It’s amazing what you hear on the radio as you munch your cornflakes. I was tuned in to BBC Radio Four this morning and they were reporting from some RAF air base – the programme itself appeared to be coming from there. Ex-RAF and present RAF men came on and reminisced about old planes and ooohed over the technology they now have in their war planes. Much was made of the gallant history of the RAF. Nothing was said of the fact that war planes are built to kill people, their pilots instructed in how to do it, and that during the Second World War, the bombing of civilians by the RAF was appalling.
One small example: in the German city of Kessel, around 10,000 people died on the night of October 22, 1943 when British warplanes dropped their bombs and created an immense firestorm throughout the city. Last week a German historian,Jurg Friedrich, produced a book claiming that Britain’s relentless bombing campaign during the final months of the Second World War served no military purpose. He contends that Winston Churchill’s decision to drop more bombs on an already shattered Germany in the first five months of 1945, most of them on small German towns, was a war crime. He told The Guardian newspaper: “The bombing left an entire generation traumatised. But it was never discussed. There are Germans whose first recollections are of being hidden by their mothers. They remember cellars and burning human remains.”
And yet British prime ministers and politicians over the decades have said IRA actions left them feeling sick. I’ll let you work out how much sicker the Germans should feel about the killing of their civilians. It doesn’t excuse events like Kingsmill, but it certainly puts it in perspective.
And this is the Britain the DUP are determined to cling to, come Brexit or high water. Pass me my gas mask, Virginia. I can hardly breathe in here.
“The bombing left an entire generation traumatised. But it was never discussed. There are Germans whose first recollections are of being hidden by their mothers. They remember cellars and burning human remains,”