tv Doc Film - Aerial Bombing - From Guernica to Hiroshima Part 1 Deutsche Welle February 18, 2018 4:15am-5:00am CET
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oh. 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 hunting for. those who controlled the skies fell to omnipotence from. world war two saw the birth of the hideous idea that victory could be achieved more quickly by bombing civilian populations. against a backdrop of total war hatred and megalomania immense sums of money and creativity pumped into promoting this concept.
it was a time of senseless massacres and the immolation and destruction of countless cities and towns. millions of tons of bombs were dropped during the conflict in hiroshima the detonation of a single atomic bomb instantly killed sixty to eighty thousand people another fifty thousand died in the following days and weeks. the allied bombing of civilians in world war two is a dark chapter in the west's history but precisely for that reason we must ask why did civilians become bombing targets.
cup it all began with a marvelous dream at the dawn of the twentieth century infuse he asked the crowds gathered to admire humankind's first aviation exploits these birds were good omens that had the potential to overcome great distances and bring people closer together . yet planes could barely climb a hundred meters into the sky when out of the public eye other adventurers began transforming that dream into a nightmare. in one thousand nine hundred eleven the italian aviator judio got canned dropped histories first bombs on libyan rebels.
the colonial world became the playing field for the pioneers of bombardment the imperial powers of italy britain and france. each was facing its own rebellion by supposed savages the peoples of libya syria india and iraq shortly after world war one a british officer named arthur harris served in iraq and was impressed at how air power could keep large stretches of territory under control. he noted in forty five minutes a village can be wiped out on the third of its inhabitants killed or injured. in. this news excited military commanders bombers would revolutionize war thrill. just began calculating on the potential advantages of
this new sort of warfare. they spoke of aerial domination of swift and decisive victories. even as ever more imposing prototypes crisscrossed the sky ordinary europeans continue to believe that the threat of bombing was distant and theoretical. up but the danger was drawing near. when he took power in one nine hundred thirty three adult hitler began the process of rearmament. his thirst for domination knew no limits. with no want to stop him hitler was free to develop germany's air force into a powerful offensive weapon. that
. diamond bends b.m.w. and other leading companies were only too willing to go along with it was plants. the aviation factories of high messerschmitt and younkers developed planes whose external forms alone meant to inspire terror. flight schools attracted ambitious military personnel. but no amount of training could replicate the experience of just one day of war. dogfights strafing fire with machine guns bombing communication networks strategic factories. was it was a nine hundred thirty six the legion con dog a unit of nazi aviators intervened in the spanish. i will warn you that.
hitler supported franco's fascists against the republicans but he also had another reason for deploying his air force. with france and britain staying out of the conflict hitler used spain as a site for accelerated training. some sixteen thousand germans would find in spain . alongside pilots and machine gunners where engineers meteorologists to determine the best times for bombing. and photographers who helped identify targets and to sense the results of attacks. april twenty sixth nine hundred thirty seven believing they were out of the public eye nancy officers authorized a horrific experiment. that day twenty four german and italian bombers took off
on a new type of mission. the objective to test the effects of bombing on the inhabitants of a small town of no military importance whatsoever. it began ago. it was eat. more than thirty tons of bombs rained down on the town and its seven thousand inhabitants killing several hundred people. a few hours later the bombers returned home the mission was considered a success. the
town was quickly occupied by franco's troops tara had paid off. british journalist george steer was able to visit the town immediately after the massacre. he wrote. the whole of guernica was soon in flames monday was the customary market day the market was full. all together the deaths may run into hundreds. many were forced to remain round the burning town lying on mattresses or looking for lost relatives and children. astonishment. incomprehension.
steer concluded the raid on guernica is unparalleled in military history. hitler was not at all pleased by stares article which made its way around the world and tarnished his military's image there was no way the nazis were going to admit responsibility for such a massacre. his propaganda machine reacted immediately and found a scapegoat. you shouldn't read about the backshift don't like it and the stuff about. the internet and out of it read it in the middle of the empire at random and over there but it is the black magic they didn't get that the stuff i'm. just reading about that.
the most powerful response to the lines of nazi propaganda came from one of the most famous painters of the day. pavlova castro's monumental painting danica was a howl of protest against modern warfare and the targeting of civilians it depicted the horror of the survivors and the butchering of innocent people. because those nightmare imagery would prove prophetic. shanghai. non king. chongqing in that same year nine hundred thirty seven japan's invasion of china began with bombings.
people fled in panic for shelters. the bombs war steel disfigured cities and slaughtered civilians. the second sino japanese war may have been a long way away but the image of an orphan abandoned at the shanghai train station moved west an opinion deeply. in european cities compassion gave way to concern a journalist from london recalls. the vision we all have that was a vision built up from guernica in china but also from the film the shape of things to come we all knew what war would be.
this big budget film played in every western capital in one thousand thirty six. adapted from a novel by h.g. wells it was the apocalyptic account of a city obliterated by bombs. i believe it. was well centuries tell of the aerial bombing and the near future. the city's name was every town. and. nine hundred thirty eight. fears of
a new world war began spreading reality was about to surpass science fiction. the. last protection against chemical gas attacks which had been used in world war one millions of gas masks were distributed. but the big. threat would not come from poison gas in the two years preceding the second world war western nations prepared themselves for the bombing of civilians the city after city started analyzing its vulnerability in new york it was calculated the two squadrons of bombers alone could paralyze the city.
in london with its eight million inhabitants the government launched an emergency program to build shelters. in a biscuit that the tradition has been the comfortable. but how much protection could thin corrugated shelters offer against a barrel of steel. on september first nine hundred thirty nine hitler's troops invaded poland. world war two had begun. back out in european capitals lights were turned off so that enemy warplanes wouldn't be able to use them for orientation. in paris london and even in berlin no one felt safe anymore. the war many dreaded for so
long had finally come. on september third france and britain declared war on germany. later that day u.s. president franklin roosevelt announced. he had already sent a letter to germany poland italy france and england. i am addressing this urgent appeal to every government which may be engaged in hostilities publicly to affirm. that its armed forces shall not undertake the bombardment of civilian populations or on forty five cities at this point england and france had yet to fire a shot. meanwhile germany enjoyed nearly total air superiority its last fall for was making quick work of poland pete
was. was a number of polish cities most notably the capital warsaw were bombarded. on october sixth nine hundred thirty nine poland surrendered to the right. although at the time hardly anyone could envision it what happened to warsaw was but a small taste of things to come. twelve percent of the city was destroyed by german bombs. hitler claimed that his forces had only gone after military targets. but the luftwaffe or bombers were clearly engaged in psychological warfare. field-marshal hammon gathering commander in chief of the luftwaffe or proclaimed
what we did to poland we will do to france and england. that. despite the german aerial threat the french general staff was astonishingly confident they may have had more manpower and equipment than germany as well as the support of england but their strategy was hopelessly out of date. that. the first world war had been dominated by static trench warfare the second world war. was to be completely different. i. feel. on may tense nine hundred forty the allies got their first taste of modern warfare in the form of the german blitzkrieg the cities of western continental europe were
effectively presented with a choice surrender. one by one western european cities fell. after a brief period of futile resistance brussels was declared an open city meaning it was handed over to the enemy without fighting. the netherlands also surrendered but too late for rotterdam this was fatal. german planes bombarded not only oil and gas facilities but also the mediæval city center. an area of two point six square kilometers was leveled and eight hundred fourteen people died.
millions of jantsch belgians and french civilians fled the advancing german army and their fathers. pass. to spare paris the fate of rotterdam the french government in exile in bordeaux declared the capital an open city. on june fourteenth the vam are entered the nearly deserted city. six days later an armistice was announced. in two months six countries had fallen into the hands of the national socialists. hitler
now turned his gaze to britain. past. but the new british prime minister was undaunted by german threats winston churchill was determined to fight to the end. yet the country was already in a state of high alert children were evacuated from the cities. would head low dab on london. when the battle of britain began to look for restricted itself to military targets like airfields and aviation factories.
from the french coast where his bombers had taken up positions girling promised hitler that he would eradicate the royal air force the r.a.f. in two or maybe three weeks. but soon what may have been an accident would dramatically change the history of bombing. on august twenty fourth one thousand nine hundred forty a few german bombs fell on the city of london and the eastend in the heart of the english capital the fire department recorded seventy six heads. how would churchill respond to this decision was critical britain was not in a position of strength. within twenty four hours the prime minister nevertheless
ordered the r.a.f. to strike a german cities including both of them. to reach the german capital r.a.f. planes had to cross through one thousand kilometers of enemy territory. german defenses were for medical the mission almost impossible. intense anti aircraft fire forced the planes to fly higher reducing the accuracy of their bombing. the damage was insignificant but for girling it was a humiliation had he not sworn that if germany were bombed he would eat his hat. in reality hit look at not have wished for anything better it gave him a pretense for loosening the reins on his bombers.
is under his call the german air raids the blitz and it took on a new strategy to look tough and now called for the destruction of english cities and the terrorizing of civilian populations military targets took a backseat london was bombed nearly every day. had high hopes for this new strategy the constant lethal threat from above was intended to break the morale of the british people and destroy the country's
economy and capacity to do. event itself once the social order had collapsed germany could launch an invasion. a londoner wrote dear brother there is not one building standing but a heap of earth brick. we took out eleven bodies but apparently there are others underneath. the wailing of sirens the incessant alerts even worse than the bombing. sleeping has become impossible.
when he took office churchill had promised land toil sweat and tears how else to describe the fate of these bombed out people. state officials watched out for signs that morale was crumbling how would the british people react the public mood could be decisive in this war. but the british public proved surprising a resilient. where madness and chaos were expected there was solidarity . where demobilization was feared there was an incredible combative spirit. people adjusted to the bombing. as many as two hundred thousand people spend their nights in the underground despite appalling hygienic conditions.
others commuted daily in order to spend their nights outside the cities the. news reports trying to make people forget the blonde chant they were careful not to film corpses. of the forty three thousand deaths under the reign of german bombs we have only a handful of images. as. if the british were able to resist it was because their prime minister had promised them that revenge would be on its way. and that given the legs and the make. it reality british aviation was quite incapable of standing up to germany. but churchill's rhetoric did its job of the british people held on and dreamed of
vengeance some day. i the prime minister's approval ratings soared throughout the blitz. was. ultimately hitler had to face facts the bombardment he believed would be swift and decisive was totally ineffective indeed counterproductive. the third reich also needed airplanes for the war it had declared on the soviet union in the east. of the blitz was over. in the summer of one thousand nine hundred forty one hitler attacks the u.s.s.r. . during this gigantic operation bombers once again played the role they had before
the blitz. supporting the advance the four million invading troops. soon moscow was in sight. that same year on december seventh japan launched a surprise attack from and craft carriers against the american base of paul harbor on the island of oahu hawaii. even though it was a military target the u.s. was shocked. the americans declared war first against japan and then germany. the american. right by. the way.
in late one nine hundred forty one the axis powers were dominating on all fronts but britain knew it could now count on two powerful allies. the soviet union. and the united states. in england they were still diffusing bombs from the blitz. a paradoxical situation arose although the british had just proven the ineffectiveness of bombarding civilians and cities it was in britain that the strategy of aerial bombing would resurface. it was the walk of an oxford physicist named frederick lindemann. this scientist was little known to the general public he was nevertheless
a primary advisor to churchill who gave him the friendly new. name of profit. like as the very first bombs were falling on london lindemann and his research team set about to scientifically demonstrated that aerial bombing could ensure military victory. to this end he analyzed the vast amount of data collected from the ruins of the blitz. in much nine hundred forty two he communicated his conclusions in a one page memo to the investigation seems to show that having one's home demolished is most damaging to moral more than having their friends or even relatives killed. the number of houses destroyed for every ton of bulbs the number of bombers
available the distribution of the german urban population according to his frightening projections lindemann estimated he could force twenty two million germans to become refugees and topple the third reich. in the prime minister's circle these calculations were greeted with skepticism but the prophet was able to convince churchill. all that remained was to find the man able to conduct this dirty war one name stood out as the obvious choice. arthur harris soon to be nicknamed. the new air officer commanding in chief of our a.f. bomber command was made for this particular mission a former pilot he had earned his stripes on bombing runs in the colonies where he gained his unshakable faith in aerial weaponry. he gladly took up the challenge
that many thought impossible to win world war two soley by air raids. well at that level yes. two of harris's early triumphs the targets chosen were close to britain and poorly defended. but harris wanted more his next target was supposed to be hamburg but poor weather there forced him to shift his sights to cologne and its seven hundred thousand inhabitants. paris succeeded in getting all of the england sand for supported his disposal and all of the available pilots including instructors.
the operation by the code name millennium. on the night of may thirtieth nine hundred forty two more than a thousand bombers took off from english bases. never before had a raid involved this many planes. germany's lines of defense were overwhelmed. after cologne it was the turn of as soon and braman to suffer a massive bombing. at
our a.f. bomber command enthusiastic reports spoke of raised city's massacres and masses of homeless people on the basis of partially blurry photographs military analysts believe. the germany could be brought to its knees within a year. but what did they know about the true effectiveness of their bombing. the air. in cologne the bombers destroyed tens of thousands of homes and put more than forty five thousand people out onto the street. but in essence only eleven homes were hit bad weather meant that most british bombs missed their
targets. i wasn't worried on the contrary the british bombs reminded civilians that they were engaged in a life or death struggle he ordered his minister for propaganda use of goebbels to ready the german people for a lengthy fight. goebbels rhetorical strategy stress the idea of vengeance he promised to annihilate england with retaliatory weapons of inconceivable might. the the one and v. two rockets. they were only in the developmental stages. so gerbils blamed scapegoat the jews whom the regime had been persecuting for ten
years. they would be the ones to pay the ultimate price for the bomb damage. apartments and property confiscated from german jews who had been sent to concentration camps were given to people who had suffered in the bombardments. and this system was extended to all the countries under german occupation. for instance twenty seven thousand train carriages full of household goods were sent from paris and antwerp to german cities. using looted property the nazi regime was able to compensate those who suffered
from the first wave of british bombing. in the late one nine hundred forty two party agents received three hundred seventy thousand claims for compensation for which the state immediately paid out one hundred twenty six million marks that was a relatively small sum for a regime that had billions at its disposal from europe's jews it would not be easy for bombers to bring an end to such a powerful empire. but the fierce battle had begun. in britain bomber command was now receiving a third of the defense budget factories began producing a new category of plane heavy bombers. the afro lancaster and the halifax were twice the size of germany's hind calls from the blitz.
in early one nine hundred forty three harris refined his strategy he decided to constant. straight on cities in the valley that ice leading industrial region was also its most populated the objective to destroy a working class neighborhoods. to be certain of hitting them he proposed extending the target range to include entire cities. this technique was dubbed carpet bombing. the engineers of bomber command also developed a lethal technique. a first wave of explosive bombs would blow off the roofs of
buildings. a barrel of incendiary bombs would then start mass fires. and a second wave of explosive bombs would prevent firemen from extinguishing the flags . up. the hope was that the fires would combine to form a blaze of such intensity that it would create a firestorm able to consume an entire city in a few hours. the british government signed off on harris's plan. churchill made a point to personally warn german civilians.
that. lubed. the british inflicted massive damage on the cities of the uk each air raid was now causing over a thousand deaths. on july twenty fourth one thousand nine hundred forty three operation gomorrah commenced against the city of hamburg pilots returning to england said the glow from the inferno was visible up to three hundred kilometers away.
the bombing of hamburg was like no other some forty two thousand six hundred people were killed. after hamburg the british intensified their campaigns but still victory was not attacked. the general staff in the united states have promised not to target civilians but would they keep that promise when the war continued and the nazi regime was more determined than ever to fight to the death slowly but surely the aerial bombardment was about to reach its deadliest face.
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