The Art of Tetman Callis Lit & Crit,The Second World War How to believe the unbelievable, in an endless number of difficult lessons

How to believe the unbelievable, in an endless number of difficult lessons

“British and American intelligence possessed enough information by late 1944, from Ultra and escaped Auschwitz prisoners, to deduce that something uniquely terrible was being done to the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, if the right conclusions had been drawn from the evidence. . . . [G]iven the known limitations of precision bombing even where good target intelligence was available, the case for specific action against the Nazi death machine seemed overborne by the overarching argument for hastening military victory to end the sufferings of all Europe’s oppressed people. The airmen could be sure that any bombing of the camps would kill many prisoners. It is the privilege of posterity to recognize that this would have been a price worth paying. In the full tilt of war, to borrow Churchill’s phrase from a different context, it is possible to understand why the British and Americans failed to act with the energy and commitment which hindsight shows to have been appropriate. Temperate historians of the period recognise a real doubt about whether any plausible air force action would substantially have impeded the operations of the Nazi death machine.” – Max Hastings, Winston’s War

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