Fire and Fury

Fire and Fury

The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-45

Book - 2008
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An enlightening and utterly convincing re-examination of the allied aerial bombing campaign and of civilian German suffering during World War II-an essential addition to our understanding of world history. During the Second World War, Allied air forces dropped nearly two million tons of bombs on Germany, destroying some 60 cities, killing more than half a million German citizens, and leaving 80,000 pilots dead. Much of the bombing was carried out against the expressed demands of the Allied military leadership. Hundreds of thousands of people died needlessly. Focusing on the crucial period from 1942 to 1945, and using a compelling narrative approach, Fire and Fury tells the story of the American and British bombing campaign through the eyes of those involved: military and civilian command in America, Britain, and Germany, aircrew in the sky, and civilians on the ground. Acclaimed historian Randall Hansen shows that the Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command, Arthur Harris, was wedded to an outdated strategy whose success had never been proven; how area bombing not only failed to win the war, it probably prolonged it; and that the US campaign, which was driven by a particularly American fusion of optimism and morality, played an important and largely unrecognized role in delivering Allied victory.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2008
ISBN: 9780385664035
Branch Call Number: ANF 940.544941 HAN
Characteristics: x, 353 p. : ill., ports. ; 24 cm


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Jan 15, 2018

I found this book in my library's collection while looking for the recent similarly-named Trump book by Michael Wolff. Randall Hansen's book is a very good read for anyone who might be interested in the Allied bombing of Germany in WW2 ; very well researched, well written, rational and informative.
There is considerable focus on the dreadful experiences of people in the cities under attack, and the bombing and defense roles of significant Allied and Nazi leaders. You won't find much information about the aircraft and crews of either side, so for this part of the subject look elsewhere.
The letters Hansen has included between RAF Bomber Command leader Arthur "Bomber" Harris and his boss Charles Portal demonstrate Harris's belief that bombing, burning, and destruction of enemy cities would lead to a collapse of morale, ending the war. Harris used his targeting discretion to continue sending Bomber Command to area bomb German cities well into 1945, all too frequently circumventing Portal's better-informed direction toward strategic targets (including oil production and refining). It seems very possible that the war in Europe could have been won sooner, avoiding many civilian deaths and much destruction of irreplaceable European heritage, if targeting directives had been more closely followed by Harris.
Many people view Allied bombing of cities in WW2 to be vengeful and reprehensible, while at the same time they may discount the extent to which these attacks damaged the enemy's ability to build weapons and impeded the logistics of war, as well as diverting resources away from other battle fronts.

Dec 05, 2017

a solid, even exhaustive, investigation of the critical role that bombing played during WWll, this study, everywhere enthralling, is not likely to be bettered anytime soon

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