And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.
‘But what good came of it at last?’
Quoth little Peterkin.
‘Why, that I cannot tell,’ said he,
‘But ’twas a famous victory.’
Southey, after Blenheim
A CITY MUST DIE
Woven into the tapestry of the Second World War, the air blitz is a stark reminder that this war, perhaps more so than any other affecting the European continent, provided for the deliberate destruction of civilians as an instrument of policy. Most of us are familiar with the major events of World War Two and of these, the blitz on such major cities as London and Liverpool stand out as beacons of devastation. The blitz on Coventry was equally tragic and the horror is increased as we subsequently learn that civilian losses could have been reduced enormously but for the fact that Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the time, refused to warn Coventry’s inhabitants that their city was to be raided lest the enemy realise their code had been broken.
Sir Basil Liddell Hart, Britain’s foremost historian, described the policy of bombing civilian targets as being: “The most uncivilized method of warfare the world has known since the Mongol invasions.” It is a sad reflection on Britain that it was a British Government which initiated this war crime which by its nature would needlessly destroy so many European lives, not to speak of British lives lost in raids of retaliation.
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