Did Indiscriminate Allied Bombing Of German Cities Lead To The Holocaust?

I’m watching episode four of the Netflix series Apocalypse: World War II and it suggests that mass Allied bombing of civilian targets in Germany in 1942 led to the Holocaust, but when I Google the topic, I can’t find an analysis of this connection.

Of course, when the Allies deliberately slaughtered German civilians during and after WWII, they were doing the will of God, while when Germans slaughtered civilians, they were evil.

From the Netflix documentary: “In the wake of the [indiscriminate Allied] air strikes [on Germany cities slaughtering civilians], the Nazi regime descends into murderous insanity. Hitler, Goerring, Himmler and Heydrich decide to institute the Final Solution.”

Chaim Amalek: “Mass bombing of civilian targets began when Germany started the war in 1939 and began bombing Warsaw into rubble. The mass killing of Jews in the German occupied east began almost immediately wherever and whenever the Germans advanced, initially with the arrival of German killing units on the ground who used the “old methods” to kill (bullets). Still, I think you are right about one thing. Once Hitler began to understand that he would never achieve his war aims for more German territory, he looked around for some goal that he could attain, and wiping out the Jews under his control was it. The closer Germany got to defeat, the more maniacally it pushed on the one thing, the one war aim that was within its power to achieve. The final, distant result being Angela Merkel, Christian German woman, finishing the job begun by Allied bombers.”

Jewish Libertarian blogs:

If you’re a Jew I want you to say these next five sentences out loud, because they are true, and hard to say if you were brought up on Holocaust-centered Judaism.

Stalin was worse than Hitler, and killed at least twice as many people.
Mao was MUCH worse than Hitler, and killed nearly eight times as many people.
The communist holocaust was worse than Hitler’s Holocaust.
Communism is worse than Nazism.
Hiter’s Holocaust was not unique.

I never go out of shul during Yizkor. I stay in, even though both my parents are alive, thank God. I say Yizkor for my grandparents and give tzedaka in their memory. But when everyone comes back in and says אל מלא רחמים for our six million that were murdered by Nazis, I say another one for the 55 million murdered by Communists…

Hitler’s Holocaust should be remembered and commemorated by Jews. It is a Jewish issue, and that’s it. If non Jews want to also commemorate it, good, fine. But there should be absolutely no government involvement in Holocaust education. And if there is, all holocausts should be covered equally in proportion to the amount of people murdered in each, and it should be explained that government is the cause of all holocausts, every single one of them.

Let me add one final, important thought. People, especially Jews, see Holocaust commemoration as of paramount importance because if you forget history, it will repeat itself. We remember the Holocaust with the mantra “never again”. I will say that the danger of another Communist-type holocaust caused by overzealous government regulators trying to “innocently restructure the economy” because they are so wise and are trying to create a socialist utopia is much more likely than a repeat of a Nazi-type Holocaust where a bunch of racists try to create a master race by killing everyone else.

* A decade ago, Ernst Nolte, then of the Free University of Berlin, ignited the Historikerstreit, or dispute of historians, and became the target of a campaign of defamation led by the philosopher Jürgen Habermas, by asking: “Didn’t the ‘Gulag Archipelago’ come before Auschwitz? Wasn’t the ‘class murder’ of the Bolsheviks the logical and factual presupposition of the ‘race murder’ of the National Socialists?” These are still good questions. In fact, Stalinist—and Maoist—offenses, while acknowledged, are generally downplayed and have achieved nothing remotely approaching the publicity of the Nazi massacre of the Jews. In the United States, it is possible for a person who keeps abreast of the news media to encounter references to the Holocaust virtually every day of his life. Yet who has heard of Kolyma, where more people were done to death than the present official count for Auschwitz? The figures for the victims of Maoist rule that are starting to come out of China suggest a total in the range of tens of millions. Do these facts even make a dent in public consciousness?

Pointing to Communist crimes is not meant to “trivialize” the destruction of European Jewry, nor can it do so. The massacre of the Jews was one of the worst things that ever happened. But even supposing that it was the worst thing that ever happened, couldn’t some arrangement be worked out whereby Communist mass-murders are mentioned once for every ten times (or hundred times?) the Holocaust is brought up? Perhaps also, if we must have publicly- financed museums commemorating the foreign victims of foreign regimes, some memorial to the victims of Communism might be considered, not on the Mall itself, of course, but maybe in a low rent area of Washington?


A small number of works have drawn attention to US war atrocities, typically centering on the torture, killing and desecration of captured Japanese soldiers. These include Peter Schrijvers, The GI War Against Japan. American Soldiers in Asia and the Pacific During World War II (New York: NYU Press, 2002) and John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon, 1986). The Wartime Journals of Charles Lindbergh (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970) is seminal in disclosing atrocities committed against Japanese POWs. Two recent works closely assess the bombing of noncombatants and the ravaging of nature and society as a result of strategic bombing that has been ignored in much of the literature. A. C. Grayling, Among the Dead Cities, provides a thoroughgoing assessment of US and British strategic bombing (including atomic bombing) through the lenses of ethics and international law. Grayling’s premise is that Allied bombing which “deliberately targeted German and Japanese civilian populations” and “claimed the lives of 800,000 civilian women, children and men,” “is nowhere near equivalent in scale of moral atrocity to the Holocaust of European Jewry, or the death and destruction all over the world for which Nazi and Japanese aggression was collectively responsible,” a figure that he places at 25 million dead. He nevertheless concludes that the US and British killing of noncombatants “did in fact involve the commission of wrongs” on a very large scale. Pp 5-6; 276-77. Michael Bess, in Choices Under Fire. Moral Dimensions of World War II (New York: Knopf, 2006), pp. 88-110, in a chapter on “Bombing Civilian Populations,” asks this question: “did this taint the victory with an indelible stain of innocent blood?” After reviewing both strategic and ethical issues, he concludes “There can be no excuse, in the end, for the practices of large-scale area bombing and firebombing of cities; these were atrocities, pure and simple. They were atrocities because the Anglo-Americans could definitely have won the war without resorting to them.” It is necessary, in my view, to go further to inquire whether these would have constituted atrocities in circumstances in which the bombing, presumably including atomic bombing, were necessary for securing US victory.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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