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I read Der Brand as research for a short story I m planning to write I tried to read this years ago, but was getting too emotionally involved my family on my father s side is from around Dresden, other parts of my family are from around Essen both cities that were put on the pyre of moral bombing When I tried this again, it was still rough and I struggled Could do about 20 30 pages per day and needed a break Having empathy and imagination can be a problem That said, it s a tour de f I read Der Brand as research for a short story I m planning to write I tried to read this years ago, but was getting too emotionally involved my family on my father s side is from around Dresden, other parts of my family are from around Essen both cities that were put on the pyre of moral bombing When I tried this again, it was still rough and I struggled Could do about 20 30 pages per day and needed a break Having empathy and imagination can be a problem That said, it s a tour de force, compelling, at times literary and philosophical Next one Suess Death From The Skies.Addendum Read it in the original German and due to Friedrich s very pointed use of German grammar and tonality, I can t imagine how that was translated I found his account deeply human, sometimes angry, exasperated, at times sarcastic I can t imagine what amount of emotional labour it would take to write something like this and immerse yourself in this carnage and suffering for long enough to write a doorstopper like this because just reading it is intense enough I read this book upon my German father s recommendation It was not an easy read as a first born American daughter of German immigrants who lived through World War II as children.It changed my entire opinion of the Americans and British being the good guys of WWII The complete devastation of most of Germany s city town centers and the targeting of civilian populations horrified me A lot of effort was invested in figuring out how to create the perfect fire storm which would destroy the close I read this book upon my German father s recommendation It was not an easy read as a first born American daughter of German immigrants who lived through World War II as children.It changed my entire opinion of the Americans and British being the good guys of WWII The complete devastation of most of Germany s city town centers and the targeting of civilian populations horrified me A lot of effort was invested in figuring out how to create the perfect fire storm which would destroy the closely built wooden city centers which mostly dated back to the Middle Ages I now realize that there really are not good guys in war there is no black and white, only varying shades of grey My friend from Frankurt cried during Der Untergang She had seen movies of her home town undergoing similar destruction This book taught me to understand, even if it could useFrankfurt.A gripping look at the effects of the Allied bombing campaign on the cities of Germany There is no strategic map spread afar over Bomber Command s table The beat is neither the drone of the B 29 or the hungry rattle of the Flak towers The sound are the cries of carnage and a lithany of architectural le My friend from Frankurt cried during Der Untergang She had seen movies of her home town undergoing similar destruction This book taught me to understand, even if it could useFrankfurt.A gripping look at the effects of the Allied bombing campaign on the cities of Germany There is no strategic map spread afar over Bomber Command s table The beat is neither the drone of the B 29 or the hungry rattle of the Flak towers The sound are the cries of carnage and a lithany of architectural legacy under assault.The incineration of the Prussian Generalstabarchives deserve seperate mention I feel their absence so often when dealing with the Other Side in the Great War I cannot recommend this book for the general reader, except perhaps as a reference on anything and everything about the air war over Germany in World War II The work is, as one critic of the book claimed, An encyclopedia of pain p 486 For the specialist, on the other hand, the book is essential reading Written by a German historian and translated into English by Allison Brown, the book provides compelling and exhaustive evidence about the Allied air war against Germany Friedrich s resea I cannot recommend this book for the general reader, except perhaps as a reference on anything and everything about the air war over Germany in World War II The work is, as one critic of the book claimed, An encyclopedia of pain p 486 For the specialist, on the other hand, the book is essential reading Written by a German historian and translated into English by Allison Brown, the book provides compelling and exhaustive evidence about the Allied air war against Germany Friedrich s research includes a great many primary documents, personal recollections, government archives, and the conclusions of historians drawn from the past 80 years He provides the stories of government leaders, airmen, air defense officials, and most important of all, those most directly affected by the air war, the German people The ground level view, so to speak, is the book s greatest strength.As virtually every expert who has examined the air war in Europe and Japan during World War II has concluded, the Allies deliberately targeted non combatants, amounting to what today would be judged as war crimes and crimes against humanity, with a possible charge of genocide thrown into the mix.Unlike the bombing of industrial targets, which frequently inflicted militarily significant damage, the intentional bombing of German civilians in World War II was by any measure a failure The Allied goal of millions of dead civilians was never achieved p 325 people, Friedrich writes, were too mobile to burn p 471 Only something like 600,000 to 900,000 German civilians died in the air war, of which 70,000 were children p 483 Those numbers are bad enough That the bombing served no useful military purpose makes things even worse and underscores its questionable legality And contrary to the promises of strategic bombing advocates, the air war did not turn Germans against the Nazi regime Thecommon popular reactions were dismay at the incompetence of Luftwaffe air defenses, despair, and an overarching desire for revenge against the enemy pp 427, 430 German civilians, including children, routinely lynched downed Anglo American airmen, especially in the final year of the war p 433.High explosive bombs killed structures collapsed structures killed people and made rescue and relief almost impossible Indeed, Bomber Command sought to hinder rescue and relief operations by using high explosives set on a timer to detonate hours after the original raid p 374 Incendiaries, however not high explosives became the annihilation weapon of choice By 1942, the Allies realized that a bombing war could not be fought with explosives p 10 Seven thousand tons of explosives could damage a radius of about twenty miles, but the same amount of incendiaries could extend forthan ninety miles p 15 A bombing raid might last twenty to thirty minutes over a target, but the resulting fires burned for twelve hours orUrban targets were not bombed just once but hundreds of times Bremen, for instance, was hit 173 times p 153 by Allied bombers Fire, Friedrich claims, became the goal of the Allied air war p 365.For their part, the Nazi regime went to great lengths to provide shelter and compensation to the victims of the air war p 386 That shelter and compensation were never adequate was not because of a lack of effort by the Nazi government p 372 3 Shelter construction and rescue and recovery efforts were widespread and included the use of POWs and concentration camp labor p 375 Not that the relief efforts of the Nazis were compassionate in order to free up bed space, the Nazis murdered mentally ill patients and repurposed sanitarium facilities to victims of the air war p 389 Jewish property, of course, had long since been confiscated and distributed to loyal citizens of the Reich p 389 People weren t the only targets of the air war Allied bombers targeted cathedrals, libraries, museums, and architectural treasures in an effort to eradicate German culture Friedrich notes that the air war was the largest book burning in history p 459 The intentional attacks on items of German cultural heritage violated Article 27 and Article 56 of the 1907 Hague Convention, in effect at the time By 1945 there really weren t any human, cultural, or structural targets left, but the Allies still had plenty of bombs so they shifted to bombing rubble The firebombing of Germany and Japanabout that, below wasthan an act of war,than an effort to incinerate non combatants It was also an experiment in the art of killing cities The Allies experimented with different ratios of high explosives and incendiaries, and different types and ratios of incendiaries white phosphorus, thermite, and napalm, just to mention a few The Allies consulted insurance records, firefighters, chemists, communication and guidance experts, demolition companies, construction companies, and others with the expertise necessary to burn cities The Allies built ersatz German and Japanese housing to test the effectiveness of various forms of destruction Many experimental bombings were conducted against cities without important military significance because those were seldom defended and provided good before and after photographs for closer examination In short, the Allies were perfecting methods of annihilation not just for World War II but also any wars that might follow Until German air defenses collapsed completely in late 1944, Allied bombers preferred undefended targets, undefended because those cities served no important military purpose pp 95, 209, 414 Once the Germans could no longer defend the Reich, Allied bombing of Germany increased p 144.Which brings me to the Pacific War There was no shortage of rationales for the atomic bombing of Japan Some Allied officials sincerely believed the atomic attacks would end the war and preclude the necessity of an invasion of the Japanese homeland Some were doubtlessly driven by a rage for revenge, understandable in view of the atrocities committed by Japanese forces against Chinese and American prisoners Some may have thought the weapon would preclude a greater role for the Soviets in ruling Japan after the war, and some believed that, in view of the vast resources expended in building the weapons in the first place, only use of the bomb could justify the effort put into creating it There was, I believe, another unsettling reason for using the bomb and, a reason for rejecting repeated Japanese offers to surrender only by using the weapon against a live target could the scientists and military understand completely the effects of the bomb The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, much like the firebombing of Germany, was a weapon test against a live target, and a spectacular test it was It took 4,000 heavy bombers to deliver 10 kilotons of explosives on German positions in Huerten Forest in 1944 p 122 3 , and only one heavy bomber to deliver 16 kilotons of explosive power on Hiroshima.Friedrich s book prompted a harsh reaction when it was published in 2002 Predictably enough, air war veterans resented the implication that they might be guilty of war crimes Others defended the annihilation tactics on the fanatical resistance of German and Japanese militarists And of course there were those, perhaps a minority, who simply argued that the Germans and Japanese got what they deserved.Nevertheless facts are stubborn things and Friedrich s exhaustive study of the air war against Germany is indisputable evidence of war crimes on a massive scale Allied leaders knew at the time that the air war was legally suspect Even Churchill, chief architect of the war of annihilation, tried to avoid responsibility for the bombing in 1945 p 145 The war subsequently helped shape international law with respect to the treatment of non combatants No air force chief of staff today, Friedrich writes, would command the annihilation of 900,000 enemy non combatants, as Sir Charles Portal did in 1942 p 483 I think he is right about that.On the other hand, Russia seems deliberately to be targeting non combatants in Syria today, and although the casualties there are of a magnitude of order much smaller than that of Germany or Japan, the international community still has not come to grips with a protracted problem I am of two minds about this book On the one hand, it is Friedrich s great achievement to present to the general public a detailed account of the US UK bombing campaign against German and some other west European cities Friedrich, who is completely unsuspected of being a revisionist historian, tells of a crime that nobody not in Germany, not in England or in America ever really wanted to talk about in the face of the much greater crimes committed by Nazi Germany So thumbs up to the auth I am of two minds about this book On the one hand, it is Friedrich s great achievement to present to the general public a detailed account of the US UK bombing campaign against German and some other west European cities Friedrich, who is completely unsuspected of being a revisionist historian, tells of a crime that nobody not in Germany, not in England or in America ever really wanted to talk about in the face of the much greater crimes committed by Nazi Germany So thumbs up to the author for telling an important sub story of World War II, and for doing it in a levelheaded way I was also impressed by how neutral, even technical the author manages to keep his tone, no matter if he talks about the advent of a certain bomb technology, or about the effects that technology had, say, on a hundred pregnant women burned to death in a hospital But from a literary perspective, that tone gets problematic after a while First, the neutral, analytical voice quickly sounds sardonic and acidic when it describes the details of mass murder, to the point where I am not sure what effect Friedrich really wanted to achieve And second, I quickly started to get war book fatigue as the author trudges through the city by city, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, sometimes even building by building destruction of urban Germany But then, maybe that slow, systematic, horryfing but in its mechanical way banal story telling is very apt for the subject matter Not sure if there would have been a better way to tell it Personal note the block by block accounts suddenly became very interesting when they described the destruction of cities that I know and have lived in Since those include Dresden, Berlin, and Munich, I could personally relate to some of the detail So, not an enjoyable book surprise , but probably a very necessary one The Fire The Bombing of Germany, 1940 1945is a highly unusual history of the air war written from the perspective of the German civilian population who experienced it Beginning with a description of British Bomber Command and especially Group 5 it races the development not only of conventional city bombing but the ability to demolish a city by creating a firestorm with incendiaries and blockbusters so that by war s end it was possible to create this almost at will given the right target and t The Fire The Bombing of Germany, 1940 1945is a highly unusual history of the air war written from the perspective of the German civilian population who experienced it Beginning with a description of British Bomber Command and especially Group 5 it races the development not only of conventional city bombing but the ability to demolish a city by creating a firestorm with incendiaries and blockbusters so that by war s end it was possible to create this almost at will given the right target and the right conditions In the medieval cities of Germany, this was not difficult By war s end, some 600,000 civilians had been killed in this way, and 20,000 of them were children.Besides the technical aspects of the air war, Jorg Friedrich lets the German people speak for themselves of the horrors they endured and witnessed It s a very effective technique and hard to read We have all seen pictures of the completely devastated cities of Germany but to hear first hand stories of the ghoulish events of the bombing is almost too private to be exposed His literary powers are compelling and brilliant There is a palpable undercurrent of rage in this book.When published, this book caused and still is causing, a good bit of controversy not only in Germany but in Britain and America over much of the language used to describe the bombing Friedrich as good as calls it murder There are selective omissions i.e., the Nazi bombing of Warsaw and strafing of civilians at the start of the war When describing the bombing of certain German cities that he describes as totally disconnected to the war, in the next paragraph he will mention the presence of the Daimler Benz auto works, or some coal mining company, or a train station known as a transfer point from west to east Not exactly neutral spots in wartime.On the whole though, this is an important work, if only to remind us again and again of the dangers of war and the truth of what General Sherman noted so long ago war is hell |Free Kindle ♱ Der Brand (Spiegel-Edition, #35) ⚖ F nf Jahre lang lagen Deutschlands St dte im Zweiten Weltkrieg unter Dauerbombardement Mehr alsZivilopfer waren zu beklagen, die historisch gewachsene St dtelandschaft wurde f r immer zerst rt Auf breiter Quellenbasis schildert der Historiker J rg Friedrich die ganze Dimension des schrecklichen Geschehens und erz hlt von den Schicksalen der unz hligen BetroffenenDas f nf Jahre w hrende Bombardement deutscher St dte und Gemeinden im Zweiten Weltkrieg ist ohne Vergleich in der Geschichte Neben der Vertreibung aus den Ostgebieten des Reiches war es die gr te Katastrophe auf deutschem Boden seit dem Drei igj hrigen Krieg Bombardiert wurden mehr als tausend St dte und Ortschaften AufMillionen Zivilpersonen, berwiegend Frauen, Kinder und Alte, fielen ber eine halbe Million Tonnen Spreng und Brandbomben Todesopfer und der unwiederbringliche Verlust der seit dem Mittelalter gewachsenen St dtelandschaft waren zu beklagen In der nationalen Erinnerung haften die Fanale von Dresden und Hamburg Das Los von Pforzheim, Dortmund, Darmstadt, Krefeld, Kassel und zahlreicher weiterer St dte, die ebenso einge schert wurden, ist kaum bekannt Bis heute existiert keine umfassende zeitgeschichtliche Darstellung, die die tats chliche Dimension des Geschehens und das Schicksal der Betroffenen erfasst Der Berliner Historiker und Publizist J rg Friedrich, der sich durch B cher ber den NS Vernichtungskrieg einen Namen gemacht hat, legt nun das l ngst berf llige Werk ber diese von Briten und Amerikanern systematisch geplante und durchgef hrte Terrorkampagne gegen Deutschlands St dte und ihre Bewohner vor Auf breiter Quellenbasis schildert er die Entwicklung und Perfektionierung der Bombenwaffe, ihre verheerende Auswirkung am Boden, das traumatische Erleben der in Bunkern und Kellern ausharrenden Bev lkerung, den Tod durch Hitzschlag, Luftdruck und Brandgase und den Untergang eines unermesslich reichen Kulturerbes Eine befremdliche L cke in unserem nationalen Ged chtnis wird endlich geschlossen This is a necessary book I was surprised on reading Sebald s book about the air war that German post war writers had singularly failed to address it.This is an unemotional and objective account of the systematic destruction by fire and high explosive of a thousand years of German culture, which took 600,000 lives in the process 70,000 of whom were children, and destroyed every German city of any size and some that were mere towns of no consequence, other than that they housed German civilians This is a necessary book I was surprised on reading Sebald s book about the air war that German post war writers had singularly failed to address it.This is an unemotional and objective account of the systematic destruction by fire and high explosive of a thousand years of German culture, which took 600,000 lives in the process 70,000 of whom were children, and destroyed every German city of any size and some that were mere towns of no consequence, other than that they housed German civilians.That this destruction constituted a war crime, or was simply the result of the inability of the RAF and the USAAF to accurately hit military targets, is for the reader to decide.It reads like an encyclopedia of pain This was worth reading, but it was not an easy read Not because the subject matter is gruesome there s relatively little in the way of gory details , but because of the quirky, see saw way in which the narrative is structured Another serious look from the editors could yield a book about 150 pages shorter and muchreadable.That aside, this gives an extraordinary look into what exactly happened in the WWII bombing regime against Germany An informative historical read. In spite of my comments below, I thought this was a very good book It is the most thorough book I ve read about the bombing of Germany during the war I read only English, so that necessarily limits my choices Even the best books I ve read see any of the Martin Middlebrook works on the air war don t go into the detail of the process and effects as Friedrich does here I m not entirely clear on the division the chapters imply Weapon describes the technology Strategy covers the objective In spite of my comments below, I thought this was a very good book It is the most thorough book I ve read about the bombing of Germany during the war I read only English, so that necessarily limits my choices Even the best books I ve read see any of the Martin Middlebrook works on the air war don t go into the detail of the process and effects as Friedrich does here I m not entirely clear on the division the chapters imply Weapon describes the technology Strategy covers the objective of the campaign and the resulting damage on the whole Land breaks down the results by region and city, and gives us short historical sketches of the cities put to flame Protection is sort of about civil defense and the reaction of the people We and I are somewhatpersonal accounts of the previous chapter, maybe Finally, Stone is mostly about the attempt to protect art and archives.Although there are one or two particular statements I found outrageous The Nazi regime pronounced fifteen thousand death penalties in the last four years of the war , I was most troubled by the general tone of the middle part of the book The Second World War was essentially a continental scale murder suicide The Nazi regime decided that non Aryans could be or should be murdered, and by the end of the war dictated that Germany should be burnt to the ground and defended to the last man The core of the book is a lamentation of the murder of the innocents the women and children and non combatants in the cities, the destruction of their art and architecture The case is made that it was criminal to involve these innocents in such a war I will not deny that the Allies attack on the population centers was barbaric But I have a reaction against the author s tone.Innocence or guilt is not a binary state either wholly innocent or wholly guilty They occur at ends of a spectrum Is only the soldier, the combatant, responsible for war The soldier pulling the trigger of a machine gun is certainly culpable, as is his partner who feeds him the ammunition The quartermaster who brings the ammunition to the battle is responsible as well What about the railroad engineer who transports it from the factory to the army The munitions worker The baker and butcher who feed the munitions workers For all these, it seems to me, we re moving along the spectrum from very guilty towards mostly innocent The suicide part of the Nazi murder suicide could have been stopped at any time by the surrender of the regime The author notes that even at the very end, there were fanatics in every city and town and village who were offended, outraged by those flying white flags of surrender But it isn t mentioned that early in the war, the Nazi regime was widely popular and supported.The author seems to be making the case that the bombing campaign was responsible for the destruction of German history the toppling and burning of the historic buildings and the torching of the libraries and archives I m not convinced As long as the military was unwilling to end the fight, they d have battled in the streets of the cities and the Allies would have dismembered the buildings with artillery instead of bombs Does it really matter if the cathedral is destroyed by 500lb bombs and thermite or by howitzers and tanks I maintain that the destruction of German history is the fault of the Nazis and not we who defeated them.The book, of course, is about what happened to German cities and their residents It isn t about the death camps, it isn t about the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi war machine outside German borders It sounds like the author doesn t think that the fate of the millions in the death camps were the result of anything like a death penalty imposed by the Nazis The author seems to argue that German civilians were as innocent as the millions of Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, French, and other innocent civilians who were murdered, who weren t munition workers, or the bakers and butchers who supported them On the Guilt Innocence spectrum, the civilians of the nations conquered by the Nazis aren t even on the scale the author uses The book is about German civilians not about civilians who suffered similar fates in Warsaw, Rotterdam, or Coventry who I would argue were truly innocent.But, as I said, in spite of my dislike of the tone of much of this book, I found it worthwhile Friedrich goes into many details that were not obvious to me before For example, I knew that the Allies spent much effort in figuring out how to burn down Japanese cities I didn t know we made the same effort for Germany All the film I ve seen of bombing Germany is of large, high explosive bombs falling from the bombers But Friedrich points out that HE was just a small percentage of the tonnage most of it was incendiary millions of 4 pound sticks And we get a lot of detail, on a personal level, of what it was like to be on the receiving end of this.I would like to think that mankind has put this sort of war behind him, but this is not the case When looking at news reports of Yemen, to name just one modern war, we see that it is the civilian who bears the brunt of war, wholly innocent or not