MovieChat Forums > The Winds of War (1983) Discussion > Defiance: the myth about the bombing

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.


Don't agree actually.
Of course the RAF had been bombing Germany since the very start of the war but they could not and were not then doing area bombing of cities.
They were trying to bomb military targers such as sea plane bases and ports,the bombers they then had lacked the range to bomb far inland even if they had been ordered to.
AJP Taylor was a great historian but he was not really an expert on military history and someones 1965 opinions are well out of date today.
Liddell Hart's quote is laughable,what about Warsaw or Rotterdam?
The German's bombed London by accident during the bombing of airfields and rader sites and then Britain had the excuse to bomb Germany cities.

The facts are that German's airforce was designed and was very good at backing up the army in blitzkreig operations.
Germany never developed good strategic bombers and Britain and America developed great strategic bombers.
So history shows the allies as bombing the hell out of Germany while the blitz on Britain,as awful as it seemed at the time killed a lot fewer people.

Some people get worked up about the bombing of "civilians"but if you look at it it was a total was and there were no innocent civilians who somehow did not contribute to the war effort of the country they were living in.
Germany killed a lot fewer allied civilians because they could not kill more,not because they had any moral issues about killing them.



I once read that Dresden was the revenge for the Germans bombing Coventry.


A fairly recent book about Dresden points out that the numbers of people killed in the raid has been been overstated by pro German/Nazi historians such as Irving.
The book also shows that the idea that somehow Dresden was not a fair military/industrial target is nonsense.
In the city area they produced gun sights,radio valves,shell fuses and electrical equipment,the city was also a transport hub for the eastern front.

Britain's then allies the USSR asked the RAF to bomb Dresden,Coventry had nothing to do with it I think.

I will remind myself of the name and author of the book and post it here.


The book about Dresden that details the war industries that were fair targets and the fact that the corrupt local nazi leadership failed to provide air raid shelters is DRESDEN 13 February 1945 by Fredrick Taylor.

The book got good reviews and I think its conclusions are hard to argue with.


The book sounds fascinating, I will order it at amazon. Thank you!


I finally did read the book last was very good.
But I wish Taylor had only written about WW II from 1939 on (or maybe 1933 on). IMHO all the history of the German kings and Saxony etc did not really contribute much to Dresden.

What do you think?