By wmw_admin on June 26, 2012
Richard Gott – The Guardian June 21, 2012
Several recently erected war memorials now litter the streets and parks of London, but they are of little intrinsic interest and zero artistic merit.
A banal tribute to animals at the top of Park Lane; an insipid celebration of women close to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, featuring overcoats on pegs; belated memorials to the dead of Australia and New Zealand included within the large necropolis that now makes up the traffic island at Hyde Park Corner; and a meaningless Commonwealth gateway (“Memorial Gates” with no gates) at the top of Constitution Hill.
Now they are to be joined at the bottom of Piccadilly by a neo-classical architectural folly that celebrates the achievements ofBomber Command, to be opened by the Queen on 28 June.
Here the objection to the building is not so much its unadventurous design as the celebration that it implies of what are often perceived as British war crimes. Aerial bombing, the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, women and children included, is one of the most vile legacies of the 20th century. Particularly as practised during the second world war, such bombing was always controversial and much contested at the time. For that reason it has taken more than half a century for the authorities to judge that the time is right to remember officially those who died.
Bomber Command is forever associated with the name of “Bomber” Harris, the officer in charge of “area bombing” during the war, and also a veteran of 20 years of colonial bombing in the nearer reaches of the British empire, beginning in Iraq. The British practice of bombing from the air was first widely used in the empire, starting withDarfur in 1916 and Somaliland, Egypt and Afghanistanin 1919. Iraq was bombed throughout the 1920s and theNorth-West Frontier of India throughout the 1930s. Aerial bombing continued after 1945 during the wars in Malaya and Kenya. Of course other European countries grew accustomed to bombing their natives too, such as the French in Syriaand Morocco, theItalians in Libya and Ethiopia, the South Africans in Namibia. It is a disgusting and inextinguishable record.
Yet it is the bombing during the second world war that arouses most debate. Bomber Command liked to claim that it “successfully conducted operations designed to hamper the enemy’s military and industrial capability in order to bring an end to the war”. This, at best, is only a very partial truth. “Area bombing”, as opposed to the “precision bombing” advocated by the Americans, meant the indiscriminate dropping of bombs over large areas with a huge deployment of planes and untold numbers of civilian casualties.
The stated aim of Arthur Harris was to destroy German morale by killing the civilian population, and that meant not just industrial workers but women and children as well. An estimated 50,000 were killed in Hamburg on the night of 27 July 1943, and 100,000, by some estimates, were killed in Dresden less than two years later, on 13 February 1945. These were war crimes. Their only possible justification is that the bombing may have hindered the German war effort elsewhere.
Voices of protest were heard at the time from the church, notably from George Bell, the bishop of Chichester, and from the Reverend John Collins, the chaplain at Bomber Command’s headquarters (and later a prominent figure in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). The clerics were not successful in their efforts to stop the bombing, but their vocal protests undoubtedly evoked a sense of unease, both within the political and military establishment and in the wider world. Bomber Command was tainted by the charge of committing war crimes, and its members were granted no special war medals. Bomber Harris refused his expected peerage in protest, and flounced off to self-imposed exile in South Africa.
At the end of the war, the British were in no mood to memorialise recent events. Most towns and villages were content to add names to the existing monuments to the fallen of the first world war. The extravagant Royal Artillery memorial from the 1920s at Hyde Park Corner has a simple additional panel to commemorate the 30,000 who gave their lives in the second conflict “in all parts of the world”.
Yet in recent years, perhaps because of the renewed enthusiasm for war and aerial bombing in the Blair years, the authorities have permitted a large amount of fresh memorialising, including the erection of a 20th century military memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, with the macabre inclusion of empty space to record 15,000 deaths still to come, in wars as yet unfought. Something similar happened in the Soviet Union, where only in the Brezhnev years did the Russians begin to expand their construction of monuments to their war dead. The new Bomber Command memorial appears to fit into this pattern.
What is lacking with all these new monuments is any kind of historical and educational re-assessment of what all this sacrifice amounted to, or what was involved in terms of the moral degradation of the country. “Even today,” writes Sven Lindqvist in his indispensable book, A History of Bombing, “there is no hint in any British museum of the systematic attacks on German civilians in their own homes.
No hint that these attacks constituted crimes against international humanitarian law for the protection of civilians.” We prefer to build innocuous memorials rather than museums that might reflect on the huge cost of past battles, not just to “the glorious heroes” on our side but to the uncounted innocent peoples with whom we were once in conflict.
As the Truth about the Great Wars rises from the grave….it has the “Six Sided Star” branded into the asses of the Allies.
War and Peace ? = Money Machine.
In PEACETIME …Milk the Goyim dry….create economic hell…..then bait a WAR as a distraction , make more money lending to Gov’ts to fuel the war effort, and “CULL THE GOYIM HERD” via Bullshitting them the War has an enemy and they should die for the motherland, and a generation of youth on both sides is eliminated.
There is NO glory in War, it is a certification you are gullible, easily propagandized, and willing to kill a stranger you never met nor did you harm before .
Placing monuments is simply a cheap trick, to glorify war and recruit more suckers…and feed the Money Machine noted above …..it may as well have “STOOPID PUPPETS ” stamped on the same spot.
“Bomber Harris ” was a certifiable WAR CRIMINAL.. baby killer and mother murderer…….in the deepest darkest hottest part of HELL.