The Bombing War

Europe, 1939-1945

The Bombing War

The ultimate history of the Blitz and bombing in the Second World War, from Wolfson Prize-winning historian and author Richard Overy The use of massive fleets of bombers to kill and terrorize civilians was an aspect of the Second World War which continues to challenge the idea that Allies specifically fought a 'moral' war. For Britain, bombing became perhaps its principal contribution to the fighting as, night after night, exceptionally brave men flew over occupied Europe destroying its cities. The Bombing War radically overhauls our understanding of the War. It is the first book to examine seriously not just the most well-known parts of the campaign, but the significance of bombing on many other fronts - the German use of bombers on the Eastern Front for example (as well as much newly discovered material on the more familiar 'Blitz' on Britain), or the Allied campaigns against Italian cities. The result is the author's masterpiece - a rich, gripping, picture of the Second World War and the terrible military, technological and ethical issues that relentlessly drove all its participants into an abyss. Reviews: 'Magnificent ... must now be regarded as the standard work on the bombing war ... It is probably the most important book published on the history of he second world war this century' Richard J Evans, Guardian 'Monumental ... this is a major contribution to one of the most controversial aspects of the Second World War ... full of new detail and perspectives ... hugely impressive' James Holland, Literary Review 'This tremendous book does what the war it describes signally failed to do. With a well-thought-out strategy and precision, it delivers maximum force on its objectives ... The result is a masterpiece of the historian's art' The Times 'It is unlikely that a work of this scale, scope and merit will be surpassed' Times Higher Education 'What distinguishes Mr Overy's account of the bombing war from lesser efforts is the wealth of narrative detail and analytical rigour that he brings to bear' Economist 'Excellent ... Overy is never less than an erudite and clear-eyed guide whose research is impeccable and whose conclusions appear sensible and convincing even when they run against the established trends' Financial Times 'Hard to surpass. If you want to know how bombing worked, what it did and what it meant, this is the book to read' Times Literary Supplement About the author: Richard Overy is the author of a series of remarkable books on the Second World War and the wider disasters of the twentieth century. The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia won both the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hessell-Tiltman Prize. He is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. Penguin publishes 1939: Countdown to War, The Morbid Age, Russia's War, Interrogations, The Battle of Britain and The Dictators. He lives in London.

German historians and the bombing of German cities

the contested air war

German historians and the bombing of German cities

Today, strategic aerial bombardments of urban areas that harm civilians, at times intentionally, are becoming increasingly common in global conflicts. This book reveals the history of these tactics as employed by nations that initiated aerial bombardments of civilians after World War I and during World War II. As one of the major symbols of German suffering, the Allied bombing left a strong imprint on German society. Bas von Benda-Beckmann explores how German historical accounts reflected debates on postwar identity and looks at whether the history of the air war forms a counternarrative against the idea of German collective guilt. Provocative and unflinching, this study offers a valuable contribution to German historiography.

Coventry

November 14, 1940

Coventry

The German Luftwaffe's air raid on Coventry, England on the night of November 14, 1940 represented a new kind of air warfare. Aimed primarily at obliterating all aspects of city life, it was systematic, thorough, unconnected to any immediate military goal, and indifferent to civilian casualties. In a single night, roughly two-thirds of the city's buildings were damaged or destroyed as the bombers laid waste to legitimate industrial targets and civilian structures alike. The old St. Michael's Cathedral, a 14th century Gothic structure that burned to the ground that night, still stands in ruins today as a testament to the city's destruction during the raid. Pragmatic British government propagandists would exploit Coventry's perceived status as a "historic town," playing down the city's industrial reputation. This would prove to be a powerful tool, and, as Frederick Taylor shows, was instrumental in tipping public opinion in the then-neutral United States away from isolationism and in favor of help for Britain. But the bombing would also set a dangerous and destructive precedent as Allied air forces would study the Germans' methods in the attack and ultimately employ similar tactics in their equally ruthless and destructive attacks on German cities, eventually leading to the bombing of Hamburg in 1943 and Dresden in 1945 that killed hundreds of thousands, mostly civilians. On the 75th anniversary of the Coventry bombing, acclaimed historian Frederick Taylor brilliantly narrates this momentous act and analyzes its impact on World War II and the moral quandaries it still engenders about the nature of warfare.

Bombing Civilians

A Twentieth-Century History

Bombing Civilians

Bombing Civilians examines a crucial question: why did military planning in the early twentieth century shift its focus from bombing military targets to bombing civilians? From the British bombing of Iraq in the early 1920s to the most recent policies in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, Bombing Civilians analyzes in detail the history of indiscriminate bombing, examining the fundamental questions of how this theory justifying mass killing originated and why it was employed as a compelling military strategy for decades, both before and since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Literature of Absolute War

Transnationalism and World War II

The Literature of Absolute War

This is the first comparative transnational approach to the language of absolute war and the literature on World War II.

Bombing, States and Peoples in Western Europe 1940-1945

Bombing, States and Peoples in Western Europe 1940-1945

This is the first book to treat bombing during WWII as a European phenomenon and not just the 'Blitz' on Britain and Germany. With Western Europe now at the heart of a united continent, it is even more difficult to explain how only 70 years ago European states destroyed much of the urban landscape from the air. There were many blitzes between 1940 and 1945 with an estimated 700,000 people killed. The purpose of this book is to provide the basis for a comparison of the experience of western states under the impact of bombing. In particular, it considers the political, cultural and social responses to bombing rather than the military, strategic and social dimensions which have formed the core of the discussion hitherto. This book will correct the popular perception of the British Blitz as the key bombing experience by exposing the reality of life under the bombs for communities as far apart as Brest, Palermo, and Rostock. An international panel of historians consider the issues raised amidst the bombing of human rights and protection of civilians in this seminal event in C20th history.

Among the Dead Cities

Is the Targeting of Civilians in War Ever Justified?

Among the Dead Cities

Is it ever right to target civilians in a time of war? Or do the ends sometimes justify the means? The twentieth century - the age of 'total war' - marked the first time that civilian populations came to be seen as legitimate military targets. At this policy's most terrible extreme came the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki but it is an issue that remains relevant today with the needs of the 'War on Terror' used to justify the use of drone strikes. In Amongst the Dead Cities, A.C. Grayling explores these moral issues in all their complexity with a detailed examination of the Allied bombing of German cities during World War 2. Considering the cases for and against the area bombing and the experiences of the bombed and the bombers, Grayling asks: was the targeting of civilians in Germany a crime? Now available in the Bloomsbury Revelations series, the book includes a new afterword by the author considering the issues in light of later conflicts up to the present day.

By the Bomb's Early Light

American Thought and Culture At the Dawn of the Atomic Age

By the Bomb's Early Light

Originally published in 1985, By the Bomb's Early Light is the first book to explore the cultural 'fallout' in America during the early years of the atomic age. Paul Boyer argues that the major aspects of the long-running debates about nuclear armament and disarmament developed and took shape soon after the bombing of Hiroshima. The book is based on a wide range of sources, including cartoons, opinion polls, radio programs, movies, literature, song lyrics, slang, and interviews with leading opinion-makers of the time. Through these materials, Boyer shows the surprising and profoundly disturbing ways in which the bomb quickly and totally penetrated the fabric of American life, from the chillingly prophetic forecasts of observers like Lewis Mumford to the Hollywood starlet who launched her career as the 'anatomic bomb.' In a new preface, Boyer discusses recent changes in nuclear politics and attitudes toward the nuclear age.

The Fire

The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945

The Fire

In the final phase of the World War II, the Allies launched a bombing campaign that inflicted unprecedented destruction on Germany. This work attempts to document life under the Allied bombing, and renders the annihilation of cities such as Dresden.

The Bombers and the Bombed

Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945

The Bombers and the Bombed

The ultimate history of the Allied bombing campaigns in World War II Technology shapes the nature of all wars, and the Second World War hinged on a most unpredictable weapon: the bomb. Day and night, Britain and the United States unleashed massive fleets of bombers to kill and terrorize occupied Europe, destroying its cities. The grisly consequences call into question how “moral” a war the Allies fought. The Bombers and the Bombed radically overhauls our understanding of World War II. It pairs the story of the civilian front line in the Allied air war alongside the political context that shaped their strategic bombing campaigns, examining the responses to bombing and being bombed with renewed clarity. The first book to examine seriously not only the well-known attacks on Dresden and Hamburg but also the significance of the firebombing on other fronts, including Italy, where the crisis was far more severe than anything experienced in Germany, this is Richard Overy’s finest work yet. It is a rich reminder of the terrible military, technological, and ethical issues that relentlessly drove all the war’s participants into an abyss.