July 20, 2013




(To Curt Zoller) I was so thrilled to receive a copy of your splendid annotated Bibliography of works about my father. I have spent a lot of time looking through it already and I think it is a major contribution to the growing mountain of Churchill-related books. It is very interesting in itself—and an incredibly useful handbook for anyone interested for purposes of writing or research in his life, and what other people thought and wrote about him. I remember with great pleasure the visit you and your wife paid me some time ago when you were still toiling up the hill—so many congratulations on this great achievement.

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Why do English debates about the wartime bombing of Germany talk only of Dresden? It was only one of 1000 German cities which were totally destroyed, and the number reflects the reality! The British bombing always had civil targets, not—as you still say*—military ones. Over 700,000 humans died by this terror—first of all women and children. Millions of cultural assets were destroyed. German cities lost their faces forever—a thing you can see by travelling Germany today.

Churchill ordered this mass-murder. He said often, that the war was about ruining Germany by killing as many Germans as possible. After the war sixteen million Germans lost their homes in eastern Europe and more than 3.5 million were slaughtered during this biggest ethnic-cleansing in the history of mankind. The plan for changing the borderlines was from Churchill too: he should be accused at Niirnberg, because he is a war criminal!

I know the history of my country very well, and I can understand that some people say: “You just got what you deserve.” But on the other hand: you were the “good guys” in that war, and you fought your air fights without any kind of humanity mainly against civilians. What does that say about you when you still ignore these facts?


*The writer refers to ‘”Are We Beasts?’ Churchill and the Moral Question of World War II ‘Area Bombing,'” by Christopher C. Harmon, Finest Hour 76, third quarter 1992, published on our website. The answer to Herr Ebert’s question, why do these debates talk only of Dresden, is likely to be because Dresden was a magnificent city, its loss colossal. By 1940 it was also pretty much “Judenfrei” (Jew-free) in the words of the then-chancellor, which to his regime no doubt made it even more magnificent—but I thought that this point had best not be mentioned.

Dear Mr Ebert,

I hope you will reconsider such absolute beliefs, because nothing is ever so black and white. But since you are not entirely wrong, may I direct you to “Life With My Parents,” an interview with Lady Soames, Finest Hour 91, Summer 1996:

Nairn Attallah: “Do you think your father ever took decisions which were perhaps good for Britain but were rather questionable on moral grounds?”

Lady Soames: “My father would have done almost anything to win the war, and war is a rough business. I daresay he had to do some very rough things, but he wasn’t a man who took these sorts of decisions lightly. All those things weighed with him, but they didn’t unman him.”

I am not qualified to judge whether all those German cities were military targets, but: 1) Bombarding open cities from the air began with the Luftwaffe bombing of Rotterdam. 2) The targets were assigned by Bomber Command, not Churchill, although it is true that as Prime Minister he bore ultimate responsibility. 3) He referred to “killing the most Germans” only with respect to German soldiers, never in one instance to German civilians.

One of the merits of Churchill is that, while he sometimes did things that were wrong, and even unworthy of him, he always had second thoughts, and they usually improved as he went along (unlike his opposite number in Germany). For example, he is known to have addressed the head of Bomber Command, after a very devastating raid on Germany: “Are we beasts? Are we taking this too far?”

Please refer to “Leading Churchill Myths: He Bombed Dresden as Payback for Coventry,” Finest Hour 114 (“pageid=106” on our website) which you may have read, but in that case kindly read it again. This is a complicated subject. Please don’t reduce it to absolutes. —RML

Herr Ebert replied in like spirit and we had a most civilized discussion, showing that WSC’s tactic of spirited debate with mutual respect still works, over at least some political subjects! —Ed. 


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