abandon their final moral restraints. in late one nine hundred forty four the allied ground offensive stuart the allies had already lost three hundred thousand men since the invasion of normandy nothing seemed to be going as planned. and three years after the end of the blitz german bombs once again fell on england it was the start of a new phase of the war. the v. one and b. two rockets weapons a vengeance promised by gerbils were ready for use these fine bombs were fired from
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the ground and did not need a pilot to guide them they were the first missiles in history. as. the to lose could reach a speed of five thousand seven hundred kilometers an hour and cross the english channel in less than five minutes. too fast for anyone to sound the alarm. german v. rockets would claim some eight thousand lives but the british having whether the blitz bore the new threat with determination and stoicism. one person recalled. earlier in the war people stopped sending their children to school now it's as if being bombed by the germans was just one of the hazards of life like being run over by a motor car. but
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the v. rockets impossible to stop raised some other fears what if the germans with their backs against the war equipped these fearsome missiles with chemical payloads. in front of the cameras the allies made threats if their enemies launched a chemical attack an equivalent counter attack would be swift you're looking at seventy thousand grams of mustard gas which is just the part where the day when the japs or germany want to start. fear of chemical weapons was one of many factors that convinced the allies they had to defeat hitler's germany as soon as possible. renouncing all of their principles american chiefs of staff decided to strike a spectacular blow to german marl by leveling beilin of bombs. the
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commander of the u.s. eight am forced james doolittle initially refused to comply. in a memo addressed to his superior general kala spats he wrote this attack would violate the most basic american principle of precision bombing of targets of strictly military significance. but spans left do little no choice he was ordered to hit the center of the city. paris was thrilled he had finally won over the american general staff. the raid of february sixth one thousand nine hundred five left nearly three thousand dead and one hundred thousand homeless. but the american action did not
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hold the nazi machine any more than british bombing and. hitler simply remarked even the most idiotic german now understands that his house will never. the rebels if we do not win. propaganda images of the folkestone a popular militia trying to convince people that germany was ready for a great and sudden surge but most german civilians view defeat as inevitable just trying to survive. there was only one place where a person was truly safe but meet the iron steel and concrete shell of bunkers they
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would like latter day know as ox some had space for twenty thousand if people were squeezed in bunkers could hold thirty thousand. but the overwhelming majority of germans had to manage without such protection. during the last four months of the war germany was bombed without interruption. during the day by me americans. at night by the british. in february nine hundred forty five as the allies made progress on both fronts only a few cities were spat. for now dresden was one of them.
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rumor had it that it was because churchill's great-aunt lived there. but the city was in for one of the worst the aerial bombardments ever. much. i've addressed and was an administrative center managing the influx of refugees fleeing the soviet advance on the eastern front. by striking this crowded iraq city the allies hope to disrupt the entire east of nazi germany. woo. from february thirteenth to fifteenth some one thousand three hundred american and british heavy bombers pounded dressed and dropping nearly four thousand tons of bombs and creating
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a firestorm. the images afterward horrifying. we know today that there were twenty five thousand casualties but a terrifying number was circulating at the time two hundred fifty thousand. allied general staff passed along that inflated figure. even churchill began to question the ally strategy and. would he go from being the hero of the blitz to being the executioner of dresden he wrote the destruction of dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of allied bombing. paris
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had lost the prime minister's support yet he was never ordered to cease carpet bombing german targets that would continue until the end of the war. i am now. german civilians were trapped like the animals in the berlin zoo the refused to leave cages that had been ripped open by bombs planted the bombing stopped only with the red army is fine in advance. soviet troops attacked by len on april sixteenth one thousand nine hundred forty five. germany vowed to fight until the end. to stalin had never believed in the effectiveness of bombers he had chosen to conduct his war on the ground it cost the lives of millions of soldiers but he was
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winning street by street. on april thirtieth committed suicide in his bunker. germany surrendered. while soviet troops triumphed in english and americans discovered the scale of the destruction caused by their bombers germany was buried under four hundred million cubic meters of rubble. was.
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the interrogation of nazi leaders revealed stunning information not only had german production not dropped during the country's bombardment but it had even increased until the end of the war only intensified attacks against transports station and the oil and gas facilities could have truly hurt them. so had the aerial bombing campaigns open for nothing. seven million germans homeless three hundred fifty thousand civilians killed by bombs with double that number wounded that raise the question could. people be both victims and perpetrators.
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now. during british victory celebrations chancel did not say i was about bomber command all the tens of thousands of pilots who had died on missions he conveniently omitted that he himself had initiated and supported his strategy. and given bamma harris his immense power. the conventional wisdom is an aerial bombardment was the key to the american victory in the pacific theater of world war two the atomic bombs dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki so the logic runs hastened japan surrendered and saved the lives of a million g.i.'s. but is this really the case or is it just an ex post facto justification.
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autumn nine hundred forty four the atomic bomb was still in the planning stages but there was already no doubt regarding the outcome of the war with japan the us navy was subjecting the island nation to a blockade it couldn't hold on forever the us was now exploring the possibility of a landing. but almost what retake center stage. never before had the advocates been so powerful forming a kind of lobby in the general staff they were nicknamed the bomber matter. from prestigious military academies to the holes of power a group of selous officers were promoting the use of new weapons produced by
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a gigantic military industrial complex which unlike nine hundred forty four employed hundreds of thousands of people took up on its own a third of the defense budget. the results were b. twenty nine super fortresses and new generations of bombs. such as ones carrying this flammable makes sure of gasoline and gel rubber that flows and sticks to objects and people. napalm. it would first become a household word during the vietnam war but napalm was actually invented in one thousand nine hundred forty two. the product was tested on a u.s.
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base in utah where army engineers had built detailed replicas of german and japanese neighborhoods. i am terms of destruction the napalm yield surpassed all expectations and it was especially effective on the wooden homes typical of japan. in january nine hundred forty five three thousand tons of napalm were delivered to the island opinion which u.s. forces had recently taken from the japanese. in a few weeks the americans had built the world's largest airport that. japan was now within range of the b. twenty nine.
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the new head of the twenty first bomber command curtis lemay decided to wreak devastation on the country. when someone mentioned victims he responded curtly there are no innocent civilians. taking advantage of anti japanese hatred common in the us lemay was able to push bombing to its ultimate limits. in japan people knew that catastrophe was imminent lead into a war that it did not have the means to fight the country was on its last legs but entrenched in his palace and brought hirohito was not inclined to give up his throne in order to stop the hostilities.
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in newspapers that for lack of paper were only a single page he put forward to his. people the role model of the chemical says if japan was unable to win the war so the logic went at least he could choose how to lose. the enemy reconnaissance planes crisscross the skies. the french journalist in tokyo abela gala witnessed what he described as an unbearable waiting. march ninth spring has burst forth by surprise. but good weather during this time of raids far from bringing joy causes and zajac. even more worrisome is the wind which from morning blows forth swelling into gusts. throughout the city everyone has the same thought if they came in
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a wind like this it would be terrible. indeed here they come. march ninth nine hundred forty five. three hundred thirty four b. twenty nine. one thousand seven hundred tons of napalm. and one hundred thousand casualties. the bombing of tokyo was one of the most deadly in the history of humanity. although the napalm bombings were overshadowed by the atomic bomb they actually killed far more people. may have set out to systematically destroyed japan cities the only respite came when napalm supplies ran out by may every city of more than three hundred thousand inhabitants had been
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raised. a new list was drawn up. assume cities with fewer than one hundred thousand inhabitants would be targeted. i am. the plan was to destroy sixty six major urban areas where twenty one million people had once lived. hundreds of thousands of japanese had already been killed and victory was still not at hand would everyone have to be killed a and just as in germany massive bombing campaigns had not weaken the japanese regime's determination to continue the fight.
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but beginning in june one thousand nine hundred forty five the worsening military situation forced the emperor to reconsider his position. the americans had seized the island of okinawa only five hundred fifty kilometers away from the japanese mainland. japanese diplomats signaled their willingness to open negotiations for an end to the hostilities their only condition the emperor would be allowed to keep his throne. the outcome of the war was in the hands of the new american president harry truman who became head of state with the death of franklin roosevelt at the same time scientists from the manhattan project were finishing work on a new bomb von imaginable power. on
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july sixteenth nine hundred forty five on the testing grounds in new mexico they detonated the world's first atomic bomb trinity. a doomsday weapon worked. physicist robert oppenheimer passed it over to the military in the person of general leslie groves the true director of the project the us government and military could now decide how and whether to use the atomic weapons two bombs were sent to the base at ten am. despite protests from many scientists the military refused to consider detonating one outside populated areas as a demonstration of force to have its full effect us leadership decided the bomb had
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to destroy and kill. at the allies potsdam conference held around the same time president truman knew he had the ultimate weapon. the atomic bomb had strengthened truman's hand both with his former allies and with the japanese. he issued an ultimatum calling for the emperor to abdicate his throne and japan to capitulate. the japanese rejected those terms. won over six nine hundred forty five but eight hours sixteen minutes and two seconds a single b. twenty nine dropped an atomic bomb on hiroshima. the copilot robert lowe is sad my god what have we done. the explosion caused some eighty thousand deaths thousands more would die in the
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coming weeks months and years from exposure to radiation the front page of the daily news read atomic bomb hit a city vanished. eighty years earlier the bombing of guernica had shocked public opinion across the globe but after all the intensive bombing campaigns in the intervening years few people were shocked anymore. philosopher al back home you raised one of the rare opposing voices. our technological civilization has reached its final degree of savagery governments must choose definitively between hell and reason. truman had chosen he immediately sent the emperor another ultimatum. if they do not know except. they met expect a radio from the air. which has never been so you know and those are.
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truman may have worried that stalin who had just successfully launched a blistering attack against the japanese army in manchuria would steal ultimate victory in the war against japan. just three days after hiroshima truman ordered the bombing of nagasaki. this second bomb caused seventy thousand more deaths. the us kept pressing japan to capitulate. a compromise was reached the u.s. backed off its insistence that japan's emperor hirohito step down. in
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return hirohito declared that atomic bombs were what had brought japan to its knees . he conveniently omitted the fact that before this he had allowed hundreds of thousands of his subjects to be burned and killed by ninety pound bombs. forgot what he wanted now japan could surrender. but the ruins of hiroshima and nagasaki were not quite like other bombs. it is. the americans quickly discovered the deadly legacy of radioactive poisoning a slow long time killer.
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to many hiroshima and nagasaki were indictments of the victors inhumanity army reports about conditions in the two japanese cities were classified top secret the american general staff began arguing that the bombing of hiroshima and nagasaki was a necessary evil. leslie groves the hand of the manhattan project formally presented the official story before the senate. economic. made it impossible for the japanese to continue their war despite their determination to fight for the better end.
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and in that i think they would have taken one of them and. a story was established many people believe that use of the atomic bomb had in fact saved human lives and that logic was often extended to bombing in general. aerial bombardments in world war two killed at least a million civilians wounded three times that number and left more than fifteen million homeless. pondering there's victory the head of american bombers curtis lemay personally observed years later if we'd lost the war we'd all of been prosecuted as war criminals. lam
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hitler had initially escalated aerial warfare. the allies took the idea and further developed aerial bombardment to previously unimaginable levels. there was little room anymore for moral scruples or even questions about whether aerial bombardment even made strategic sense the effects are still being felt today. remote warfare scalpel like precision technological progress has produced new promises. or more likely new illusions.
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