Proof that Churchill goaded Hitler into Terror Bombing

The Allies 1939-1945, and those fighting against Germany.

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Iron_Bismarck
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Post by Iron_Bismarck » Thu May 24, 2007 10:34 pm

phylo_roadking wrote:Iron Bismarck -

Do you or do you NOT have ANY connection in ANY way with ANY historical video production company???

You've refused to answer this query elsewhere, answer it here please.
No I haven't... no, I don't have any connection to any of the sources I've cited, whether book, video, or website.

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Post by Iron_Bismarck » Thu May 24, 2007 10:52 pm

Enrico Cernuschi wrote:Hello Iron Bismarck (in Italy it means a big steak with an egg over),

you are not correct. Italy declared war on 10 June 1940 advising hostilites would begun the next day (it was an old style policy).
There was no invasion of France (I presume FRA stay for that nation) as the orders were not to enter in that country or to fire beyond the border.
Wasn't Hitler pressuring Mussolini to honor his alliance w/ Germany and wage war against Germany's enemies?
The purpose of these singular choices were all based on the (wrong) principle the war would be soon over and that the seeds of hate had to remain quiet. A furhter phoney war like the previous Drole de guerre.
I do not understand what you are saying. Would you rephrase this?
Foreign Minister Ciano told the USA envoy Philipps on 1 June 1940 he hoped a Washington entry in the conflict as this act would increase the number of the common sense parts in the pending peace conference (Langer and Gleason Defy to Isolationism, 1956, page 478).
According to the documentary, Mussolini — The Churchill Conspiracies, Mussolini was slow to declare war on France and Britain because Mussolini and Churchill were in correspondance. Churchill told Mussolini that Italy could conquer French lands in the Mediterranean if he would stay out of the fight. Thus, although Germany had been at war with Britain since 1939, and had been fighting since 10 May, Mussolini waited a month as letters were sent back and forth between him and Churchill.

Also, Mussolini first expressed doubts in Hitler at this time, saying that Hitler might not win the war... this is consistent with your statement that Mussolini doubted the sanity of Hitler. Is that what you meant? Again, I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding what you are saying here.
The Night bombing of the Italian towns from Britain since the very beginning was not a represail, but a long planned program as Cadogan documented in his diary writing on 29 may 1940: "...what to do with the ice-cream vendors. Drown the brutes is what I should like to do".
Is the same true for the bombing of German towns?
Poor Sir Alex, on 12 June he wrote that the bombing had been a "complete flop". He was shocked that the war in the Med. had not been over after that first night.

After this raid the Italians bombed Toulon and the escalation followed and the first Italian troops entered in France on 21 June. They conquered until 24 June 800 square kilometers of Alps (Henry Azeau, La guerre Franco-Italienne Juin 1940, 1967) The British strategy about night bombing was not an answer at something, it was the key for victory according their opinion. One of the many mistakes of the war.

Bye

EC
Didn't the war end on 22 June, 1940, with the signing of surrender in the Compienne railcar? How did Mussolini's troops keep fighting until 24 June?

Best regards,

Iron_Bismarck

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Post by Iron_Bismarck » Thu May 24, 2007 11:28 pm

Hop wrote:
Hop, I am not talking about the 28/29 August raid. My understanding is this:

25/26 August: RAF raid on Berlin kills no civilians
28/29 August: RAF raid on Berlin kills a few civilians (consistent w/ you)
3/4 September: RAF raid on Berlin kills "hundreds" of civilians
It's still not true, though.

The Wehrmacht High Command War Diary has the following to say:

2nd Sept: "No bombs were dropped on Berlin and surroundings on the night 1/2 September"

3rd Sept: "During the night of 2/3 September enemy bombers approached Berlin but changed their course before reaching the city." (they don't mention any other bombing)

4th Sept: "During the night of 3/4 September the main British effort was directed against the northern section of Berlin (10 bombs). No attacks were directed against the centre of the city" (there is no mention of casualties, but the 10 bombs they report cannot have caused many, especially as they do not see fit to mention them)
This is consistent with my video source, that said something like "Berlin was bombed again on 3/4 Sept." I may have misquoted the sources, it may have said "hundreds were injured". I'll have to check.
5th Sept: " During the past night the enemy conducted air attacks the main effort of which was directed against Osnabruck. 7 bombs were dropped on Potsdam"

That's about it in the time period you mentioned. Only minor attacks, and no mention of heavy casualties.

Indeed, the entry for the 8th October notes:

"The heaviest attack ever conducted on Berlin took place. During this attack, 50 demolition and 48 incendiary bombs were dropped and 25 persons killed, 50 persons were injured"

That's in October, after 5,000+ people had been killed in London.
On the strength of your source — would you cite it? — the 3/4 Sept. attack on Berlin was not aimed at the heart of the city. Thus, even if my "centers of Capitals" understanding is valid, the attack on the city was no more "below the belt" than Germany's previous attacks against military targets around London. (Unless their is some subtlety I'm missing, like Northern Berlin has no military targets or something.)

So, it would seem I cannot claim Churchill "flagrantly" goaded Hitler. Howevever, there is still the fact, from my video sources, that Churchill's bombings of Berlin — however piddley they might have been — coupled with Nazi boasts about no enemy bombers flying over the Reich were creating unrest amongst Berliners. The Nazi leadership not only was discredited, but feared riots.

You would say that Londoners would scoff at how little it takes to set Berliners off...

but if Berliners were on the verge of mass riots, and the Nazis had to do something, and Churchill knowingly exploited that situation, he could still have goaded the Nazis into doing something bombastic (no pun intended :) but foolish, even without violating the "Air Chivalry" codes of conduct.

Churchill certainly benefitted from using this political pressure at home to leverage Hitler into bombing London...

All I'm saying is that Churchill was smart enough to see that in advance.
Basically you are fitting the facts to your opinion. The truth is that Churchill ordered the first raid on Berlin after London had been bombed on 4 separate days/nights, and after well over 1,000 British civilians had been killed across the country.
What? Please observe: in WWI, Germany marched through the low-countries. Germany did so for strategic reasons — Belgium was the best way to Paris. Germany did not march through Belgium b/c Belgium was an ideological enemy. Likewise, in 1915, the British violated Greek neutrality, in order to threaten the Axis from the south. They invaded Greece, not b/c Greece was the enemy, but b/c invading Greece let Britain get at her enemies.
Have you ever seen a map of Europe? Germany is in the middle, Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands are west of Germany. The "Godless Communists" were to the east.

Again, if Hitler was frightened of attack by the communists, he would have sought alliances amongst the western allies. He wasn't frightened of attack, he was bent on conquest, and knew the western allies wouldn't allow him to build a greater German reich in eastern Europe.
(1) Hitler did try to make alliances with England. Hitler nearly achieved this in 1935-36, w/ the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (June '35) and w/ the corronation of the pro-Nazi Edward VIII (1936). But Edward VIII was booted out over the (Nazi spy) Mrs. Simpson, and by 1937 Anglo-German relations were in decline. War erupted between them in 1939. According to the video Hitler's Fixer, Hitler said something like, "Europe showed herself to be immune to persuasion and charm, I had to use force to win her".

(2) Again, Hitler conquers Czechoslovakia in the south... but then uses the massive Skoda armaments works to fight the Communists in the east.
In war, occupying or attacking "innocent bystanders" who get "caught in the crossfire" is often pursued b/c it is so valuable to the war effort.
That can be true on occasion. But to go to war with the other European powers, who could so easily have been allies against communism, makes no sense whatsoever.
Ditto.
These are not mutually exclusive. Hitler wanted to destroy Communism. Hitler wanted to eradicate the Bolsheviks — the "Jewish Bolshevik Gang", recall Hitler blamed Communism on the Jews — in Moscow.

Hitler also wanted Germany to benefit from its anti-Communist war by siezing all of Russia west of the Urals.
And Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

The point is Hitler wasn't frightened of communism, he wasn't fighting a defensive war against communists, he saw an opportunity to seize what the communists had. Trying to dress it up as a great defence against communist aggression is silly. When you are frightened of your neighbour on one side, you seek allies amongst your other neighbours, you don't take them all on at once.
In that sense, Hitler was (crudely) like a Crusading Knight, there to wage war against the "infidel Muslims".... and yet carve out a Crusader State from the booty.
That's certainly true. Hitler wanted to take more territory by force.
And he viewed it as a Holy Crusade by Divine Providence's chosen agents (German Folk) to win their just deserts (Lebensraum, GrossReich) by defeating a despicable foe (Communists, Jews) in a Holy War (Barbarossa). The absolutely most synnical way to put it is, Hitler wanted to exploit Europeans' fears of Communism to buoy German expansion.
The combined figures increase by 9%. That is not staggering, but I will look at this.
It's not a staggering increase, but it's the opposite of terminal decline.
That is a good chart. But it also proves my point. Please consider, each dot on your chart represents a whole month.

In August, both sides were losing 100 planes per month, net. That is a war of attrition, which Germany w/ its 3x mor planes would invariably win.
Only the Germans didn't have 3 times more fighters. Note that these figures are for single seat fighters. By August Britain had more single seat fighters than Germany, having built up the numbers quite dramatically in the preceding months.
B/c it represents the whole month, the "August" date point shows the results of the BoB — a war of attrition that ground both sides down, which Germany would win.
No, Germany would lose because Germany had less fighters, and was losing them faster.
Now, look at September. Germany is still losing net, whilst the RAF has been "loosed" and is net positive. This shows the effects of the Blitz, which began in early September.
It's certainly true that pressure was reduced on the RAF as a result of the Luftwaffe targeting London. But it's just as true that pressure would have been reduced anyway, because the ever decreasing Luftwaffe just could not keep up the same sortie rate.

The Luftwaffe switched to night attacks, and to attacking London, because their losses attacking scattered RAF airfields in daylight were too high to bear.
I am saying that to free his invaluable RAF from that war of attrition which Britain would invariably lose.
Only Britain was inevitably winning. German front line strength by the time they switched to attacking London had declined quite dramatically, and they no longer had enough fighters to do anything else.
Your chart, specifically the August Data point, shows that the BoB was working in favor of Germany. Both sides were down to a net production (Gross Production - Battle Losses) of -100. This is a war of attrition, which Germany would eventually win.
No. Germany by this point had less fighters than Britain, and was losing them faster.
England started w/ ~800 fighters. Grinding it down at the rate of 100 / month would, therefore, take ~8 months to swat it down.
The problem is, whilst the British started the battle with about that many Spitfires and Hurricanes, by the beginning of August they had more. As of 2nd August, the figures were 1,192 Spitfires and Hurricanes in squadrons and storage units.

So, grinding down at 100 a month means 11 months.

Now, look at German fighter pilot strength. They went from 869 to 735 over the month of August. At that rate, they run out of pilots in 6.5 months.

That means a BoB ending by the end of the year in a German defeat, although of course they would call it off much sooner than that, as they did historically.

And the RAF has one more advantage. More than half its fighter strength is outside the battle area, in the north and west. Fighter Command could decline to about half its strength overall, whilst maintaining strength in the SE at 100%. The Germans, with nearly all their fighter strength committed against the SE of England, will decline in effectiveness immediately.

So after, in early August you have approx 800 front line German fighters facing about 300 in 11 Group. Come November that would be about 450 German fighters still facing 300 fighters in 11 Group, and come January about 150 German fighters still facing 300 fighters in 11 Group.
So here's my argument. Theoretically, Germany could have kept hammering at the RAF, continuing the BoB into early 1941, and then launched Operation Sea Lion in Summer 1941.
Only they wouldn't have an air force to hammer with.
In short, inflicting -100 / mo net losses on the RAF wasn't bad...

but it wasn't good enough either. Hitler had to win, and he had to win fast.
Not just Hitler. Goering had his personal reputation bound up in defeating Britain. That's why he pressed for permission to attack London, before bombs fell on Berlin.
So, although Churchill did — I am convinced — "goad" Hitler into switching from BoB tactics vs. RAF to Blitz tactics vs. London...

and although Churchill did bomb Berlin 4 times, and central Berlin 3 of those times, to do so (by discrediting the Nazi leadership, making them look bad, provoking riots and civil unrest)...

Hitler bought into Churchill's goadings b/c he had no choice: the BoB was not proceeding fast enough, and Hitler gambled that switching from BoB tactics to Blitz tactics might just do the trick...
The thing is, when you take the non-facts out of your argument, pointing out that the British lightly bombed Berlin in response to a greater number of German raids on London, you are left with the fact that the Germans were desperate, their casualties were too heavy to continue as they were, their navy was a joke and the army couldn't swim 20 miles, meaning the only weapon the Germans had to force a decision was the Luftwaffe. Bombing London was their last remaining option, and one they took. The claims of retaliation are ridiculous because the Luftwaffe began the bombing of London before the British began bombing Berlin.
What about the fourth and final RAF raid vs. Berlin on either 5/6 Sept or 6/7 Sept, after Hitler's speech at the Sports Palace?

Can you extend the diary entries you posted up top a few more days?

There are so many #s it is hard to understand w/o having access to the raw data myself.

The impression I have is that the RAF was never being attrited fast enough for a 1940 cross-channel invasion by Germany.

Why is it, then, that every single DVD I've watched on the BoB claims that the 7 Sept. switch to the Blitz vs. London was a miracle God-send for the RAF? Why do they all say that the RAF pilots were on the brink of physical collapse, that they were having to put pilots into the air w/ sub-minimal training...

in fact, now that I think about it, I think that was a point raised. Sure, England could churn out new fighters... but they were losing their veteran pilots, and were having to rush-train pilots...

At any rate, this "common perception" is also apparent, for what it's worth, in the 1967 movie "Battle of Britain"...

so where does this "We're almost lost, but wait Hitler saves us hurray" attitude come from?

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Post by phylo_roadking » Fri May 25, 2007 4:23 am

this "common perception" is also apparent, for what it's worth, in the 1967 movie "Battle of Britain"...
The last time I looked, that was called Drama.......and screenwriters DO tend to put it BACK in to get bums on seats...
Why is it, then, that every single DVD I've watched on the BoB claims that the 7 Sept. switch to the Blitz vs. London was a miracle God-send for the RAF? Why do they all say that the RAF pilots were on the brink of physical collapse, that they were having to put pilots into the air w/ sub-minimal training...
IB, you're mking one MEGA huge mistake in all this - you need to know EXACTLY where those producers[/i] got their information - which you DON'T. ONE bad source can prejudice everything. Whereas you're being given warbooks, diary entries etc. here - far more definitive. You're quoting your videos as definititive - whereas they're only tertiary "sources" and interpretation..
so where does this "We're almost lost, but wait Hitler saves us hurray" attitude come from?
Simple - it was played up for American consumption. Remember this was the era when Joe Kennedy was siting in the American Embassy in London merrily telegraphing Washington that Great Britain was fcuked and didn't deserve another cent spent on support. When the RAF was uncrating Brewstert Buffalos, Bell Airacobras and Curtiss P40s as fast as they could be got off the ships. When American rifles with their mixed ammo types were being put in the hands of the Home Guard So the Enfield Works' and satellite factories' output could be put in the hands of the regualr Army after they'd left theirs on the shores of France.

You need to start looking at the politics of War - its NEVER about one guy killing another. That's "murder", thats why it has a different name.
The impression I have is that the RAF was never being attrited fast enough for a 1940 cross-channel invasion by Germany
Of course it wasn't. Not only did Dowding finally activate the foreign service squadrons after MONTHS of training, only shortly before this date....but also there were at least TWO new intakes from the Empoire Flying Schools in the colonies due off the boats, as well as the dozens of experienced pilots having to cover Northern Ireland and Scotland.
in fact, now that I think about it, I think that was a point raised. Sure, England could churn out new fighters... but they were losing their veteran pilots, and were having to rush-train pilots...
NOONE in this thread - when discussiing numbers of pilots OR numbers of aircraft available - has remembered ONE very major factor in britain's defences...Max Beaverbrook's reconstruction programme. At the request of Churchill, The Beaver had added to his portfolio the construction of a network of advanced repair fields and facilities, and together with the Air Transport Service were actually returning some TWO aircraft back to service for every 3-4 lost! Its wasn't a case of NEW aircraft coming straight from Castle Bromwich - it was wholly repaired and serviced aircraft coming BACK into the line every single night. The only squadrons that started a new day without their full flying complement in numbers were ones that were attrited at dawn or in very early morning raids, from the first week of the Battle on. Or had simply lost SO many the day before due to operational losses or mechanical faults that the Ferry Service simply couldn't get them enough planes in the hours of darkness.
The Nazi leadership not only was discredited, but feared riots.
No. [Goering was discredited...and the NSDAP ALWAYS feared riots; after all, no political party is ever scared of riots quite like a party that has specialised in street violence and intimidation, because they KNOW how it can work.
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Fri May 25, 2007 4:35 am

Hello IB,

I'm afraid there are too many points to correct, anyway:

Hitler did not asked Mussolini to enter in the war. He preferred a neutral Italy not to get materials from that source (the British and French naval blockade was able to find items bound for Germany since Sept. 1939 until 1 May 1940 for less than 450.000 £, 90% of them bought during Spring 1939), but because the less the allies, the less requests which could complicate the settlement of the conflict.

Mussolini believed the war would be soon oner in June 1940; to declear war to France, but no to fight it (only a phoney war along the borders like Sept. 1939-May 1940 one between France, Germany and Britain along the Rhine) would allow Italy a seat in the next peace conference without compromising an entente with France that would be useful to balance the German power in the Continent.

I believe that TV documentary are rubbish as an history source and these ref. to the mytical Mussolini-Churchill corrispondece comfirm my doubts.

Mussolini had many doubts about Hitler since the Twenties; unfortunatly Britain preferred to open the gage at the German tiger signing the naval treaty of June 1935.

Yes it it. The German towns too had to be converted in ashes since 10 May 1940. The only war Churchill and his fellows could conceive was a Gengis Kahn' style one (and it was th eonly the British people accepted to fight; the Yanks needed more than three years to persuade the Britons to
land a big army on the Continent and not only some professionals and expendable divisions.

According the terms of the Compiegne armistice that agreement would have entered in force only AFTER the signature of a further and separate armistice with Italy which was signed on 24 June and activated since the mifnight of that same day.

Let me suggest you some more books and original documents available in the archives like the British TNA or the FDR Library in N.Y. and some less TV.

Bye

EC
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Post by Iron_Bismarck » Fri May 25, 2007 11:39 pm

phylo_roadking wrote:
this "common perception" is also apparent, for what it's worth, in the 1967 movie "Battle of Britain"...
The last time I looked, that was called Drama.......and screenwriters DO tend to put it BACK in to get bums on seats...
Why is it, then, that every single DVD I've watched on the BoB claims that the 7 Sept. switch to the Blitz vs. London was a miracle God-send for the RAF? Why do they all say that the RAF pilots were on the brink of physical collapse, that they were having to put pilots into the air w/ sub-minimal training...
IB, you're mking one MEGA huge mistake in all this - you need to know EXACTLY where those producers[/i] got their information - which you DON'T. ONE bad source can prejudice everything. Whereas you're being given warbooks, diary entries etc. here - far more definitive. You're quoting your videos as definititive - whereas they're only tertiary "sources" and interpretation..
so where does this "We're almost lost, but wait Hitler saves us hurray" attitude come from?
Simple - it was played up for American consumption. Remember this was the era when Joe Kennedy was siting in the American Embassy in London merrily telegraphing Washington that Great Britain was fcuked and didn't deserve another cent spent on support. When the RAF was uncrating Brewstert Buffalos, Bell Airacobras and Curtiss P40s as fast as they could be got off the ships. When American rifles with their mixed ammo types were being put in the hands of the Home Guard So the Enfield Works' and satellite factories' output could be put in the hands of the regualr Army after they'd left theirs on the shores of France.
One of the documentaries I watched was the Battlefield Britain series, a 2004 BBC presentation aimed at the British public. Another is from The War File series by Cromwell Productions, also geared for the British public. It is standard OP, on both sides of the Atlantic, to portray — rightly or wrongly — the BoB as stretching the RAF to the brink of collapse before the "miracle" of Hitler's blunder on 7 Sept. That doesn't mean it is automatically true, but it requires explanation of why it's false.

Moreover, there is a double-standard here — if the RAF was never in danger, and Hitler bombed London out of desperation, then he didn't blunder, he just took a necessary gamble... yet every documentary calls it "Hitler's Blunder" or a "Great Blunder of WWII — the Pilot who Bombed London"... etc.

So you are claiming there is a double falsehood here — (1) the RAF was never in danger, (2) Hitler's desperate gamble was never a "blunder".
You need to start looking at the politics of War - its NEVER about one guy killing another. That's "murder", thats why it has a different name.
The impression I have is that the RAF was never being attrited fast enough for a 1940 cross-channel invasion by Germany
Of course it wasn't. Not only did Dowding finally activate the foreign service squadrons after MONTHS of training, only shortly before this date....but also there were at least TWO new intakes from the Empoire Flying Schools in the colonies due off the boats, as well as the dozens of experienced pilots having to cover Northern Ireland and Scotland.
in fact, now that I think about it, I think that was a point raised. Sure, England could churn out new fighters... but they were losing their veteran pilots, and were having to rush-train pilots...
NOONE in this thread - when discussiing numbers of pilots OR numbers of aircraft available - has remembered ONE very major factor in britain's defences...Max Beaverbrook's reconstruction programme. At the request of Churchill, The Beaver had added to his portfolio the construction of a network of advanced repair fields and facilities, and together with the Air Transport Service were actually returning some TWO aircraft back to service for every 3-4 lost! Its wasn't a case of NEW aircraft coming straight from Castle Bromwich - it was wholly repaired and serviced aircraft coming BACK into the line every single night. The only squadrons that started a new day without their full flying complement in numbers were ones that were attrited at dawn or in very early morning raids, from the first week of the Battle on. Or had simply lost SO many the day before due to operational losses or mechanical faults that the Ferry Service simply couldn't get them enough planes in the hours of darkness.
I just mentioned pilots...

you didn't. I put your text here into a text editor and did a "find" for "pilot", and the word does not appear except in the first sentence where you quote me.

True or false — the BoB cost the RAF many veteran, experienced pilots... who were then replaced by hurredly trained replacements w/ only minimal flight experience?

As it stands, it looks like the data seems to support that the RAF was never "on its last legs" in terms of numbers of fighters available, although I would like to see the raw data. But this means that numbers of fighters is no longer the issue.
The Nazi leadership not only was discredited, but feared riots.
No. [Goering was discredited...and the NSDAP ALWAYS feared riots; after all, no political party is ever scared of riots quite like a party that has specialised in street violence and intimidation, because they KNOW how it can work.

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Post by Hop » Sat May 26, 2007 2:38 am

On the strength of your source — would you cite it?
It's the war diary of the Wehrmacht High Command/National Defence Branch, as translated by Klee for the USAF. It's on one of the USAF web sites as a numbered historical diary. It's not the full diary, it only concerns the air war and Sea Lion from the summer of 1940 to Spring 1941.
Thus, even if my "centers of Capitals" understanding is valid, the attack on the city was no more "below the belt" than Germany's previous attacks against military targets around London.
Exactly. The British were responding with similar attacks to the ones the Germans were delivering, although due to the much greater ranges and smaller British bomber force, their attacks were on a much smaller scale than the Germans were delivering against Britain.
So, it would seem I cannot claim Churchill "flagrantly" goaded Hitler. Howevever, there is still the fact, from my video sources, that Churchill's bombings of Berlin — however piddley they might have been — coupled with Nazi boasts about no enemy bombers flying over the Reich were creating unrest amongst Berliners. The Nazi leadership not only was discredited, but feared riots.
I've never seen anything to suggest that was the case. Indeed Irving, who of course has a poor reputation because he distorts the truth in favour of the Nazis, claims Goebbels had extra fires lit around the Reichstag and Brandenburg gate to make Berliners think the attacks were heavier than they really were (in order to justify the mass bombing of Britain)
Hitler did try to make alliances with England.
Early on, and he even began to get somewhere. But his goals of conquering large parts of Europe were incompatible with alliances with democracies.
And he viewed it as a Holy Crusade by Divine Providence's chosen agents (German Folk) to win their just deserts (Lebensraum, GrossReich) by defeating a despicable foe (Communists, Jews) in a Holy War (Barbarossa). The absolutely most synnical way to put it is, Hitler wanted to exploit Europeans' fears of Communism to buoy German expansion.
Oh, I'd agree with that. But that means Germany was an aggressor, not merely defending itself against communism.
What about the fourth and final RAF raid vs. Berlin on either 5/6 Sept or 6/7 Sept, after Hitler's speech at the Sports Palace?

Can you extend the diary entries you posted up top a few more days?
6th Sept: "About 80 British aircraft penetrated into Germany last night" (no mention of where of if they bombed)

7th Sept: "A heavy air attack was carried out against Berlin last night. The London docks were attacked during both the past nights"

Note though the later entry:

8th Sept: "The heaviest attack ever conducted on Berlin took place. During this attack, 50 demolition and 48 incendiary bombs were dropped and 25 persons killed, 50 persons were injured"

That sets an upper limit (and a rather low one) on any of the raids in September.
The impression I have is that the RAF was never being attrited fast enough for a 1940 cross-channel invasion by Germany.
Yes, that's correct.

In fact, apart from brief periods, Fighter Command was actually growing stronger for large parts of the battle.
Why is it, then, that every single DVD I've watched on the BoB claims that the 7 Sept. switch to the Blitz vs. London was a miracle God-send for the RAF?
Because it makes a good story. It makes a much better story than saying that the British had organised their defences very well, operated with great efficiency, and in the end had a rather comfortable victory.

It also owes something to the perception in Britain at the time. Most stories about the BoB are written from a British perspective.

The RAF intelligence branch greatly overestimated German strength. They thought the Luftwaffe had thousands of aircraft in reserve (in fact they had almost none), they believed the Germans were producing about 3 times as many aircraft as they were, and that they were training 3 times as many pilots as they were. In short, they bought in to the Nazi propaganda about the invincible Luftwaffe.

The RAF of course knew their own losses, and they had a fair idea of German losses. But based on what they believed about German production and training, they thought the Luftwaffe was either growing stronger, or at least maintaining its strength. They didn't know that the Luftwaffe was actually bleeding itself white.
Why do they all say that the RAF pilots were on the brink of physical collapse, that they were having to put pilots into the air w/ sub-minimal training...
The training organisations were not working well. Or rather, the Operational Conversion Units were not. They were where qualified pilots went to learn a particular type, eg Spitfires or Hurricanes. Later on in the battle pilots were sometimes leaving these units with as little as 7 hours flying in a Spitfire or Hurricane.

However, the British had an advantage in that they had squadrons in the North and West who were far from the combat area, and Dowding changed the system so that those squadrons, as well as patrolling for lone German bombers and recce aircraft, would also finish the training of those pilots before they were posted on to the front line.
n fact, now that I think about it, I think that was a point raised. Sure, England could churn out new fighters... but they were losing their veteran pilots, and were having to rush-train pilots..
Yes, but so were the Luftwaffe. Erhard Milch toured the Luftwaffe units in France and found that they were being sent replacement fighter pilots who had only carried out 10 landings in a Bf 109 (which suggests a similar number of hours to some of the rush trained Spitfire and Hurricane pilots)

And the British had one more advantage, the pilots from countries conquered by the Germans. Many of the Poles and Czechs were added as the battle went on (for example, 303, a Polish squadron, only joined the battle on 31st August).
so where does this "We're almost lost, but wait Hitler saves us hurray" attitude come from?
Over dramatisation of the British point of view. And the German point of view.

Whilst the British greatly overestimated the Germans, the Germans greatly underestimated the British. They underestimated aircraft production, they underestimated the pilot training programme, and they greatly overestimated the numbers of British planes they were shooting down.

Richard Overy, in The Battle, sums this up:
The British fought the battle as if it was a last ditch struggle against an overwhelming enemy, the German side fought against a force persistently misrepresented as technically and tactically inept, short of aircraft, pilots and bases
The Germans thought they were winning, the RAF thought they might be starting to lose. That colours portrayals of the battle, particularly the less scholarly ones.

Look for a book called The Most Dangerous Enemy by Stephen Bungay.
So you are claiming there is a double falsehood here — (1) the RAF was never in danger, (2) Hitler's desperate gamble was never a "blunder".
Yes to the first. As to the second, Hitler listened to the Luftwaffe, who wanted to attack London. As such it certainly can't be called Hitler's blunder. And in many ways it wasn't a blunder at all. The Luftwaffe would have had to scale back the scale of their daylight ofensive anyway (in fact, they already were, RAF losses fell from 165 in the last week of August to 141 in the first week of September). Night bombing of Britain was just about the only option left to Germany to press the war against Britain.

The only sense in which it was a blunder was that it started the area bombing campaign between Britain and Germany, which the British later expanded greatly.
True or false — the BoB cost the RAF many veteran, experienced pilots... who were then replaced by hurredly trained replacements w/ only minimal flight experience?
I'd have to say false on that, because the RAF didn't have many veteran experienced pilots to begin with.

Unlike the Luftwaffe, which had cut its teeth in Spain, and had victorious campaigns in Poland, Norway and the West behind it, the RAF fighter pilots had little experience. Some had served in France, but not that many. Some had seen combat over Dunkirk, but again not that many, and not for very long.

So whilst the RAF was losing pilots, the pilots that survived were becoming veterans, rather than the rookies they had been.
As it stands, it looks like the data seems to support that the RAF was never "on its last legs" in terms of numbers of fighters available, although I would like to see the raw data.
A quote from Bungay:
Knowing that their enemy was preparing to 'go down hill' would have been cold comfort to the Luftwaffe. They assumed the enemy had been doing that for some time. In fact they believed he ought to be at his last gasp. General Stapf had reported to Haider on 30 August that the British had lost 800
Hurricanes and Spitfires since 8 August out of a front-line strength of 915. Given Schmid's estimate of their production capacity of 200-300 a month, the British could therefore only have 3-400 left at the outside. After another week of pounding in September, they must indeed be down to their last 200 machines.

In fact, on the evening of 6 September, Fighter Command had over 750 serviceable fighters and 1,381 pilots available to it, about 950 of whom flew Spitfires or Hurricanes. It needed 1,588 pilots to be at full establishment, which is of course what Dowding wanted, so from his point of view he was 200 short. From the Luftwaffe's point of view, he had almost 200 more pilots and 150 more planes than he had had at the beginning of July when they set out to destroy him.

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Post by redcoat » Sat May 26, 2007 1:44 pm

Hop wrote:[I've never seen anything to suggest that was the case. Indeed Irving, who of course has a poor reputation because he distorts the truth in favour of the Nazis, claims Goebbels had extra fires lit around the Reichstag and Brandenburg gate to make Berliners think the attacks were heavier than they really were (in order to justify the mass bombing of Britain)
Frederick Taylor in his book 'Dresden 13 February 1945' also states that Goebbels mentioned in his wartime diaries that he had to fake some damage in Berlin for propaganda purposes after the first RAF raids on Berlin
if in doubt, PANIC !!!!

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Post by phylo_roadking » Sun May 27, 2007 8:16 am

Quote:
Why do they all say that the RAF pilots were on the brink of physical collapse, that they were having to put pilots into the air w/ sub-minimal training...


The training organisations were not working well. Or rather, the Operational Conversion Units were not. They were where qualified pilots went to learn a particular type, eg Spitfires or Hurricanes. Later on in the battle pilots were sometimes leaving these units with as little as 7 hours flying in a Spitfire or Hurricane.

However, the British had an advantage in that they had squadrons in the North and West who were far from the combat area, and Dowding changed the system so that those squadrons, as well as patrolling for lone German bombers and recce aircraft, would also finish the training of those pilots before they were posted on to the front line.
Exactly, Hop. The big OCUs like Drem etc. were indeed working at a slower rate than hoped for BUT remember that all other RAF Groups were STILL having to fly "oldfashioned" CAPS, Chain Home and Chain Home Low only protected the South of England and allowed Dowding's new command and control system to task/vector squadrons. So IF it had ever been required, the RAF actually had a reserve pool at any one time of another 200+ pilots....AND if required the Fleet Air Arm shore squadrons in Scotland etc. This together with the Commonwealth pilots due in from the Empire schools with their their full training hours on type.
Quote:
Why is it, then, that every single DVD I've watched on the BoB claims that the 7 Sept. switch to the Blitz vs. London was a miracle God-send for the RAF?


Because it makes a good story. It makes a much better story than saying that the British had organised their defences very well, operated with great efficiency, and in the end had a rather comfortable victory.

It also owes something to the perception in Britain at the time. Most stories about the BoB are written from a British perspective.
....which is a perspective that we HAD to be the underdog; that was a perspective created at the VERY start of the Battle by Churchill and others, again as much for the American audience as the UK population. Remember, this was the period that FDR had to send over William Donovan to get a true view of events and the British WILL to resist, as he knew his reports from Joe Kennedy were prejudiced.
Yes, but so were the Luftwaffe. Erhard Milch toured the Luftwaffe units in France and found that they were being sent replacement fighter pilots who had only carried out 10 landings in a Bf 109
....which is VERY indicative in the case of the 109, with its very narrow splayed undercarriage and known "ground looping" problem. Confident and SAFE landing of even a servicable undamaged aircraft required far more practice than even an RAF Cranwell-standard "three point landing" LOL
(1) the RAF was never in danger
It was in danger at the start of the Battle, especially the attacks on the Channel convoys and the first week on the Battle itself - until loss rates steadied, aircraft repair and production began to spiral up, the Luftwafe's true state and numbers became apparent etc.
It is standard OP, on both sides of the Atlantic, to portray — rightly or wrongly — the BoB as stretching the RAF to the brink of collapse before the "miracle" of Hitler's blunder on 7 Sept. That doesn't mean it is automatically true, but it requires explanation of why it's false.
Which you have, in spades.

Also remember that Churchill as waging another war, a "war of public opinion" in an attempt to if not just rack up the rate of lend/Lease to britain after Dunkirk, but also to if at all possible to bring the US into the war. Its funny how Ed Murrow's broadcasts from London during the BoB and the Blitz got the full power of the BBC's world service transmitters behind him, whereas Bill Shirer's reports on the numbers of German troops NOT being loaded onto invasion barges took a VERY long time to filter out... :wink:

Something else that's being forgotten about in this discussion - the REAL struggle in August and September wasn't just between the RAF and the Luftwaffe, it was Also against Canute's old enemy. It was about achieving air superiority before the high tides and storms of the Autumn Neap and Equinox gales. The RAF didn't have to defeat the Luftwaffe...it just had to hold the upper hand until the Channel became uncrossable for another 6 months by overloaded ships and tugged barge strings...it was about time.
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

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Post by redcoat » Sun May 27, 2007 1:41 pm

phylo_roadking wrote:BUT remember that all other RAF Groups were STILL having to fly "oldfashioned" CAPS, Chain Home and Chain Home Low only protected the South of England and allowed Dowding's new command and control system to task/vector squadrons.
By the Battle of Britain the Chain Home radar system covered the vast majority of eastern Britain
http://www.radarpages.co.uk/mob/ch/chainhome11map.htm
if in doubt, PANIC !!!!

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Post by phylo_roadking » Sun May 27, 2007 2:07 pm

Thats an interesting map, and very different to what I have. Thanks for that link! Like everything else, year by year more stuff gets into the public domain.
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

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Post by sid guttridge » Sun May 27, 2007 2:55 pm

Hi IB,

The title of this thread talks of "proof".

Will you be bringing any?

Your basic assumption seems to be that because something turned out to be to one side's advantage, that side must have planned it that way, however tenuous, improbable and unlikely that may be.

This is classic conspiracy theory irrationality. It is not proof.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Annelie » Sun May 27, 2007 3:07 pm

Sid, did a quick search for proof and only looked briefly at this but

" http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airc ... isaac.html "
Quester’s most daring foray, however, is his attempt to show that Churchill called for the bombing of Berlin in August 1940, not in retaliation or rage, but for the premeditated purpose of goading Hitler to attack London instead of the RAF bases. (p. 117) Few will deny—after all it was recognized almost immediately—that the tide turned in the Battle of Britain when Hitler shifted the raids onto London. But to read this intent into Churchill’s decision is to do rather more than the evidence allows. In this respect, Quester’s method is instructive. As “proof” he offers four quotations from Churchill’s Their Finest Hour and lists them one after another in a manner that suggests the progressive development of an idea. A check, however, shows the four to be lifted out of context and placed in an order that does not correspond to the order of their original appearance. The first is from page 330, the second from page 342, the third from page 331, and the fourth from page 332. Somehow missing from this list—although in the original it follows directly after Quester’s second extract—is Churchill’s explicit statement that he agreed to the attack on Berlin because he “believed that nothing impressed or disturbed Hitler so much as his realization of British wrath and will-power.”
source

Document created: 2 August 2005
Air University Review, July-August 1967

The Royal Air Force in Retrospect: III
The Strategic Bombing Offensive: New Perspectives
Captain David MacIsaac
Annelie
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Post by sid guttridge » Sun May 27, 2007 4:13 pm

Hi Annelie,

Thanks. The quote seems to support my point exacxtly.

The very next part of it says, "Perhaps I do the author an injustice; it is not inconceivable, after all, that Churchill consciously offered London as a sacrificial lamb. But the evidence offered by Mr. Quester (or by anyone else to my knowledge) is not sufficient to establish any such thesis."

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Mon May 28, 2007 9:21 am

Hello Sid,

as a matter of fact I consider IB argouments someway ridiculous and naive, anyway the hope to find a document wrote by Churchill in his own blood and signed in front of witnesses where he stated to have used cynically the Londoners to save, after a life of political disasters, his seat as Premier is, I'm afraid, too much. The best we can hope to discover are some contradictions with the holy and, by now, very much fragile versions given to the public during the Forties, nothing more.

Bye

EC
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