Defiance: the myth about the bombing
'Defiance' (the 4th episode of Winds Of War) supports one of the hoary myths of the Second World War. We see the Germans bombing London during the Blitz - and then we see the RAF bombing German cities by way of retaliation. In fact, as A. J. P. Taylor pointed out in his 'England 1914-1945' (first published in 1965), 'The Blitz began only after the British had been bombing German towns for five months.' He quotes an official at the Air Ministry: 'We began to bomb objectives on the German mainland before the Germans began to bomb objectives on the British mainland.' And he also quotes the military historian Liddell Hart to the same effect: 'Hitler, during the time when he had immensely superior bombing power, was remarkably reluctant to unleash it fully against his opponents' cities, and repeatedly sought to secure a truce in city bombing during the peak days of his power.' (Taylor p. 461) This is not, of course, to suggest therefore that the war itself against Germany was wrong - or either necessarily the precise way in which it was conducted. Taylor says, 'Since all war involves wickedness, perhaps no good purpose is served in trying to run a competition of wickedness between the belligerent countries.'
The Churchill portrayed in 'Defiance' is almost as absurd as the Hitler shown in this and other episodes. The great danger of stitching characters from history into what is essentially an historical soap opera (but one of superior intelligence and strength to most) is that they all too easily appear like caricatures rather than characters.