Auschwitz Bombing Debate
The issue of why Auschwitz concentration camp was not bombed by the Allies during World War II continues to be explored by historians and Holocaust survivors.
Michael Berenbaum has argued that it is not only a historical question, but "a moral question emblematic of the Allied response to the plight of the Jews during the Holocaust ..." David Wyman has asked: "How could it be that the governments of the two great Western democracies knew that a place existed where 2,000 helpless human beings could be killed every 30 minutes, knew that such killings actually did occur over and over again, and yet did not feel driven to search for some way to wipe such a scourge from the earth?" During his second visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem in 2008, the U.S. President George W. Bush said "We should have bombed it."
Other scholars, such as William D. Rubinstein, James H. Kitchens, Richard H. Levy, and others have noted that this argument has no basis and that the idea of bombing Auschwitz or the rail lines leading to it is to a very large extent a post-war invention. The issue was launched in the late 1970s when aerial reconnaissance films, which had never been developed or seen by anybody during the war, were found by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analysts to show that U.S. bombers had flown over Auschwitz-Birkenau on their way to and from bombing other targets.
... was petitioned throughout late 1944 to help save Nazi prisoners by ordering the bombing of the railroad lines leading to Auschwitz ... camp, and would continue to do so, apparently even causing some damage to buildings in Auschwitz, while sustaining very low losses ... Indeed, regular US bombing raids from Foggia, Italy to nearby strategic targets routinely crossed right over Auschwitz en route ...
... British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, did not see bombing as a solution, given that bombers were inaccurate and would also kill prisoners on the ... But according to Martin Gilbert Winston Churchill pushed for bombing ... The British Air Ministry was asked to examine the feasibility of bombing the camps and decided not to for "operational reasons", which were not ...
Famous quotes containing the words debate, auschwitz and/or bombing:
“Abject flattery and indiscriminate assentation degrade, as much as indiscriminate contradiction and noisy debate disgust. But a modest assertion of ones own opinion, and a complaisant acquiescence in other peoples, preserve dignity.”
—Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (16941773)
“I admit that the generation which produced Stalin, Auschwitz and Hiroshima will take some beating; but the radical and universal consciousness of the death of God is still ahead of us; perhaps we shall have to colonize the stars before it is finally borne in upon us that God is not out there.”
—R.J. Hollingdale (b. 1930)
“The compulsion to do good is an innate American trait. Only North Americans seem to believe that they always should, may, and actually can choose somebody with whom to share their blessings. Ultimately this attitude leads to bombing people into the acceptance of gifts.”
—Ivan Illich (b. 1926)