Friday, 6 June 2014

The Price Of Freedom

The French are commemorating and acknowledging, the loss of lives caused by Allied bombings during the Second World War for the first time, during the D Day remembrances this week. The estimated death toll is around 57,000 French civilians (which some unkindly, and untruthfully have said was more than the French army casualties resisting the Germans), which is comparable to the 60,500, that the British lost as a result of Luftwaffe bombing over the same period.

I can almost feel the first stirrings of the legal aid lawyers in the UK, preparing the compensation claims against the British, Canadians and US governments, for carrying out what one commentator, Andrew Knapp, history professor at the UK's University of Reading, has described in the following terms: "It's fairly clear, that on the basis of the treaties we have signed now - not the treaties we had signed then - some of these raids would be eligible for the category of war crimes."

Le Havre - Bombed By Allies 1944

However I would suggest that not only did the allies have a right to bomb (under the conventions of the time), but that the casualty figures demonstrably show that they did take care greater care in their bombing of France than might have normally been the case .... partly because Winston Churchill worried that Anglo-French relations might be soured for decades if the bombing was wilful. See General de Gaulle to understand that worry. The actual figures, are that approx. 75,000 tonnes of German bombs were dropped on the UK (including Hitler's V missiles), during the war, while in France, it's around 518,000 tonnes dropped by the UK and USA while attacking German troops etc.

Now by my simple maths 60,500 / 75,000 = 0.81 civilian deaths per explosive tonne dropped in the UK, by the Germans, who definitely took no care whatsoever.

Whereas 57,000 / 518,000 = 0.11 deaths civilian per explosive tonne in France, from bombs dropped by the allies .... a ratio of nearly 8 times as few deaths caused by the allies per tonne of explosive.

The Price Of Freedom Was Not Cheap For France

However, its a funny thought, that if the second world war was fought today, France would be permanently an occupied country, as the Western powers wouldn't be able to bomb the Germans in France enough to invade under current rules of war .... that’s what PC politics, and Health and Safety concerns have done to us.

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A middle aged orange male ... So 'un' PC it's not true....