BRITISH AND AMERICAN AIR RAIDS OF GERMAN TOWNS DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. AN OUTLINE.
The titular topic has not found itself in the centre of attention among Polish historians. On the contrary, for long it had been relegated to the margin, and only for the last ten years or so can we speak about a certain change, although by no means a breakthrough. The presented article attempts to outline prime issues by accentuating that German pilots in Poland initiated the practice of bombing residential districts. This is also the reason why the author represents the view that it is impossible to write about damage incurred in German cities while ignoring earlier raids against Rotterdam or London and the anti-humanitarian campaigns of the Luftwaffe. The article contains material portraying the extensive range of the losses suffered by German towns and civilian population. The author also asks whether the British and American commanders were always pursuing solely military aims and were uninvolved in acts of reprisal for the devastation of the United Kingdom and other states. Considerable space is devoted to raids against those cities, which in 1945 found themselves within Polish state frontiers; the greatest victim was Swinoujscie (12 March 1945). The reason for this approach lies in the fact that despite the publication of a number of studies, a complete presentation of this problem requires further extensive in-depth research. Bringing the reader closer to the origin, scale, and effects of air raids makes it possible to better understand the profound transformations, which occurred after 1945 in the mentality of millions of Germans and contributed to the growth of pacifist moods and a sui generis 'imposition of democracy'. The dramatic experiences of the German population should be always perceived in a wider context. Indubitably, the purposefulness of destroying German town will for long inspire lively discussions and a tendency to pass extreme judgments. More the reason for maintaining suitable distance and criticism while analyzing so-called carpet-bombing.
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