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  •  Deflect from the Holocaust? (0+ / 0-)

    I've never seen Dresden used that way. I've seen it as an indictment of our own (meaning the Allies) willingness to use tactics we condemned in the very people we then used them on, but never as a deflection from the Holocaust.

    It's also worth noting that Geurnica was both a much smaller place (the estimated number of people in town the day of the bombing was about 10,000, since it was a market day) and was subjected to coordinated high explosive bombing in its infancy (the entire concept had only been tried a few times earlier in the same war.) Dresden, on the other hand, was a large city (7th largest in Germany, population well over 500,000 at the time) and was subjected to a type of bombing that was far more deadly and designed to destroy large areas. When you compare casualty figures, the absolute maximum for Guernica is the approx. 1700 people reported at the time by the Basque government (a still disputed figure, but one I tend to accept) while the minimum figure for Dresden was 22,700 people.

    I'm not going over this to somehow excuse either act; both were unconscionable attacks on civilian populations and should be condemned. But we shouldn't forget that what was done to Dresden was the purposeful creation of a firestorm, one of the most horrific things you can do to a populated area. Indeed, the most destructive bombing ever conducted (the March 9-10 1945 firebombing of Tokyo) was a conscious repeat of the Dresden bombing tactics and destroyed 16 square miles of the city (that's a larger area than either of the atomic bombings destroyed.) This is something our country did, and we should not seek to excuse it under any circumstances.

    Guernica and Dresden do have something else in common that's worth noting; both bombings had famous publicizers who held them up as examples of the horrors of war. Picasso very rightly used Guernica to rally international condemnation of the Germans and Franco, but also of modern war in general. Kurt Vonnegut did the same (in his own quirky way) with Dresden in Slaughterhouse Five, made particularly pertinent since he was an actual survivor of the bombing (he was a prisoner of war being held in the city at the time, for those unfamiliar, and the name of the novel comes from the meatlocker in which he and his fellow prisoners took shelter to escape the firestorm.) The point is, we should be holding both of these attacks up, not to condemn the specific parties involved at this point (the time for that is past, since they're all dead themselves), but to condemn war in general and attacks on civilians in particular. Use of one does not exclude use of the other for this purpose.

    I said at the top that I'd never actually heard someone use Dresden as an excuse for the Holocaust. I certainly hope I never do. If I did encounter such a person, I'd be unable to restrain myself from dope-slapping them and shouting "six million people systematically murdered, you idiot!" in their face.

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

    by Stwriley on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:03:25 AM PDT

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