The Bombing of Germany (DVD)
The Bombing of Germany delvesÂ intoÂ the defining moments of the offensive bombing campaign that created a moral divide amongst the British and American nations.Â This gripping PBS documentaries compiles aÂ combination ofÂ interviews with WWII pilots and historians, and stunning, rare archival footage of the bombing and its aftermath.Â
On September 1, 1939, the first day of WW2, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minster Winston Churchill appealed to the warring nations that under no circumstances should anyone undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations, vowing not to use such tactics themselves. But only six years later he backtracked on his word. British and American Allied forces carried out a devastatingÂ bombing campaign of unprecedented force over Germany's major cities that killed nearly half a million civilians.
This documentary recalls a dark episode of a conflict that redefined the concept of total warfare. ï¿¼World War II was the first in history where civilian casualties are thought to have exceeded military deaths. Over 500,000 German citizens are estimated to have been killed when cities such as Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden were pretty much demolished. The film examines how the distinction between combatant and civilian blurred, especially in Nazi Germany, as both sides pursued their objectives with increasing ruthlessness. Can conduct that caused so many deaths of innocent civilians ever be justified, even in a war that thought against a regime as brutal as that of Adolf Hitler? Can those deaths really be deemed necessary collateral damage or, in hindsight, was the force unlawful?Â
Interviews with veterans, historians, and ethicists explore the moral issues around the acts of the Britain and American in this haunting reminder of the cost we paid in winning the War. In the words of military historian Conrad Crane, however, â€œThe most unethical act in World War II for the Allies would have been allowing themselves to loseâ€.