Strategic bombing during World War II
Overview
 
Strategic bombing
Strategic bombing
Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in a total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability and public will to wage war rather than destroying its land or naval forces...

 during World War II
is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. This includes the bombing of military forces, railways, harbors, cities (civilian areas), and industrial areas.

In 1939, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 invaded Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

(German air force) began providing tactical support to the German Army
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

. The Luftwaffe also began eliminating strategic objectives and bombing cities and civilian population in Poland in an indiscriminate and unrestricted aerial bombardment campaign
Bombing of Warsaw in World War II
The Bombing of Warsaw in World War II refers both to the Strategic bombing campaign of Warsaw by the Luftwaffe during the siege of Warsaw in the Invasion of Poland in 1939 and to the German bombing raids during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944....

.
Encyclopedia
Strategic bombing
Strategic bombing
Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in a total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability and public will to wage war rather than destroying its land or naval forces...

 during World War II
is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. This includes the bombing of military forces, railways, harbors, cities (civilian areas), and industrial areas.

In 1939, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 invaded Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

(German air force) began providing tactical support to the German Army
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

. The Luftwaffe also began eliminating strategic objectives and bombing cities and civilian population in Poland in an indiscriminate and unrestricted aerial bombardment campaign
Bombing of Warsaw in World War II
The Bombing of Warsaw in World War II refers both to the Strategic bombing campaign of Warsaw by the Luftwaffe during the siege of Warsaw in the Invasion of Poland in 1939 and to the German bombing raids during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944....

. France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 declared war on Germany and the UK's Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 began attacking German warship
Warship
A warship is a ship that is built and primarily intended for combat. Warships are usually built in a completely different way from merchant ships. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more maneuvrable than merchant ships...

s along the German coast with the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

.

As the war continued to expand, bombing by both the Axis
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 and Allied
Allies
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

 powers increased significantly. Military and industrial installations were targeted, but so were cities and civilian populations. Targeting cities and civilians was viewed as a psychological weapon to break the enemy's will to fight. From 1940–1941, Germany used this weapon in its 'Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

' against Britain. From 1940 onward, the intensity of the British bombing campaign against Germany became less restrictive
Area bombing directive
The Area Bombing Directive was a directive from the wartime British Government's Air Ministry to the Royal Air Force which ordered RAF bombers to attack the German industrial workforce and the morale of the German populace through bombing German cities and their civilian inhabitants.- Background...

, increasingly targeting industrial sites and eventually, civilian areas. By 1943, the United States had significantly reinforced these efforts. The controversial firebombings of Hamburg (1943), Dresden
Bombing of Dresden in World War II
The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force and as part of the Allied forces between 13 February and 15 February 1945 in the Second World War...

 (1945) and other German cities followed. The effect of strategic bombing varied depending on duration and intensity. Both the Luftwaffe and RAF failed to deliver a knockout blow by destroying enemy morale. However, strategic bombing of military targets could significantly reduce enemy industrial capacity and production.

In the Pacific theatre, the Japanese bombed Chongqing
Bombing of Chongqing
The bombing of Chongqing was part of a terror bombing operation conducted by Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service on the Chinese provisional capital of Chongqing, authorized by the Imperial General Headquarters.A conservative estimate places the...

 repeatedly until 1943. U.S. strategic bombing of the Japanese Empire began in earnest in October 1944. Earlier, small-scale attacks by the U.S. out of China had been hampered by the task of delivering supplies over the Himalaya
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 foothills (known as "The Hump
The Hump
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in...

"), as well as by enormous Chinese graft.. Missions out of Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

 escalated into widespread fire-bombing, which culminated in the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

 and the Japanese surrender six days later. In the opinion of inter-war proponents, the surrender of Japan vindicated strategic bombing.

Legal considerations

The Hague Conventions
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

, which address the codes of wartime conduct on land and at sea, were adopted before the rise of air power. Despite repeated diplomatic attempts to update international humanitarian law
International humanitarian law
International humanitarian law , often referred to as the laws of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal corpus that comprises "the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law." It...

 to include aerial warfare, it was not updated before the outbreak of World War II. The absence of specific international humanitarian law did not mean aerial warfare was not covered under the laws of war
Laws of war
The law of war is a body of law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct...

, but rather that there was no general agreement of how to interpret those laws.

Policy at the start of the war

Before World War II, advances in aviation led to a consensus that aircraft could devastate cities. This worrying development was compounded by the problem that the new aircraft flew at such altitudes that anti-aircraft guns were largely impotent and such speeds and ground based interceptors would be unlikely to be able to intercede. As British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Stanley Baldwin
Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC was a British Conservative politician, who dominated the government in his country between the two world wars...

 warned in 1932, "The bomber will always get through
The bomber will always get through
The bomber will always get through was a phrase used by Stanley Baldwin in 1932, in the speech "A Fear for the Future" to the British Parliament...

".

When the war began on 1 September 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, President of the neutral
Neutrality (international relations)
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 United States, issued an appeal to the major belligerents (Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Poland) to confine their air raids to military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 targets, and "under no circumstances undertake bombardment from the air of civilian populations in unfortified cities" The British and French agreed to abide by the request, with the British reply undertaking to "confine bombardment to strictly military objectives upon the understanding that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all their opponents". Nazi Germany also agreed to abide by Roosevelt's request and explained the bombing of Warsaw as within the agreement because it was supposedly a fortified city—Germany did not have a policy of targeting enemy civilians as part of their doctrine prior to World War II.

The United Kingdom's policy was formulated on 31 August 1939: if Germany initiated unrestricted air action, the United Kingdom "should attack objectives vital to Germany's war effort, and in particular her oil resources". If Germany confined attacks to purely military targets, the RAF should "launch an attack on the German fleet at Wilhelmshaven" and "attack warships at sea when found within range". The government communicated to their French allies the intention "not to initiate air action which might involve the risk of civilian casualties"

While it was acknowledged bombing Germany would cause civilian casualties, the British government renounced deliberate bombing of civilian property, outside combat zones, as a military tactic. The British changed their policy on 15 May 1940, one day after the German bombing of Rotterdam
Rotterdam Blitz
The Rotterdam Blitz refers to the aerial bombardment of Rotterdam by the German Air Force on 14 May 1940, during the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II. The objective was to support the German troops fighting in the city, break Dutch resistance and force the Dutch to surrender...

, when the RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 was given permission to attack targets in the Ruhr Area
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

, including oil plants and other civilian industrial
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 targets which aided the German war effort, such as blast furnace
Blast furnace
A blast furnace is a type of metallurgical furnace used for smelting to produce industrial metals, generally iron.In a blast furnace, fuel and ore and flux are continuously supplied through the top of the furnace, while air is blown into the bottom of the chamber, so that the chemical reactions...

s that at night were self-illuminating. The first RAF raid on the interior of Germany took place on the night of 15/16 May 1940 while the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 was still continuing.

Poland

After the invasion of Poland, the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

engaged in massive air raids against most Polish cities, destroying various infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. Civilians and refugees were also attacked. Notably, Luftwaffe bombed Warsaw
Bombing of Warsaw in World War II
The Bombing of Warsaw in World War II refers both to the Strategic bombing campaign of Warsaw by the Luftwaffe during the siege of Warsaw in the Invasion of Poland in 1939 and to the German bombing raids during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944....

, Wieluń
Bombing of Wielun
The bombing of Wieluń refers to the bombing of the Polish town of Wieluń by the German Luftwaffe on 1 September 1939. The Luftwaffe started bombing Wielun at 4:40 am, five minutes before the shelling of Westerplatte, which has traditionally been considered the beginning of World War II. It is...

 and Frampol
Bombing of Frampol
The Bombing of Frampol happened during the German invasion of Poland in 1939. On 13 September, the town of Frampol , with a population of 4,000, was bombed by the German Luftwaffe as a practice run for future missions. Over 60% to 90% of town's infrastructure was destroyed; only two streets...

. It is believed that Frampol bombing was an experiment as it had no targetable industry and no military units were stationed there.

In his book, Eyes on the Sky, Wolfgang Schreyer
Wolfgang Schreyer
Wolfgang Schreyer is a German writer of fiction, historic adventures mixed with documentary, science fiction for TV shows and movies and is best known as the author of over 20 adventure stories.-Life:...

 wrote:
"Frampol was chosen as an experimental object, because test bombers, flying at low speed, weren't endangered by AA fire. Also, the centrally placed town hall was an ideal orientation point for the crews. We watched possibility of orientation after visible signs, and also the size of village, what guaranteed that bombs nevertheless fall down on Frampol. From one side it should make easier the note of probe, from second side it should confirm the efficiency of used bombs."


The directives issued to the Luftwaffe for the Polish Campaign were to prevent the Polish Air Force from influencing the ground battles or attacking German territory. In addition, it was to support the advance of German ground forces through direct tactical and indirect air support with attacks against Polish mobilization centres and thus delay an orderly Polish strategic concentration of forces and to deny mobility for Polish reinforcements through the destruction of strategic Polish rail routes.

Preparations were made for a concentrated attack (Operation Wasserkante) by all bomber forces against targets in Warsaw. However the operation was cancelled-according to Polish professor Tomasz Szarota due to bad weather conditions, while German author Boog claims it was possibly due to Roosevelt plea to avoid civilian casualties, according to Boog the bombing of military and industrial targets within the Warsaw residential area called Praga was prohibited.Polish reports from beginning of September note strafing of civilians by German attacks and bombing of cemeteries and marked hospitals(marking of hospitals proved counterproductive as German planes begun to specifically target them, until hospitals were moved into the open to avoid being targeted), and indiscriminate attacks on fleeing civilian population which according to professor Tomasz Szarota
Tomasz Szarota
Tomasz Szarota is a Polish historian and publicist. As a historian, his areas of expertise relate to history of World War II, and everyday life in occupied Poland, in particular, in occupied Warsaw and other occupied major European cities....

 was direct violation of Hague Convention
Hague Convention
The Hague Convention may refer to:* Hague Conventions , among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in international law...

 Warsaw was first attacked by German ground forces on 9 September and was put under siege on 13 September. German author Boog claims that with the arrival of German ground forces the situation of Warsaw changed, under the Hague Convention
Hague Convention
The Hague Convention may refer to:* Hague Conventions , among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in international law...

 the city could be legitimately attacked as it was a defended city in the front line that refused calls to surrender.

The bombing of the rail network, crossroads, and troop concentrations played havoc on Polish mobilisation, while attacks upon civilian and military targets in towns and cities disrupted command and control by wrecking the antiquated Polish signal network. Over a period of a few days, Luftwaffe numerical and technological superiority took its toll on the Polish Air Force. Polish Air Force bases across Poland were also subjected to Luftwaffe bombing from 1 September 1939.

On 13 September, following orders of the ObdL to launch an attack on Warsaw's Jewish Quarter, justified as being for unspecified crimes committed against German soldiers but probably in response to a recent defeat by Polish ground troops, and intended as a terror attack, 183 bomber sorties were flown with 50:50 load of high explosive and incendiary bombs, reportedly set the Jewish Quarter ablaze. On 22 September, Wolfram von Richthofen
Wolfram von Richthofen
Dr.-Ing. Wolfram Freiherr von RichthofenIn German a Doctorate in engineering is abbreviated as Dr.-Ing. . was a German Generalfeldmarschall of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War...

 messaged, "Urgently request exploitation of last opportunity for large-scale experiment as devastation terror raid ... Every effort will be made to eradicate Warsaw completely". His request was rejected. However, Hitler issued an order to prevent civilians from leaving the city and to continue with the bombing, which he thought would encourage Polish surrender.

On 14 September the French Air attaché
Attaché
Attaché is a French term in diplomacy referring to a person who is assigned to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency...

 in Warsaw reported to Paris, "the German Air Force acted in accordance to the international laws of war [...] and bombed only targets of military nature. Therefore, there is no reason for French retorsion
Retorsion
Retorsion Retorsion Retorsion (French rétorsion, from Latin retortus (influenced by Late Latin, 1585–95, torsi, a twisting, wringing), a phrase used in International Law is an act perpetrated by one nation upon another in retaliation or reprisal for a similar act perpetrated by the other nation...

s." That day - the Jewish New Year - the Germans concentrated again on the Warsaw's Jewish population, bombing the Jewish quarter and targeting synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s. According to professor Szarota the report was inaccurate-as its author Armengaud didn't knew about the most barbaric bombings like those in Wieluń or Kamieniec,left Poland on 12th of September, and was motivated by his personal political goal to avoid French involvement in the war, in addition the report published in 1948 rather than in 1939.

Three days later Warsaw was surrounded by the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

, and hundreds of thousands of leaflets were dropped on the city, instructing the citizens to evacuate the city pending a possible bomber attack. On 25 September the Luftwaffe flew 1,150 sorties and dropped 560 tonnes of high explosive and 72 tonnes of incendiaries. (Overall, incendiaries made up only three percent of the total tonnage dropped.) A

To conserve the strength of the bomber units for the upcoming western campaign, the modern He 111 bombers were replaced by Ju 52 transports using "worse than primitive methods" for the bombing. Due to prevailing strong winds they achieved poor accuracy, even causing some casualties to besieging German troops.
----
The only Polish raid against a target in Germany was executed by PZL.23 Karaś
PZL.23 Karas
|-Specifications :-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Angelucci, Enzo and Paolo Matricardi. World War II Airplanes . Chicago: Rand McNally, 1978. ISBN 0-52888-170-1....

 light bombers/ scout planes against a factory in East Prussia. The Polish air force left Poland on 18 SEP 1939 due to the Soviet attack on 17 SEP 1939, and imminent capture of the Polish airstrips and planes stationed in eastern parts of Poland. There was no exception; even Pursuit Brigade
Pursuit Brigade
The Pursuit Brigade was a Polish World War II unit of the Polish Air Force. It took part in the Polish Defensive War of 1939 as the main aerial reserve of the commander in chief and was used for air cover of the Polish capital of Warsaw. It was similar in shape to the Bomber Brigade...

, an organic
Organic
Organic may refer to:* Of or relating to an organism, a living entity* Of or relating to an organ- Chemistry :* Organic matter, matter that has come from a once-living organism, is capable of decay or the product of decay, or is composed of organic compound* Organic chemistry, chemistry involving...

 part of the defences of the Polish capitol, Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, was transfered to Lublin
Lublin
Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland. It is the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 350,392 . Lublin is also the largest Polish city east of the Vistula river...

, one week into the war.

The Western Front, 1939 to June 1940

In 1939, following the German invasion of Poland, the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany and the war in the West began. Britain attempted to bomb German warships and light vessels in several harbors on 3 and 4 September. Eight German Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

 men were killed at Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven is a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the western side of the Jade Bight, a bay of the North Sea.-History:...

 - the war's first casualties to British bombs; attacks on ships at Cuxhaven and Heligoland
Heligoland
Heligoland is a small German archipelago in the North Sea.Formerly Danish and British possessions, the islands are located in the Heligoland Bight in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea...

 followed.
Germany's first strikes were not carried out until the 16th and 17 October 1940, against the British fleet at Rosyth
Rosyth
Rosyth is a town located on the Firth of Forth, three miles south of the centre of Dunfermline. According to an estimate taken in 2008, the town has a population of 12,790....

 and Scapa Flow
Scapa Flow
right|thumb|Scapa Flow viewed from its eastern endScapa Flow is a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, sheltered by the islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy. It is about...

. Little activity followed. Meanwhile, attacks by the Royal Air Force dwindled to less than one a month. As the winter set in, both sides engaged in propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 warfare, dropping leaflets on the populations below. The Phony War
Phony War
The Phoney War was a phase early in World War II – in the months following Britain and France's declaration of war on Germany in September 1939 and preceding the Battle of France in May 1940 – that was marked by a lack of major military operations by the Western Allies against the German Reich...

 continued.

The British government banned attacks on land targets and German warships in port due to the risk of civilian casualties. For the Germans, the earliest directive from the Luftwaffe head Hermann Göring permitted restricted attacks upon warships anywhere, as well as upon troop transports at sea. However, Hitler's OKW Direktive Nr 2 and Luftwaffe Direktive Nr 2, prohibited attacks upon enemy naval forces unless the enemy bombed Germany first, noting, "the guiding principle must be not to provoke the initiation of aerial warfare on the part of Germany."

After the Altmark Incident
Altmark Incident
The Altmark Incident was a naval skirmish of World War II between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany, which happened on 16 February 1940. It took place in what were, at that time, neutral Norwegian waters...

, the Luftwaffe launched a strike against the British navy yard at Scapa Flow
Scapa Flow
right|thumb|Scapa Flow viewed from its eastern endScapa Flow is a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, sheltered by the islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy. It is about...

 on 16 March 1940, leading to the first British civilian death. A British attack followed against the German airbase at Hörnum
Hörnum
Hörnum is a municipality in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is located on the southern headland of the island of Sylt...

 on the island of Sylt
Sylt
Sylt is an island in northern Germany, part of Nordfriesland district, Schleswig-Holstein, and well known for the distinctive shape of its shoreline. It belongs to the North Frisian Islands and is the largest island in North Frisia...

, hitting a hospital, although there were no casualties. The Germans retaliated with a naval raid.

On 10 May 1940, Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands
Battle of the Netherlands
The Battle of the Netherlands was part of Case Yellow , the German invasion of the Low Countries and France during World War II. The battle lasted from 10 May 1940 until 14 May 1940 when the main Dutch forces surrendered...

 and Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, intending to drive through the Ardennes
Ardennes
The Ardennes is a region of extensive forests, rolling hills and ridges formed within the Givetian Ardennes mountain range, primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France , and geologically into the Eifel...

 into France and strike a quick blow
Blitzkrieg
For other uses of the word, see: Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg is an anglicized word describing all-motorised force concentration of tanks, infantry, artillery, combat engineers and air power, concentrating overwhelming force at high speed to break through enemy lines, and, once the lines are broken,...

 that would end the war. This assault initiated the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

. As it began, three German bombers from KG 51 mistakenly bombed the German city of Freiburg
Freiburg
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the extreme south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain...

 instead of the French airfield of Dole-Taveux, having lost their way over the Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

. The Germans reported it as an Allied 'terror attack', and not until 1956, when the mistake was brought to light by researchers, was the myth dispelled.

German bombing of France began on the night of 9/10 May. By 11 May the French reported bombs dropped on Henin-Lietard, Bruay, Lens, La Fere, Loan, Nancy, Colmar, Pontoise, Lambersart, Lyons, Bouai, Hasebrouck, Doullens and Abbeville with at least 40 civilians killed.

On 12 May 1940, the British launched their first attacks on transport targets in the German industrial Ruhr Valley, including Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

. While Allied light and medium bombers attempted to delay the German invasion by striking at troop columns and bridges, the British War Cabinet gave permission for limited bombing raids against targets such as roads and railways west of the River Rhine. The first British bombs fell on Mönchengladbach
Mönchengladbach
Mönchengladbach , formerly known as Münchengladbach, is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located west of the Rhine half way between Düsseldorf and the Dutch border....

 on the night of 11/12 May 1940, while Bomber Command was attempting to hit roads and railroads near the Dutch-German border; four people were killed. Targets in Gelsenkirchen
Gelsenkirchen
Gelsenkirchen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the Ruhr area. Its population in 2006 was c. 267,000....

 were attacked first on the 14/15 May.

Rotterdam Blitz
The Germans used the threat of bombing Rotterdam to try to get the Dutch to come to terms and surrender. After a second ultimatum had been issued by the Germans, it appeared their effort had failed and, on 14 May 1940, Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

bombers were ordered to bomb Rotterdam
Rotterdam Blitz
The Rotterdam Blitz refers to the aerial bombardment of Rotterdam by the German Air Force on 14 May 1940, during the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II. The objective was to support the German troops fighting in the city, break Dutch resistance and force the Dutch to surrender...

 in an effort to force the capitulation of the besieged city. The controversial bombing targeted the center of the besieged city, instead of providing direct tactical support for the hard-pressed German 22nd Infantry Division (under Lt. Gen. von Sponeck
Hans Graf von Sponeck
Hans Graf von Sponeck or Hans Emil Otto Graf Sponeck was a German General-Leutnant during World War II who was imprisoned for disobeying orders and later executed. He was the father of Hans von Sponeck....

, which had airlanded on May 10) in combat with Dutch forces northwest of the city, and in the eastern part of the city at the Meuse river bridge. At the last minute, Holland decided to submit and sent a plenipotentiary and other negotiators across to German lines. There was an attempt to call off the assault, but the bombing mission had already begun. In legal terms the attack was performed against a defended part of a city vital for the military objectives and in the front-line, and the bombing respected 25 to 27 of the Hague Convention.

Out of 100 Heinkel He 111
Heinkel He 111
The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter in the early 1930s in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Often described as a "Wolf in sheep's clothing", it masqueraded as a transport aircraft, but its purpose was to provide the Luftwaffe with a fast medium...

s, 57 dropped their ordinance, a combined 97 tons of bombs. In the resulting fire 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²) of the city center were devastated, including 21 churches and 4 hospitals. The strike killed between 800-1000 civilians, wounded over 1,000, and made 78,000 homeless. Nearly twenty-five thousand homes, 2,320 stores, 775 warehouses and 62 schools were destroyed.

British propaganda
British propaganda during World War II
British propaganda during World War II took various forms. Using a wide variety of media, it called for actions needed for the war, such as production and proper behavior in the blackout, painted a dark picture of the Axis powers, and praised the Allies....

 inflated the number of civilian casualties by a factor 30. International news agencies vastly exaggerated the events, portraying Rotterdam as a city mercilessly destroyed by terror bombing without regard for civilian life, with 30,000 dead lying under the ruins. Neither claim was true. Furthermore, the bombing was against well-defined targets, albeit in the middle of the city, and would have assisted the advancing German Army. The Germans had threatened to bomb Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

 in the same fashion, and the Netherlands surrendered.
British response

Following the attack on Rotterdam, RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

 was authorized to attack German targets east of the Rhine on May 15, 1940; the Air Ministry authorized Air Marshal
Air Marshal
Air marshal is a three-star air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force...

 Charles Portal to attack targets in the Ruhr
Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

, including oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 plants and other civilian industrial
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 targets which aided the German war effort, such as blast furnace
Blast furnace
A blast furnace is a type of metallurgical furnace used for smelting to produce industrial metals, generally iron.In a blast furnace, fuel and ore and flux are continuously supplied through the top of the furnace, while air is blown into the bottom of the chamber, so that the chemical reactions...

s (which at night were self-illuminating). The underlying motive for the attacks was to divert German air forces away from the land front. Churchill explained the rationale of his decision to his French counterparts in a letter dated the 16th: "I have examined today with the War Cabinet and all the experts the request which you made to me last night and this morning for further fighter squadrons. We are all agreed that it is better to draw the enemy on to this Island by striking at his vitals, and thus to aid the common cause." Due to the inadequate British bomb-sights the strikes that followed "had the effect of terror raids on towns and villages," On the night of 15/16 May, 96 bombers crossed the Rhine and attacked. 78 had been assigned oil targets, but only 24 claimed to have accomplished their objective. On the night of May 17/18, RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

 bombed oil installations in Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 and Bremen
Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

; the H.E. and 400 incendiaries dropped caused six large, one moderately large and 29 small fires. As a result of the attack, 47 people were killed and 127 were wounded. Railway yards at Cologne were attacked on the same night. During May, Essen
Essen
- Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

, Duisburg
Duisburg
- History :A legend recorded by Johannes Aventinus holds that Duisburg, was built by the eponymous Tuisto, mythical progenitor of Germans, ca. 2395 BC...

, Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

 and Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

 were attacked in a similar fashion by Bomber Command. In June, attacks were made on Dortmund
Dortmund
Dortmund is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 585,045 makes it the 7th largest city in Germany and the 34th largest in the European Union....

, Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

, Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 and Bochum
Bochum
Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten and Hattingen.-History:...

. At the time, Bomber Command lacked the necessary navigational and bombing technical background and the accuracy of the bombings during the night attacks was abysmal. Consequently, the bombs were usually scattered over a large area, causing an uproar in Germany. Furthermore, on the night of 7/8 June 1940 a single French Navy
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

 Farman F.223 bomber attacked Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. The attack occurred just days after Germany had bombed Paris.

Despite the British attacks on German cities, the Luftwaffe did not begin to attack military and economic targets in the UK mainland until 6 weeks after the campaign in France had been concluded.

The Battle of Britain and the Blitz

On 22 June 1940, France signed an armistice with Germany. Britain was determined to keep fighting. On 1/2 July, the British attacked the German warships Scharnhorst and Prinz Eugen
German cruiser Prinz Eugen
Prinz Eugen was an Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruiser, the third member of the class of five vessels. She served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down in April 1936 and launched August 1938; Prinz Eugen entered service after the outbreak of war, in August 1940...

  in the port of Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

  and the next day, 16 RAF bombers attacked German train facilities in Hamm
Hamm
Hamm is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia , Germany. It is located in the northeastern part of the Ruhr area. As of December 2003 its population was 180,849. The city is situated between the A1 motorway and A2 motorway...

.

On July 10, the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 began with attack on shipping and fighter skirmishes over the British Channel. The battle began with probing attacks on British coastal shipping, during which Hitler called for the British to accept peace, but the British refused to negotiate.

Still hoping that the British would negotiate for peace, Hitler explicitly prohibited attacks on London and against civilians. Any airmen who, deliberately or unintentionally, violated this order were punished. Hitler's No. 17 Directive, issued 1 August 1940, established the conduct of war against England and specifically forbade the Luftwaffe from conducting terror raids. The Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

 declared that terror attacks could only be a means of reprisal, as ordered by him, despite the raids conducted by RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

 against industries in urban Germany since May 1940. Hitler's instructions were echoed in Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

's general order, issued on 30 June 1940:
On August 8, 1940, the Germans switched to raids on RAF fighter bases. To reduce losses, the Luftwaffe also began to use increasing numbers of bombers at night. By the last week of August, over half the missions were flown under the cover of dark. Despite Hitler's orders not to attack London, bombs fell on the city on 15 August, resulting in 60 deaths. That month, London was hit several more times, on the 18/19, 22/23, 24/25, 25/26 and 28/29. A raid on the 22/23 August, the first in which the Luftwaffe had hit central London, was described as 'extensive' by British observers.

On August 24, fate took a turn, and several off-course German bombers accidentally bombed residential areas of London. The next day, the RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 bombed Berlin for the first time, targeting Tempelhof airfield and the Siemens
Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...

 factories in Siemenstadt. These attacks were seen as indiscriminate bombings by the Germans due to their inaccuracy, and this infuriated Hitler; he ordered that the 'night piracy of the British' be countered by a concentrated night offensive against the island, and especially London. In a public speech in Berlin on 4 September 1940, Hitler announced that:
The Luftwaffe, which Hitler had prohibited from bombing civilian areas in the UK, was now ordered to bomb British cities. The Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 was underway. Göring - at Kesselring
Albert Kesselring
Albert Kesselring was a German Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most skilful commanders, being one of 27 soldiers awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords...

's urging and with Hitler's support- turned to a massive assault on the British capital. On 7 September, 318 bombers from the whole KG 53 supported by eight other Kampfgruppen, flew almost continuous sorties against London, the dock area which was already in flames from earlier daylight attacks. The attack of 7 September 1940 did not entirely step over the line into a clear terror bombing effort since its primary target was the London docks, but there was clearly an assumed hope of terrorizing the London population. Another 250 bomber sorties were flown in the night. By the morning of the 8 September, 430 Londoners had been killed. The Luftwaffe issued a press notice announcing they had dropped more than 1,000,000 kilograms of bombs on London in 24 hours. Many other British cities were hit in the nine month Blitz, including Birmingham
Birmingham Blitz
The Birmingham Blitz was the heavy bombing by the Nazi German Luftwaffe of the city of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, beginning on 9 August 1940 and ending on 23 April 1943...

, Liverpool
Liverpool Blitz
The Liverpool Blitz was the heavy and sustained bombing of the British city of Liverpool and its surrounding area, at the time mostly within the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire but commonly known as Merseyside, during the Second World War by the German Luftwaffe.Liverpool, Bootle, and the...

, Southampton
Southampton Blitz
The Southampton Blitz was the heavy bombing of Southampton by the Nazi German Luftwaffe during World War II. It was targeted mainly in the first phase of the Blitz....

, Manchester
Manchester Blitz
The Manchester Blitz was the heavy bombing of the city of Manchester and its surrounding areas in North West England during the Second World War by the Nazi German Luftwaffe...

, Bristol
Bristol Blitz
Bristol was the fifth most heavily bombed British city of World War II. The presence of Bristol Harbour and the Bristol Aeroplane Company made it a target for bombing by the Nazi German Luftwaffe who were able to trace a course up the River Avon from Avonmouth using reflected moonlight on the...

, Belfast
Belfast Blitz
The Belfast Blitz was an event that occurred on the night of Easter Tuesday, 15 April 1941 during World War II. Two hundred bombers of the German Air Force attacked the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Nearly one thousand people died as a result of the bombing and 1,500 were injured. In terms...

, Cardiff
Cardiff Blitz
The Cardiff Blitz refers to the bombing of Cardiff, Wales during World War II.At the time, Cardiff Docks was the biggest coal port in the world and, for a few years before World War I, it handled a greater tonnage of cargo than either London or Liverpool....

, Clydebank
Clydebank Blitz
The Clydebank Blitz refers to two devastating Luftwaffe air raids on the shipbuilding town of Clydebank in Scotland which took place in March 1941.-The air raids:...

, Kingston upon Hull
Hull blitz
The Hull Blitz was the Nazi German strategic bombing campaign targeted on the Northern English port city of Kingston upon Hull, almost invariably referred to as Hull, during the Second World War...

 and Coventry
Coventry Blitz
The Coventry blitz was a series of bombing raids that took place in the English city of Coventry. The city was bombed many times during the Second World War by the German Air Force...

. Sir Basil Collier, author of 'The Defence of the United Kingdom', the HMSO's official history, wrote:
The Luftwaffe offensive of the fall and winter 1940/1941 was primarily focused on military targets, not on terrorizing the population. In addition to the conclusions of Sir Basil Collier to that effect there are also for example the 1949 memoirs of General Henry H. Arnold
Henry H. Arnold
Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold was an American general officer holding the grades of General of the Army and later General of the Air Force. Arnold was an aviation pioneer, Chief of the Air Corps , Commanding General of the U.S...

 who had been in London 1941 and support Colliers estimate, and Harris
Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet GCB OBE AFC , commonly known as "Bomber" Harris by the press, and often within the RAF as "Butcher" Harris, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command during the latter half of World War...

 noted in 1947 that the Germans had failed to take the opportunity to destroy English cities by concentrated incendiary bombing.

As the war continued, an escalating war of electronic technology
Battle of the beams
The Battle of the Beams was a period early in the Second World War when bombers of the German Air Force used a number of increasingly accurate systems of radio navigation for night bombing. British "scientific intelligence" at the Air Ministry fought back with a variety of increasingly effective...

 developed. To counter German radio navigation aids, which helped their navigators find targets in the dark and through cloud cover
Overcast
Overcast or overcast weather, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization, is the meteorological condition of clouds obscuring all of the sky. Overcast, written as "OVC" in the METAR observation, is reported when the cloud cover is observed to equal eight oktas .Sometimes clouds can be...

, the British raced to work out the problems with countermeasures (most notably airborne radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

, as well as highly effective deceptive beacons and jammers).

Despite causing a great deal of damage and disrupting the daily lives of the civilian population, the bombing of Britain failed to have an impact. British air defenses became more formidable, and attacks tapered off as Germany abandoned its efforts against Britain and focused more on the Soviet Union.

Operation Abigail Rachel was the bombing of Mannheim
Bombing of Mannheim in World War II
The German city of Mannheim in the state of Baden-Württemberg saw bombing during World War II from December 1940 until the end of the war. Mannheim saw over 150 air raids....

 the "first deliberate terror raid
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

" on Germany on the 16 December. The British had been waiting for the opportunity to experiment with such a raid aimed at creating a maximum of destruction in a selected town since the summer 1940, and the opportunity was given after the German raid on Coventry. Internally it was declared to be a reprisal for Coventry and Southampton. The new bombing policy was officially ordered by Churchill at the start of December and the operation on condition it receive no publicity and be considered an experiment. Target marking missed the city center and most bombs missed the city center. This led to the development of the bomber stream
Bomber stream
The bomber stream was a tactic developed by the Royal Air Force Bomber Command to overwhelm the German aerial defences of the Kammhuber Line during World War II....

. Despite the lack of decisive success of this raid, approval was granted for further Abigails.

This was the start of a British drift away from precision attacks on military targets and towards area bombing attacks on whole cities.

Germany later in the war

The period of calm came to an end in April 1942 when, following a destructive RAF attack
Bombing of Lübeck in World War II
thumb|Joseph Krautwald's The MotherDuring World War II, the city of Lübeck was the first German city to be attacked in substantial numbers by the Royal Air Force. The attack on the night of 28 March 1942 created a firestorm that caused severe damage to the historic centre, the bombs destroying...

 on the Hanseatic
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 medieval city of Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

, Adolf Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to retaliate, leading to the so-called Baedeker Blitz
Baedeker Blitz
The Baedeker Blitz or Baedeker raids were a series of Vergeltungsangriffe by the German air force on English cities in response to the bombing of the erstwhile Hanseatic League city of Lübeck during the night from 28 to 29 March 1942 during World War II.-Background:Lübeck was bombed on the night...

:
In January 1944, a beleaguered Germany tried to strike a blow to British morale with terror bombing with Operation Steinbock
Operation Steinbock
Operation Steinbock was the nocturnal Second World War Luftwaffe offensive operation to destroy British military and civilian targets in southern England, between January and May 1944. The attacks were mainly in and around the Greater London area...

. This late in the war, Germany was impeded by a shortage of planes and was unable to safely escort bombers across Western Europe towards Britain, as this was enemy-dominated airspace. However, German scientists had invented vengeance weapons
Vergeltungswaffe
V-weapons also, known in the original German as Vergeltungswaffen , were a particular set of long range artillery weapons designed for strategic bombing during World War II, particularly terror bombing and/or aerial bombing of cities. They comprised the V-1 flying bomb, the V-2 rocket and the V-3...

 - V-1 flying bomb
V-1 flying bomb
The V-1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile....

s and V-2 ballistic missiles
V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket , technical name Aggregat-4 , was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known...

 - and these were used to launch an aerial assault on London and other cities in southern England from continental Europe. The campaign was much less destructive than the Blitz, so the British called it 'the Baby Blitz'. As the Allies advanced across France and towards Germany from the West, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Liège
Liège
Liège is a major city and municipality of Belgium located in the province of Liège, of which it is the economic capital, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium....

, Lille
Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

 and Antwerp also became targets.

The British and US directed part of the strategic bombing to the eradication of "wonder weapon" threats in what was later known as Operation Crossbow
Operation Crossbow
Crossbow was the code name of the World War II campaign of Anglo-American "operations against all phases of the German long-range weapons programme—operations against research and development of the weapons, their manufacture, transportation and their launching sites, and against missiles in flight"...

. The development of the V2 was hit preemptively in the British Peenemunde Raid (Operation Hydra)
Bombing of Peenemünde in World War II
Operation Hydra was a Royal Air Force attack on the Peenemünde Army Research Center on the night of 17/18 August 1943. It began the Operation Crossbow strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany's V-weapon programme...

 of August 1943.

British historian, Frederick Taylor
Frederick Taylor (historian)
Frederick Taylor is a British historian and author of such works as Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945 about the bombing of Dresden in World War II....

 asserts that "all sides bombed each other's cities during the war. Half a million Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 citizens, for example, died from German bombing during the invasion and occupation of Russia. That's roughly equivalent to the number of German citizens who died from Allied raids."

The British later in the war

RAF estimates of destruction of "built up areas" of major German cities
* = population over 500,000
City percent
destroyed
Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

*
33
Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

*
61
Dortmund
Dortmund
Dortmund is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 585,045 makes it the 7th largest city in Germany and the 34th largest in the European Union....

*
54
Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

*
59
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

*
64
Essen
Essen
- Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

*
50
Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

*
52
Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

*
75
Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

*
20
Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

*
42
Bochum
Bochum
Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten and Hattingen.-History:...

83
Bremen
Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

60
Chemnitz
Chemnitz
Chemnitz is the third-largest city of the Free State of Saxony, Germany. Chemnitz is an independent city which is not part of any county and seat of the government region Direktionsbezirk Chemnitz. Located in the northern foothills of the Ore Mountains, it is a part of the Saxon triangle...

41
Dessau
Dessau
Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 .-Geography:...

61
Duisburg
Duisburg
- History :A legend recorded by Johannes Aventinus holds that Duisburg, was built by the eponymous Tuisto, mythical progenitor of Germans, ca. 2395 BC...

48
Hagen
Hagen
Hagen is the 39th-largest city in Germany, located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located on the eastern edge of the Ruhr area, 15 km south of Dortmund, where the rivers Lenne, Volme and Ennepe meet the river Ruhr...

67
Hannover 60
Kassel
Kassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

69
Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

50
Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

80
Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

41
Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

64
Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

51
Stettin 53
Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

46


The purpose of the area bombardment of cities was laid out in a British Air Staff paper, dated September 23, 1941:
"The ultimate aim of an attack on a town area is to break the morale of the population which occupies it. To ensure this, we must achieve two things: first, we must make the town physically uninhabitable and, secondly, we must make the people conscious of constant personal danger. The immediate aim, is therefore, twofold, namely, to produce (i) destruction and (ii) fear of death."

During the first few months of the area bombing campaign, an internal debate within the British government about the most effective use of the nation's limited resources in waging war on Germany continued. Should the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF) be scaled back to allow more resources to go to the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 or should the strategic bombing
Strategic bombing during World War II
Strategic bombing during World War II is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II...

 option be followed and expanded? An influential paper was presented to support the bombing campaign by Professor Frederick Lindemann
Frederick Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell
Frederick Alexander Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell FRS PC CH was an English physicist who was an influential scientific adviser to the British government, particularly Winston Churchill...

, the British government's leading scientific adviser, justifying the use of area bombing to "dehouse
Dehousing
On 30 March 1942 Professor Frederick Lindemann, Baron Cherwell, the British government's chief scientific adviser, sent to the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill a memorandum which after it had become accepted by the Cabinet became known as the dehousing paper.Also known as the "dehousing...

" the German workforce as the most effective way of reducing their morale and affecting enemy war production.

Mr. Justice Singleton, a High Court Judge, was asked by Cabinet to look into the competing points of view. In his report, delivered on 20 May 1942, he concluded, "If Russia can hold Germany on land I doubt whether Germany will stand 12 or 18 months’ continuous, intensified and increased bombing, affecting, as it must, her war production, her power of resistance, her industries and her will to resist (by which I mean morale)". In the end, thanks in part to the dehousing paper, it was this view which prevailed and Bomber Command would remain an important component of the British war effort up to the end of World War II. A very large proportion of the industrial production of the United Kingdom was harnessed to the task of creating a vast fleet of heavy bombers—so much so other vital areas of war production were under-resourced. Until 1944, the effect on German production was remarkably small and raised doubts whether it was wise to divert so much effort—the response being there was nowhere else the effort could have been applied, as readily, to greater effect.

Lindemann was liked and trusted by Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, who appointed him the British government's leading scientific adviser with a seat in the Cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

. In 1942, Lindemann presented the "dehousing paper" to the Cabinet showing the effect that intensive bombing of German cities could produce. It was accepted by the Cabinet and Air Marshal Harris was appointed to carry out the task. It became an important part of the total war
Total war
Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of fully available resources and population.In the mid-19th century, "total war" was identified by scholars as a separate class of warfare...

 waged against Germany. Professor Lindemann's paper put forward the theory of attacking major industrial centres in order to deliberately destroy as many homes and houses as possible. Working class homes were to be targeted because they had a higher density and fire storms were more likely. This would displace the German workforce and reduce their ability to work. His calculations (which were questioned at the time, in particular by Professor P. M. S. Blackett
Patrick Blackett, Baron Blackett
Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Baron Blackett OM CH FRS was an English experimental physicist known for his work on cloud chambers, cosmic rays, and paleomagnetism. He also made a major contribution in World War II advising on military strategy and developing Operational Research...

 of the Admiralty operations research
Operations research
Operations research is an interdisciplinary mathematical science that focuses on the effective use of technology by organizations...

 department, expressly refuting Lindemann's conclusions) showed the RAF's Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

 would be able to destroy the majority of German houses located in cities quite quickly. The plan was highly controversial even before it started, but the Cabinet thought that bombing was the only option available to directly attack Germany (as a major invasion of the continent was almost two years away), and the Soviets were demanding that the Western Allies do something to relieve the pressure on the Eastern Front. Few in Britain opposed this policy, but there were three notable opponents in Parliament, Bishop George Bell
George Bell (bishop)
George Kennedy Allen Bell was an Anglican theologian, Dean of Canterbury, Bishop of Chichester, member of the House of Lords and a pioneer of the Ecumenical Movement.-Early career:...

 and the Labour MPs
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 Richard Stokes
Richard Stokes
Major Sir Richard Rapier Stokes MC was a British Labour politician who served briefly as Lord Privy Seal in 1951....

 and Alfred Salter
Alfred Salter
Dr Alfred Salter was a British medical practitioner and Labour Party politician.Southwark Council has offered £1000 reward for anyone who recovers the statue stolen on 18 November. -Early life:...

. No effort to examine the effects of bombing was ever made.

On 14 February 1942, the Area bombing directive
Area bombing directive
The Area Bombing Directive was a directive from the wartime British Government's Air Ministry to the Royal Air Force which ordered RAF bombers to attack the German industrial workforce and the morale of the German populace through bombing German cities and their civilian inhabitants.- Background...

 was issued to Bomber Command. Bombing was to be "focused on the morale of the enemy civil population and in particular of the industrial workers." Though it was never explicitly declared, this was the nearest that the British got to a declaration of unrestricted aerial bombing - Directive 22 said "You are accordingly authorised to use your forces without restriction", and then listing a series of primary targets which included Essen
Essen
- Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

, Duisburg
Duisburg
- History :A legend recorded by Johannes Aventinus holds that Duisburg, was built by the eponymous Tuisto, mythical progenitor of Germans, ca. 2395 BC...

, Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

, and Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

. Secondary targets included Braunschweig
Bombing of Braunschweig in World War II
During World War II Braunschweig was attacked by Allied aircraft in 42 bombing raids.The attack on the night of 14/15 October 1944 by No. 5 Group Royal Air Force marked the high point of the destruction of Henry the Lion's city in the Second World War...

, Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

, Rostock
Rostock
Rostock -Early history:In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc ; the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danish king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.Afterwards the place was settled by German traders...

, Bremen, Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

, Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

, Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

, Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

, and Schweinfurt
Schweinfurt
Schweinfurt is a city in the Lower Franconia region of Bavaria in Germany on the right bank of the canalized Main, which is here spanned by several bridges, 27 km northeast of Würzburg.- History :...

. The directive stated that "operations should now be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population, and in particular, the industrial workers". Lest there be any confusion, Sir Charles Portal wrote to Air Chief Marshal
Air Chief Marshal
Air chief marshal is a senior 4-star air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force...

 Norman Bottomley
Norman Bottomley
Air Chief Marshal Sir Norman Howard Bottomley KCB CIE DSO AFC RAF was the Yorkshire-born successor to Arthur 'Bomber' Harris as Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command in 1945.-RAF career:...

 on 15 February "...I suppose it is clear that the aiming points will be the built-up areas, and not, for instance, the dockyards or aircraft factories". Factories were no longer targets.

The first true practical demonstrations were on the night of 28 to 29 March 1942, when 234 aircraft bombed
Bombing of Lübeck in World War II
thumb|Joseph Krautwald's The MotherDuring World War II, the city of Lübeck was the first German city to be attacked in substantial numbers by the Royal Air Force. The attack on the night of 28 March 1942 created a firestorm that caused severe damage to the historic centre, the bombs destroying...

 the ancient Hanseatic
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 port of Lübeck. This target was chosen not because it was a significant military target, but because it was expected to be particularly susceptible - in Harris's words it was "built more like a fire lighter than a city". The ancient timber structures burned well, and the raid destroyed most of the city's centre. A few days later, Rostock suffered the same fate.

However, the most startlingly destructive examples of area bombing were the "thousand-bomber raids". Bomber Command was able by organization and drafting in as many aircraft as possible to assemble very large forces which could then attack a single area, overwhelming the defences. The aircraft would be staggered so that they would arrive over the target in succession: the new technique of the "bomber stream
Bomber stream
The bomber stream was a tactic developed by the Royal Air Force Bomber Command to overwhelm the German aerial defences of the Kammhuber Line during World War II....

".

On 30 May 1942, between 0047 and 0225 hours, in Operation Millennium 1,046 bombers dropped over 2,000 tons of high explosive and incendiaries on the medieval town of Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, and the resulting fires burned it from end to end. The devastation was nearly total. The fires could be seen 600 miles away at an altitude of 20,000 feet. Some 3,300 houses were destroyed, and 10,000 were damaged. 12,000 separate fires raged destroying 36 factories, damaging 270 more, and leaving 45,000 people with nowhere to live or to work. Only 384 civilians and 85 soldiers were killed, but thousands evacuated the city. Bomber Command lost 40 bombers.

Two further thousand-bomber raids were conducted over Essen
Essen
- Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

 and Bremen, but neither so utterly shook both sides as the scale of the destruction at Cologne and Hamburg. The effects of the massive raids using a combination of blockbuster bomb
Blockbuster bomb
Blockbuster or "cookie" was the name given to several of the largest conventional bombs used in World War II by the Royal Air Force...

s (to blow off roofs) and incendiaries (to start fires in the exposed buildings) created firestorm
Firestorm
A firestorm is a conflagration which attains such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires, forest fires, and wildfires...

s in some cities. The most extreme examples of which were caused by Operation Gomorrah, the attack on Hamburg
Bombing of Hamburg in World War II
The Allied bombing of Hamburg during World War II included numerous strategic bombing missions and diversion/nuisance raids. As a large port and industrial center, Hamburg's shipyards, U-boat pens, and the Hamburg-Harburg area oil refineries were attacked throughout the war...

, (45,000 dead), attack on Kassel
Bombing of Kassel in World War II
The Kassel World War II bombings were a set of Allied strategic bombing attacks which took place from February 1942 to March 1945. The fire of the most severe air raid burned for seven days, at least 10,000 people died, 150,000 inhabitants were bombed-out, and the vast majority of the city center...

 (10,000 dead), the attack on Darmstadt
Bombing of Darmstadt in World War II
Darmstadt was bombed a number of times during World War II. The most devastating air raid on Darmstadt occurred on the night of 11/12 September 1944 when No. 5 Group the Royal Air Force bombed the city....

 (12,500 dead), the attack on Pforzheim
Bombing of Pforzheim in World War II
During the latter stages of World War II, Pforzheim, a town in southwestern Germany, was bombed a number of times. The largest raid, and one of the most devastating area bombardments of the war was carried out by the Royal Air Force on the evening of February 23, 1945. As many as 17,600 people,...

 (21,200 dead), the attack on Swinemuende (23,000 dead) and the attack on Dresden
Bombing of Dresden in World War II
The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force and as part of the Allied forces between 13 February and 15 February 1945 in the Second World War...

 (35,000 dead).

The effects of strategic bombing were very poorly understood at the time and grossly overrated. Particularly in the first two years of the campaign, few understood just how little damage was caused and how rapidly the Germans were able to replace lost production—despite the obvious lessons to be learned from the United Kingdom's own survival of the blitz. These problems were dealt with in two ways: first the precision targeting of vital facilities (ball-bearing production in particular) was abandoned in favour of "area bombing"—This change of policy was agreed by the Cabinet
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

 in 1941 and in early 1942 a new directive
Area bombing directive
The Area Bombing Directive was a directive from the wartime British Government's Air Ministry to the Royal Air Force which ordered RAF bombers to attack the German industrial workforce and the morale of the German populace through bombing German cities and their civilian inhabitants.- Background...

 was issued and Air Marshal Arthur Harris
Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet GCB OBE AFC , commonly known as "Bomber" Harris by the press, and often within the RAF as "Butcher" Harris, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command during the latter half of World War...

 (commonly known as "Bomber" Harris) was appointed to carry out the task—second as the campaign developed, improvements in the accuracy of the RAF raids were joined by better crew training, electronic aids, and new tactics such as the creation of a "pathfinder
Pathfinder (RAF)
The Pathfinders were elite squadrons in RAF Bomber Command during World War II. They located and marked targets with flares, which a main bomber force could aim at, increasing the accuracy of their bombing...

" force to mark targets for the main force, which was done over Harris' objections.

According to economic historian Adam Tooze
Adam Tooze
Adam Tooze is a British historian and was Reader in Modern European Economic History at the University of Cambridge. In 2002, he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Modern History. As of Summer 2010, he is a professor of history at Yale University.He is currently best known for his economic...

, in his book The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy
The Wages of Destruction
The Wages of Destruction is an award-winning non-fiction book detailing the economic history of Nazi Germany. Written by Adam Tooze, it was first published by Allen Lane in 2006....

, a turning point in the bomber offensive was reached in March 1943, during the Battle of the Ruhr
Battle of the Ruhr
The Battle of the Ruhr was a 5-month long campaign of strategic bombing during the Second World War against the Nazi Germany Ruhr Area, which had coke plants, steelworks, and 10 synthetic oil plants...

. Over five months 34,000 tons of bombs were dropped. Following the raids, steel production fell by 200,000 tons, making a shortfall of 400,000 tons. Speer acknowledged that the RAF were hitting the right targets, and raids severely disrupted his plans to increase production to meet increasing attritional needs. Between July 1943 and March 1944 there were no further increases in the output of aircraft.

The bombing of Hamburg in 1943 also produced impressive results. Tiger tank
Tiger I
Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of...

 production, and the manufacture of 88mm guns, the most potent dual-purpose artillery piece in the Wehrmacht was "set back for months". On top of this, some 62 percent of the population was dehoused causing more difficulties. However, RAF Bomber Command allowed itself to be distracted by Harris' desire for a war winning blow, and attempted the fruitless missions to destroy Berlin
Battle of Berlin (air)
The Battle of Berlin was a British bombing campaign on Berlin from November 1943 – March 1944. The campaign was not limited solely to Berlin. Other German cities were attacked to prevent concentration of defences in Berlin, and Bomber Command had other responsibilities and operations to conduct...

 and end the war by spring, 1944.

In October 1943 Harris urged the government to be honest with the public regarding the purpose of the bombing campaign. To Harris, his complete success at Hamburg confirmed the validity and necessity of his methods, and he urged that:

the aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive...should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilized life throughout Germany. Also, he commented, ... the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.

By contrast, the Strategic Bombing Survey
Strategic bombing survey
The United States Strategic Bombing Survey was a board tasked with examination and analysis of the United States' involvement in the World War II. Its primary purpose was to determine the effectiveness of Allied, and more specifically American, strategic bombing campaigns in Europe and in Asia...

 found attacks on waterways, beginning 23 September with strikes against the Dortmund-Ems Canal
Dortmund-Ems Canal
The Dortmund–Ems Canal is a 269 km long canal in Germany between the inland port of the city of Dortmund and the sea port of Emden. The artificial southern part of the canal ends after 215 km at the lock of Herbrum near Meppen. From there, the route goes over a length of 45 km over...

 and Mittelland Canal, produced tremendous traffic problems on the Rhine River. It had immediate impacts on shipments of goods, and especially coal deliveries, upon which Germany's economy depended; with no more additional effort, by February 1945, rail transport (which competed for coal) had seen its shipments cut by more than half, and by March, "except in limited areas, the coal supply had been eliminated."

US bombing in Europe

In mid 1942, the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 (USAAF) arrived in the UK and carried out a few raids across the English Channel. The USAAF Eighth Air Force
Eighth Air Force
The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....

's B-17 bombers were called the "Flying Fortresses" because of their heavy defensive armament of ten to twelve machine guns, and armor plating in vital locations. In part because of their heavier armament and armor, they carried smaller bomb loads than British bombers. With all of this, the USAAF's commanders in Washington, DC, and in Great Britain adopted the strategy of taking on the Luftwaffe head on, in larger and larger air raids by mutually defending bombers, flying over Germany, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, and France at high altitudes during the daytime. Also, both the U.S. Government and its Army Air Forces commanders were reluctant to bomb enemy cities and towns indiscriminately. They claimed that by using the B-17 and the Norden bombsight
Norden bombsight
The Norden bombsight was a tachometric bombsight used by the United States Army Air Forces and the United States Navy during World War II, and the United States Air Force in the Korean and the Vietnam Wars to aid the crew of bomber aircraft in dropping bombs accurately...

, the USAAF should be able to carry out "precision bombing
Precision bombing
Precision bombing is bombing of a small target with extreme accuracy, to limit side-effect damage. An example would be destroying a single building in a built up area causing minimal damage to the surroundings...

" on locations vital to the German war machine: factories, naval bases, shipyards, railroad yards, railroad junctions, power plants, steel mills, airfields, etc.

In January 1943, at the Casablanca Conference, it was agreed RAF Bomber Command operations against Germany would be reinforced by the USAAF in a Combined Operations Offensive plan called Operation Pointblank. Chief of the British Air Staff MRAF
Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Marshal of the Royal Air Force is the highest rank in the Royal Air Force. In peacetime it was granted to RAF officers in the appointment of Chief of the Defence Staff, and to retired Chiefs of the Air Staff, who were promoted to it on their last day of service. Promotions to the rank have ceased...

 Sir Charles Portal
Charles Portal, 1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Charles Frederick Algernon Portal, 1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford KG GCB OM DSO & Bar MC was a senior Royal Air Force officer and an advocate of strategic bombing...

 was put in charge of the "strategic direction" of both British and American bomber operations. The text of the Casablanca directive
Casablanca directive
The Casablanca directive was approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the Western Allies at their 65th meeting on 21 January 1943 and issued to the appropriate the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force commanders on 4 February 1943....

 read: "Your primary object will be the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened.", At the beginning of the combined strategic bombing offensive on 4 March 1943 669 RAF and 303 USAAF heavy bombers were available.

In the late 1943, the 'Pointblank' attacks manifested themselves in the infamous Schweinfurt raids (first and second
Second Raid on Schweinfurt
The second Schweinfurt raid bombed World War II ball bearing factories to reduce production of these vital parts for all manner of war machines. Named Black Thursday because the loss of aircrewmen was the highest for any USAAF mission...

). Formations of unescorted bombers were no match for German fighters, which inflicted a deadly toll. In despair, the Eighth halted air operations over Germany until a long-range fighter could be found in 1944; it proved to be the P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

, which had the range to fly to Berlin and back.

USAAF leaders firmly held to the claim of "precision bombing" of military targets for much of the war, and dismissed claims they were simply bombing cities. However the American Eighth Air Force received the first H2X radar
H2X radar
H2X radar was an American development of the British H2S radar, the first ground mapping radar to be used in combat. It was used by the USAAF during World War II as a navigation system for daylight overcast and nighttime operations...

 sets in December 1943. Within two weeks of the arrival of these first six sets, the Eighth command gave permission for them to area bomb a city using H2X and would continue to authorize, on average, about one such attack a week until the end of the war in Europe.

In reality, the day bombing was "precision bombing" only in the sense that most bombs fell somewhere near a specific designated target such as a railway yard. Conventionally, the air forces designated as "the target area" a circle having a radius of 1000 feet around the aiming point of attack. While accuracy improved during the war, Survey studies show that, in the over-all, only about 20% of the bombs aimed at precision targets fell within this target area. In the fall of 1944, only seven percent of all bombs dropped by the Eighth Air Force hit within 1,000 feet of their aim point.

Nevertheless, the sheer tonnage of explosive delivered by day and by night was eventually sufficient to cause widespread damage, and, more importantly from a military point of view, forced Germany to divert resources to counter it. This was to be the real significance of the Allied strategic bombing campaign—resource allocation.
For the sake of improving the US air-force Fire bombing capabilities a mock-up German Village
German Village (Dugway proving ground)
German Village was the nickname for a range of residential houses constructed in 1943 by the U.S. Army in the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, roughly a hundred kilometers southwest of Salt Lake City....

 was built up and repeatedly burned down. It contained full scale replicas of German residential homes. Fire bombing attacks proved quite successful, in a single 1943 attack on Hamburg roughly 50,000 civilians were killed and practically the entire city destroyed.

With the arrival of the brand-new Fifteenth Air Force
Fifteenth Air Force
The Fifteenth Expeditionary Mobility Task Force is one of two EMTFs assigned to the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command . It is headquartered at Travis Air Force Base, California....

, based in Italy, command of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe was consolidated into the United States Strategic Air Forces
United States Strategic Air Forces
The US Eighth Air Force in World War II, later designated the United States Strategic and Tactical Air Forces was the first and became the overall command and control authority of the United States Army Air Forces against the European Axis members during World War II, where it'd started as a...

 (USSTAF). With the addition of the Mustang to its strength, the Combined Bomber Offensive
Combined Bomber Offensive
The Combined Bomber Offensive was an Anglo-American offensive of strategic bombing during World War II in Europe. The primary portion of the CBO was against German Air Force targets which was the highest priority from June 1943 to 1944...

 was resumed. Planners targeted the Luftwaffe in an operation known as 'Big Week
Big Week
Between February 20–25, 1944, as part of the European strategic bombing campaign, the United States Strategic Air Forces launched Operation Argument, a series of missions against the Third Reich that became known as Big Week. The planners intended to lure the Luftwaffe into a decisive battle by...

' (20–25 February 1944) and succeeded brilliantly - losses were so heavy German planners were forced into a hasty dispersal of industry and the day fighter arm never fully recovered.

On 27 March 1944, the Combined Chiefs of Staff
Combined Chiefs of Staff
The Combined Chiefs of Staff was the supreme military command for the western Allies during World War II. It was a body constituted from the British Chiefs of Staff Committee and the American Joint Chiefs of Staff....

 issued orders granting control of all the Allied air forces in Europe, including strategic bombers, to General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, the Supreme Allied Commander, who delegated command to his deputy in SHAEF Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder
Arthur Tedder, 1st Baron Tedder
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Arthur William Tedder, 1st Baron Tedder, GCB was a senior British air force commander. During the First World War, he was a pilot and squadron commander in the Royal Flying Corps and he went on to serve as a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during the inter-war...

. There was resistance to this order from some senior figures, including Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, Harris, and Carl Spaatz
Carl Spaatz
Carl Andrew "Tooey" Spaatz GBE was an American World War II general and the first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He was of German descent.-Early life:...

, but after some debate, control passed to SHAEF on 1 April 1944. When the Combined Bomber Offensive officially ended on 1 April, Allied airmen were well on the way to achieving air superiority over all of Europe. While they continued some strategic bombing, the USAAF along with the RAF turned their attention to the tactical air battle in support of the Normandy Invasion. It was not until the middle of September that the strategic bombing campaign of Germany again became the priority for the USSTAF.

The twin campaigns—the USAAF by day, the RAF by night—built up into massive bombing of German industrial areas, notably the Ruhr
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

, followed by attacks directly on cities such as Hamburg
Bombing of Hamburg in World War II
The Allied bombing of Hamburg during World War II included numerous strategic bombing missions and diversion/nuisance raids. As a large port and industrial center, Hamburg's shipyards, U-boat pens, and the Hamburg-Harburg area oil refineries were attacked throughout the war...

, Kassel
Bombing of Kassel in World War II
The Kassel World War II bombings were a set of Allied strategic bombing attacks which took place from February 1942 to March 1945. The fire of the most severe air raid burned for seven days, at least 10,000 people died, 150,000 inhabitants were bombed-out, and the vast majority of the city center...

, Pforzheim
Bombing of Pforzheim in World War II
During the latter stages of World War II, Pforzheim, a town in southwestern Germany, was bombed a number of times. The largest raid, and one of the most devastating area bombardments of the war was carried out by the Royal Air Force on the evening of February 23, 1945. As many as 17,600 people,...

, Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

 and the often-criticized bombing of Dresden
Bombing of Dresden in World War II
The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force and as part of the Allied forces between 13 February and 15 February 1945 in the Second World War...

.

Effectiveness

Strategic bombing has been criticized on practical grounds because it does not always work predictably. The radical changes it forces on a targeted population can backfire, including the counterproductive result of freeing inessential labourers to fill worker shortages in war industries.

Much of the doubt about the effectiveness of the bomber war comes from the oft-stated fact German industrial production increased throughout the war. Until late in the war, industry had not been geared for war and German factories only worked a single shift. Simply by going to three shifts, production could have been tripled with no change to the infrastructure. However, attacks on the infrastructure were taking place. The attacks on Germany's canals and railroads made transportation of materiel
Materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 difficult.

The attack on oil production, oil refineries
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

, and tank farm
Oil depot
An oil depot is an industrial facility for the storage of oil and/or petrochemical products and from which these products are usually transported to end users or further storage facilities...

s was, however, extremely successful and made a very large contribution to the general collapse of Germany in 1945. In the event, the bombing of oil facilities became Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

's main concern; however, this occurred sufficiently late in the war that Germany would soon be defeated in any case. Nevertheless, it is fair to say the oil bombing campaign materially shortened the war, thereby saving many lives.

German insiders credit the Allied bombing offensive with severely handicapping them. Speer repeatedly said (both during and after the war) it caused crucial production problems. Admiral Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy during World War I. In 1918, while he was in command of , the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner...

, head of the U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 fleet (U-waffe), noted in his memoirs failure to get the revolutionary Type XXI
German Type XXI submarine
Type XXI U-boats, also known as "Elektroboote", were the first submarines designed to operate primarily submerged, rather than as surface ships that could submerge as a means to escape detection or launch an attack.-Description:...

 U-boats (which could have completely altered the balance of power in the Battle of the Atlantic) into service was entirely the result of the bombing. The United States Strategic Bombing Survey (Europe)
Strategic bombing survey (Europe)
The United States Strategic Bombing Survey was established by the Secretary of War on 3 November 1944, pursuant to a Directive from President Roosevelt...

, says, despite bombing becoming a major effort, between December 1942 and June 1943, "The attack on the construction yards and slipways was not heavy enough to be more than troublesome" and the delays in delivery of Type XXIs and XXIII
German Type XXIII submarine
German Type XXIII submarines were the first so-called elektroboats to become operational. They were small coastal submarines designed to operate in the shallow waters of the North Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea, where larger Type XXI Elektro boats were at risk in World War II. They were so...

s up until November 1944 "cannot be attributed to the air attack", but adds, "The attacks during the late winter and early spring of 1945 did close, or all but close, five of the major yards, including the great Blohm and Voss plant at Hamburg".

Effect on morale

Although designed to "break the enemy's will", the opposite often happened. The British did not crumble under the German Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 and other air raid
Strategic bombing
Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in a total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability and public will to wage war rather than destroying its land or naval forces...

s early in the war. British workers continued to work throughout the war and food and other basic supplies were available throughout.

The impact of bombing on German morale was significant according to Professor John Buckley
John Buckley (historian)
John D. Buckley is Professor of Military History at the University of Wolverhampton. He teaches and publishes on twentieth-century military and strategic studies, especially on air power and the final year of World War II....

. Around a third of the urban population under threat of bombing had no protection at all. Some of the major cities saw 55-60 percent of dwellings destroyed. Mass evacuations were a partial answer for six million civilians, but this had a severe impact on morale as German families were split up to live in difficult conditions. By 1944 absenteeism rates of 20-25 percent were not unusual and in post-war analysis 91 percent of civilians stated bombing was the most difficult hardship to endure and was the key factor in the collapse of their own morale. The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that the bombing was not stiffening morale but seriously depressing it; fatalism, apathy, defeatism were apparent in bombed areas. The Luftwaffe was blamed for not warding off the attacks and confidence in the Nazi regime fell by 14 percent. Some 75 percent of Germans believed the war was lost in the spring of 1944, owing to the intensity of the bombing.

Buckley argues the German war economy did indeed expand significantly following Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

’s appointment as Reichsminister of Armaments, "but it is spurious to argue that because production increased then bombing had no real impact". But the bombing offensive did do serious damage to German production levels. German tank and aircraft production, though reached new records in production levels in 1944, was in particular one-third lower than planned. In fact, German aircraft production for 1945 was planned at 80,000, "which gives an idea of direction Erhard Milch and the German planners were pushing", "unhindered by Allied bombing German production would have risen far higher".

Journalist Max Hastings
Max Hastings
Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, FRSL is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. He is the son of Macdonald Hastings, the noted British journalist and war correspondent and Anne Scott-James, sometime editor of Harper's Bazaar.-Life and career:Hastings was educated at Charterhouse...

 and the authors of the official history of the bomber offensive, Noble Frankland
Noble Frankland
Anthony Noble Frankland DFC, , D.Phil., is a British historian.Noble Frankland attended Trinity College, Oxford from March 1941 to May 1942, and then from October 1945 to November 1947. He served in the Royal Air Force from 1941 to 1945, as a navigator in RAF Bomber Command and was awarded the...

 among them, has argued bombing had a limited effect on morale. In the words of the British Bombing Survey Unit (BBSU): "The essential premise behind the policy of treating towns as unit targets for area attack, namely that the German economic system was fully extended, was false." This, the BBSU noted, was because official estimates of German war production were "more than 100 percent in excess of the true figures". The BBSU concluded: "Far from there being any evidence of a cumulative effect on (German) war production, it is evident that, as the (bombing) offensive progressed ... the effect on war production became progressively smaller (and) did not reach significant dimensions."

Allied bombing statistics 1939–45

class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;">
RAF Bombing Sorties & Losses 1939–45
Sorties Losses
Night 297,663 7,449
Day   66,851    876
class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;"> RAF & USAAF Bomb Tonnages on Germany 1939–45 Year RAF Bomber
Command (tons) US 8th Air
Force (tons) 1939          31 — 1940   13,033 — 1941   31,504 — 1942   45,561     1,561 1943 157,457   44,165 1944 525,518 389,119 1945 191,540 188,573 Total 964,644 623,418
Bombing Effort,
entire European Theatre
Tons Percent
8th Air Force (including fighters) 692,918
9th Air Force 225,799
12th Air Force 207,367
15th Air Force (including fighters) 312,173
1st Tactical Air Force 25,166
Total USAAF 1,463,423 52.8
Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

1,066,141
Fighter Command
RAF Fighter Command
RAF Fighter Command was one of three functional commands of the Royal Air Force. It was formed in 1936 to allow more specialised control of fighter aircraft. It served throughout the Second World War, gaining recognition in the Battle of Britain. The Command continued until 17 November 1943, when...

3,910
2nd Tactical Air Force
RAF Second Tactical Air Force
The former RAF Second Tactical Air Force was one of three tactical air forces within the Royal Air Force during and after the Second World War...

69,138
Mediterranean Air Command
Mediterranean Air Command
The Mediterranean Air Command was the official Allied air force command organization in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations between February 18 and December 10, 1943. MAC was commanded by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder whose headquarters were established next to those...

167,928
Total RAF 1,307,117 47.2
Grand Total 2,770,540 100.0

Casualties

After the war the U.S. Strategic bombing survey
Strategic bombing survey
The United States Strategic Bombing Survey was a board tasked with examination and analysis of the United States' involvement in the World War II. Its primary purpose was to determine the effectiveness of Allied, and more specifically American, strategic bombing campaigns in Europe and in Asia...

 reviewed the available casualty
Casualty (person)
A casualty is a person who is the victim of an accident, injury, or trauma. The word casualties is most often used by the news media to describe deaths and injuries resulting from wars or disasters...

 records in Germany, and concluded that official German statistics of casualties from air attack had been too low. The survey estimated that at a minimum 305,000 were killed in German cities due to bombing and estimated a minimum of 780,000 wounded. Roughly 7,500,000 German civilians were also rendered homeless. (see Dehousing
Dehousing
On 30 March 1942 Professor Frederick Lindemann, Baron Cherwell, the British government's chief scientific adviser, sent to the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill a memorandum which after it had become accepted by the Cabinet became known as the dehousing paper.Also known as the "dehousing...

).

In addition to the minimum figure given in the Strategic bombing survey the number of killed by Allied bombing in Germany have been estimated at between 400,000 and 600,000. In the UK 60,595 British were killed by German bombing, and in France 67,078 French were killed by US-UK bombing.

Belgrade was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe on April 6, 1941, when more than 17,000 people were killed. According to The Oxford companion to World War II, "After Italy's surrender the Allies kept up the bombing of the northern part occupied by the Germans and more than 50,000 Italians were killed in these raids."

Over 160,000 Allied airmen were lost in the European theatre.

Asia

Within Asia the majority of strategic bombing was carried out by the Japanese and the US. The British Commonwealth planned that once the war in Europe was complete, a strategic bombing force of up to 1,000 heavy bombers ("Tiger Force"
Tiger Force (air)
Tiger Force, also known as the Very Long Range Bomber Force, was the name given to a World War II British Commonwealth long-range heavy bomber force, formed in 1945, from squadrons serving with RAF Bomber Command in Europe, for proposed use against targets in Japan...

) would be sent to the Far East. This was never realised before the end of the Pacific War.

Japanese bombing

Japanese strategic bombing was independently conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service was the air arm of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, the organization was responsible for the operation of naval aircraft and the conduct of aerial warfare in the Pacific War.It was controlled by the Navy Staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy and...

 and the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
The , was the land-based aviation force of the Imperial Japanese Army. As with the IJA itself, the IJAAF was developed along the lines of Imperial German Army Aviation so its primary mission was to provide tactical close air support for ground troops while maintaining a limited air interdiction...

. Bombing efforts mostly targeted large Chinese cities such as Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, Wuhan
Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies at the east of the Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers...

 and Chonging
Bombing of Chongqing
The bombing of Chongqing was part of a terror bombing operation conducted by Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service on the Chinese provisional capital of Chongqing, authorized by the Imperial General Headquarters.A conservative estimate places the...

, with around 5,000 raids from February 1938 to August 1943 in the later case.

The bombing of Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

 and Canton
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

, which began on 22 and 23 September 1937, called forth widespread protests culminating in a resolution by the Far Eastern Advisory Committee of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. Lord Cranborne
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, PC , known as Viscount Cranborne from 1903 to 1947, was a British Conservative politician.-Background:...

, the British Under-Secretary of State For Foreign Affairs, expressed his indignation in his own declaration.
There were also air raids on Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 and northern Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 (Bombing of Darwin, 19 February 1942). The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service was the air arm of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, the organization was responsible for the operation of naval aircraft and the conduct of aerial warfare in the Pacific War.It was controlled by the Navy Staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy and...

 used tactical bombing against enemy airfields and military positions, as at Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

. The Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
The , was the land-based aviation force of the Imperial Japanese Army. As with the IJA itself, the IJAAF was developed along the lines of Imperial German Army Aviation so its primary mission was to provide tactical close air support for ground troops while maintaining a limited air interdiction...

 also attacked enemy ships and military installations.
Conventional bombing damage to Japanese cities in WWII
City % area
destroyed
Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

58
Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

51
Toyama
Toyama, Toyama
is the capital city of Toyama Prefecture, Japan, located on the coast of the Sea of Japan in the Chūbu region on central Honshū, about 200 km north of the city of Nagoya and 300 km northwest of Tokyo....

99
Nagoya 40
Osaka
Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

35.1
Nishinomiya 11.9
Shimonoseki 37.6
Kure
Kure, Hiroshima
is a city in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan.As of October 1, 2010, the city has an estimated population of 240,820 and a population density of 681 persons per km². The total area is 353.74 km².- History :...

41.9
Kobe
Kobe
, pronounced , is the fifth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshū, approximately west of Osaka...

55.7
Ōmuta
Omuta, Fukuoka
is a city located in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.As of January 1, 2010, the city has an estimated population of 127,126 and the density of 1,558.87 persons per km²...

35.8
Wakayama 50
Kawasaki
Kawasaki, Kanagawa
is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, between Tokyo and Yokohama. It is the 9th most populated city in Japan and one of the main cities forming the Greater Tokyo Area and Keihin Industrial Area....

36.2
Okayama 68.9
Yahata 21.2
Kagoshima 63.4
Amagasaki 18.9
Sasebo
Sasebo, Nagasaki
is a city located in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. As of 2011, the city has an estimated population of 259,800 and the density of 609 persons per km². The total area is 426.47 km². The locality is famed for its scenic beauty. The city includes a part of Saikai National Park...

41.4
Moji
Moji-ku, Kitakyushu
is a ward of Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. It is the former city of Moji which was one of five cities merged to create Kitakyūshū in 1963. It faces the city of Shimonoseki across the Kanmon Straits between Honshū and Kyūshū....

23.3
Miyakonojō 26.5
Nobeoka 25.2
Miyazaki
Miyazaki, Miyazaki
is the capital city of Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū in Japan. Located on the coast and perforated by several rivers, Miyazaki City enjoys scenic views of both ocean and nearby, verdant mountains...

26.1
Ube
Ube, Yamaguchi
is a city located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan on the Seto Inland Sea.As of 2010, the city has an estimated population of 179,000 and the density of 622 persons per km². The total area is 287.69 km².The city was founded on November 1, 1921....

20.7
Saga
Saga, Saga
is the capital of Saga Prefecture, located on the island of Kyūshū, Japan.Saga was the capital of Saga Domain in the Edo period, and largest city of former Hizen Province....

44.2
Imabari 63.9
Matsuyama 64
Fukui
Fukui, Fukui
is the capital of Fukui Prefecture, Japan. The city is located in the north-central part of the prefecture on the coast of the Sea of Japan.-Demographics:...

86
Tokushima 85.2
Sakai
Sakai, Osaka
is a city in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. It has been one of the largest and most important seaports of Japan since the Medieval era.Following the February 2005 annexation of the town of Mihara, from Minamikawachi District, the city has grown further and is now the fourteenth most populous city in...

48.2
Hachioji 65
Kumamoto 31.2
Isesaki 56.7
Takamatsu
Takamatsu, Kagawa
is a city located in central Kagawa Prefecture on the island of Shikoku in Japan, and is the seat of the prefectural government. It is designated a core city by the Japanese Government. It is a port city located on the Seto Inland Sea, and is the closest port to Honshu from Shikoku island...

67.5
Akashi
Akashi, Hyogo
is a city located in southern Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, on the Seto Inland Sea west of Kobe.As of April 1, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 290,776, with 117,392 households, and a population density of 5,907.68 persons per km²...

50.2
Fukuyama
Fukuyama, Hiroshima
is a city located on the Ashida River in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.As of January 31, 2010, the city has an estimated population of 465,238 and a population density of 898.02 persons per km². The total area is 461.23 km². After Hiroshima City, it is the largest city in Hiroshima Prefecture...

80.9
Aomori
Aomori, Aomori
is the capital city of Aomori Prefecture, in the northern Tōhoku region of Japan. As of 2009, the city had an estimated population of 302,068 and a density of 366 persons per km². Its total area was 824.52 km².- History :...

30
Okazaki
Okazaki, Aichi
is a city located in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. As of August 2011, the city had an estimated population of 373,339 and a population density of 964 persons per km². The total area was 387.24 km².-Geography:...

32.2
Ōita
Oita, Oita
is the capital city of Ōita Prefecture located on the island of Kyushu, Japan.- Demographics and geography :Ōita is the most populous city in Ōita Prefecture...

28.2
Hiratsuka 48.4
Tokuyama 48.3
Yokkaichi
Yokkaichi, Mie
is a city located in Mie, Japan.As of October 1, 2010, the city has an estimated population of 314,393. The total area is 205.53 km².The closest major city is Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture....

33.6
Ujiyamada
Ise, Mie
, formerly called Ujiyamada , is a city located in eastern Mie Prefecture, on the island of Honshū, Japan.Ise is home to Ise Grand Shrine, the most sacred Shintō Shrine in Japan, and is thus a very popular destination for tourists. The city has a long-standing nickname—Shinto —that roughly means...

41.3
Ōgaki
Ogaki, Gifu
is a city located in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. It was incorporated as a city on April 1, 1918. As of July 2011, the city has an estimated population of 160,999 and a total area of .Ōgaki was the final destination for the haiku poet Matsuo Bashō...

39.5
Gifu
Gifu, Gifu
is a city located in the south-central portion of Gifu Prefecture, Japan, and serves as the prefectural capital. The city has played an important role in Japan's history because of its location in the middle of the country. During the Sengoku period, various warlords, including Oda Nobunaga, used...

63.6
Shizuoka
Shizuoka, Shizuoka
is the capital city of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, and the prefecture's second-largest city in terms of both population and area. It became one of Japan's 19 "designated cities" in 2005.-Geography:...

66.1
Himeji 49.4
Fukuoka
Fukuoka, Fukuoka
is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and is situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu in Japan.Voted number 14 in a 2010 poll of the World's Most Livable Cities, Fukuoka is praised for its green spaces in a metropolitan setting. It is the most populous city in Kyushu, followed by...

24.1
Kōchi
Kochi, Kochi
is the capital city of Kōchi Prefecture on Shikoku island of Japan.Kōchi is the main city of the prefecture with over 40% of its population. As of May 31, 2008, the city had an estimated population of 340,515 and a density of...

55.2
Shimizu
Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka
is one of three wards of the city of Shizuoka, in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, located in the eastern part of the city.-Geography:Shimizu is located on the coast of Suruga Bay of the Pacific Ocean and covers a wide area from a coastal plain to the hills...

42
Omura 33.1
Chiba
Chiba, Chiba
is the capital city of Chiba Prefecture, Japan. It is located approximately 40 km east of the center of Tokyo on Tokyo Bay. Chiba City became a government designated city in 1992. Its population as of 2008 is approximately 960,000....

41
Ichinomiya 56.3
Nara
Nara, Nara
is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering Kyoto Prefecture...

69.3
Tsu
Tsu, Mie
is the capital of Mie Prefecture, Japan. The city of Tsu is located on Ise Bay, east of the city. Tsu is bounded to the north by Suzuka and Kameyama; to the west by Iga, Nabari, and Nara Prefecture; and to the south by Matsuzaka city.-History:...

69.3
Kuwana 75
Toyohashi 61.9
Numazu 42.3
Choshi 44.2
Kofu 78.6
Utsunomiya 43.7
Mito
Mito, Ibaraki
is the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan and has a central location, moderately offset towards the coast in that prefecture. As of 2005, the city has an estimated population of 263,748 and a total area is 217.45 km², giving a population density of 1,212.91 persons per km²...

68.9
Sendai 21.9
Tsuruga 65.1
Nagaoka
Nagaoka, Niigata
is a city located in the central part of Niigata Prefecture, Japan. It is the second largest city in the prefecture, behind the capital city of Niigata...

64.9
Hitachi
Hitachi, Ibaraki
is a city located on the Pacific Ocean in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Its name could be directly translated as "sunrise", but probably more appropriately adapted to "prosperous wealth" .-Demographics:...

72
Kumagaya 55.1
Hamamatsu 60.3
Maebashi 64.2

United States strategic bombing of Japan

The United States strategic bombing of Japan took place between 1942 and 1945. In the last seven months of the campaign, a change to firebombing tactics resulted in great destruction of 67 Japanese cities, as many as 500,000 Japanese deaths and some 5 million more made homeless. Emperor Hirohito's viewing of the destroyed areas of Tokyo in March 1945, is said to have been the beginning of his personal involvement in the peace process, culminating in Japan's surrender
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 five months later.

Conventional bombing

The first U.S. raid on the Japanese main island was the Doolittle Raid
Doolittle Raid
The Doolittle Raid, on 18 April 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese Home Islands during World War II. By demonstrating that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, it provided a vital morale boost and opportunity for U.S. retaliation after the...

 of 18 April 1942 when sixteen B-25 Mitchell
B-25 Mitchell
The North American B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. It was used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, as well as many other air forces after the war ended, and saw service across four decades.The B-25 was named...

s were launched from the USS Hornet
USS Hornet (CV-8)
USS Hornet CV-8, the seventh ship to carry the name Hornet, was a of the United States Navy. During World War II in the Pacific Theater, she launched the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and participated in the Battle of Midway and the Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid...

 (CV-8) to attack targets including Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

 and Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

 and then fly on to airfields in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The raids were military pin-pricks, but a significant propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 victory. Launched prematurely, none of the attacking aircraft reached the designated post mission airfields, either crashing or ditching (except for one aircraft, which landed in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, where the crew was interned). Two crews were captured by the Japanese.

The key development for the bombing of Japan was the B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

, which had an operational range of 1,500 miles (2,400 km); almost 90% of the bombs dropped on the home islands of Japan were delivered by this type of bomber (147,000 tons). The first raid by B-29s on Japan
Bombing of Yawata (June 1944)
The Bombing of Yawata on the night of 15/16 June 1944 was the first air raid on the Japanese home islands conducted by United States Army Air Forces strategic bombers during World War II. The raid was undertaken by 75 B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers staging from bases in China...

 from China was on 15 June 1944. The planes took off from Chengdu
Chengdu
Chengdu , formerly transliterated Chengtu, is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status...

, over 1,500 miles away. This first raid was also not particularly damaging to Japan. Only forty-seven of the sixty-eight B–29s that took off hit the target area; four aborted with mechanical problems, four crashed, six jettisoned their bombs because of mechanical difficulties, and others bombed secondary targets or targets of opportunity. Only one B–29 was lost to enemy aircraft. The first raid from the east was on 24 November 1944 when 88 aircraft bombed Tokyo. The bombs were dropped from around 30,000 feet (10,000 m) and it is estimated that only around 10% of the bombs hit designated targets.

The initial raids were carried out by the Twentieth Air Force
Twentieth Air Force
The Twentieth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.20 AF's primary mission is Intercontinental Ballistic Missile operations...

 operating out of mainland China in Operation Matterhorn
Operation Matterhorn
Operation Matterhorn was a military operations plan of the United States Army Air Forces in World War II for the strategic bombing of Japanese forces by B-29 Superfortresses based in India and China. Targets included Japan itself, and Japanese bases in China and South East Asia...

 under XX Bomber Command
XX Bomber Command
The XX Bomber Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Far East Air Forces, based on Okinawa. It was inactivated on July 16, 1945.- History:...

. Initially the Twentieth Air Force was under the command of Hap Arnold, and later Curtis LeMay
Curtis LeMay
Curtis Emerson LeMay was a general in the United States Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of American Independent Party candidate George Wallace in 1968....

. This was never a satisfactory arrangement because not only were the Chinese airbases difficult to supply via - materiel being sent over "the Hump
The Hump
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in...

" from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, but the B-29s operating from them could only reach Japan if they traded some of their bomb load for extra fuel in tanks in the bomb-bays. When Admiral Chester Nimitz
Chester Nimitz
Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz, GCB, USN was a five-star admiral in the United States Navy. He held the dual command of Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet , for U.S. naval forces and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas , for U.S...

's island-hopping campaign captured islands close enough to Japan to be within the range of B-29s, the Twentieth Air Force was assigned to XXI Bomber Command
XXI Bomber Command
The XXI Bomber Command was a unit of the Twentieth Air Force in Guam for strategic bombing during World War II.- Lineage:* Constituted as XXI Bomber Command on 1 Mar 1944, and activated the same day.-Assignments:...

 which organized a much more effective bombing campaign of the Japanese home islands. Based in the Marianas (Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

 and Tinian
Tinian
Tinian is one of the three principal islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.-Geography:Tinian is about 5 miles southwest of its sister island, Saipan, from which it is separated by the Saipan Channel. It has a land area of 39 sq.mi....

 in particular) the B-29s were now able to carry their full bomb loads and were supplied by cargo ships and tankers.

Unlike all other forces in theater, the USAAF Bomber Commands did not report to the commanders of the theaters but directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

. In March 1945, they were placed under the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific which was commanded by General Carl Spaatz
Carl Spaatz
Carl Andrew "Tooey" Spaatz GBE was an American World War II general and the first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He was of German descent.-Early life:...

.

As in Europe, the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 (USAAF) tried daylight precision bombing
Precision bombing
Precision bombing is bombing of a small target with extreme accuracy, to limit side-effect damage. An example would be destroying a single building in a built up area causing minimal damage to the surroundings...

. However, it proved to be impossible due to the weather around Japan, "during the best month for bombing in Japan, visual bombing was possible for [just] seven days. The worst had only one good day." Further, bombs dropped from a great height were tossed about by high winds.

General LeMay, commander of XXI Bomber Command, instead switched to mass firebombing night attacks from altitudes of around 7,000 feet (2,100 m) on the major conurbation
Conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

s. "He looked up the size of the large Japanese cities in the World Almanac and picked his targets accordingly." Priority targets were Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Nagoya, Osaka
Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

, and Kobe
Kobe
, pronounced , is the fifth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshū, approximately west of Osaka...

. Despite limited early success, particularly against Nagoya, LeMay was determined to use such bombing tactics against the vulnerable Japanese cities. Attacks on strategic targets also continued in lower-level daylight raids.

The first successful firebombing
Firebombing
Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs....

 raid was on Kobe
Bombing of Kobe in World War II
On March 17, 1945, 331 American B-29 bombers launched a firebombing attack against the city of Kobe, Japan. Of the city's residents, 8,841 were confirmed to have been killed in the resulting firestorms, which destroyed an area of three square miles and included 21% of Kobe's urban area. At the...

 on 3 February 1945, and following its relative success the USAAF
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 continued the tactic. Nearly half of the principal factories of the city were damaged, and production was reduced by more than half at one of the port's two shipyards.

Much of the armor and defensive weaponry of the bombers was removed to allow increased bomb loads; Japanese air defense in terms of night-fighters and anti-aircraft guns was so feeble it was hardly a risk. The first raid of this type on Tokyo
Bombing of Tokyo in World War II
The bombing of Tokyo, often referred to as a "firebombing", was conducted by the United States Army Air Forces during the Pacific campaigns of World War II. The U.S. mounted a small-scale raid on Tokyo in April 1942, with large morale effects...

 was on the night of 23–24 February when 174 B-29s destroyed around one square mile (3 km²) of the city. Following on that success, as Operation Meetinghouse, 334 B-29s raided on the night of 9–10 March, dropping around 1,700 tons of bombs. Around 16 square miles (41 km²) of the city was destroyed and over 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the fire storm. The destruction and damage was at its worst in the city sections east of the Imperial Palace. It was the most destructive conventional raid, and the deadliest single bombing raid of any kind in terms of lives lost, in all of military aviation history. The city was made primarily of wood and paper, and Japanese firefighting methods were not up to the challenge. The fires burned out of control, boiling canal water and causing entire blocks of buildings to spontaneously combust from the heat. The effects of the Tokyo firebombing proved the fears expressed by Admiral Yamamoto
Isoroku Yamamoto
was a Japanese Naval Marshal General and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II, a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and a student of Harvard University ....

 in 1939: "Japanese cities, being made of wood and paper, would burn very easily. The Army talks big, but if war came and there were large-scale air raids, there's no telling what would happen."

In the following two weeks, there were almost 1,600 further sortie
Sortie
Sortie is a term for deployment or dispatch of one military unit, be it an aircraft, ship, or troops from a strongpoint. The sortie, whether by one or more aircraft or vessels, usually has a specific mission....

s against the four cities, destroying 31 square miles (80 km²) in total at a cost of 22 aircraft. By June, over forty percent of the urban area of Japan's largest six cities (Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, Osaka, Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

, and Kawasaki
Kawasaki, Kanagawa
is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, between Tokyo and Yokohama. It is the 9th most populated city in Japan and one of the main cities forming the Greater Tokyo Area and Keihin Industrial Area....

) was devastated. LeMay's fleet of nearly 600 bombers destroyed tens of smaller cities and manufacturing centers in the following weeks and months.

Leaflets were dropped over cities before they were bombed, warning the people and urging them to escape the city. Though many, even within the Air Force, viewed this as a form of psychological warfare
Psychological warfare
Psychological warfare , or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations , have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda...

, a significant element in the decision to produce and drop them was the desire to assuage American anxieties about the extent of the destruction created by this new war tactic. Warning leaflets were also dropped on cities that were not to be bombed to create uncertainty and absenteeism.

A year after the war, the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

's Strategic Bombing Survey (Pacific War)
Strategic bombing survey (Pacific War)
The "Strategic bombing survey " was a United States Army Air Forces report on the impact of strategic bombing in World War II in the Pacific Campaign.A separate report was made for the atomic attacks.- External links :* *...

 reported that they had underestimated the power of strategic bombing combined with naval blockade and previous military defeats to bring Japan to unconditional surrender without invasion. By July 1945, only a fraction of the planned strategic bombing force had been deployed yet there were few targets left worth the effort. In hindsight, it would have been more effective to use land-based and carrier-based air power to strike against merchant shipping and begin aerial mining at a much earlier date so as to link up with the effective Allied submarine anti-shipping campaign and completely isolate the island nation. This would have accelerated the strangulation of Japan and ended the war sooner. A postwar Naval Ordnance Laboratory
Naval Ordnance Laboratory
The Naval Ordnance Laboratory , now disestablished, formerly located in White Oak, Maryland was the site of considerable work that had practical impact upon world technology. The White Oak site of NOL has now been taken over by the Food and Drug Administration.-History:The U.S...

 survey agreed, finding that naval mines dropped by B-29s had accounted for 60% of all Japanese shipping losses in the last six months of the war. In October 1945, Prince Fumimaro Konoe
Fumimaro Konoe
Prince was a politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Taisei Yokusankai.- Early life :...

 said that the sinking of Japanese vessels by U.S. aircraft combined with the B-29 aerial mining campaign were just as effective as B-29 attacks on industry alone, though he admitted that "the thing that brought about the determination to make peace was the prolonged bombing by the B-29s." Prime Minister Baron Kantarō Suzuki
Kantaro Suzuki
Baron was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, member and final leader of the Taisei Yokusankai and 42nd Prime Minister of Japan from 7 April-17 August 1945.-Early life:...

 reported to U.S. military authorities that it "seemed to me unavoidable that in the long run Japan would be almost destroyed by air attack so that merely on the basis of the B-29s alone I was convinced that Japan should sue for peace."

Nuclear bombing

After six months of intense firebombing of 67 other Japanese cities the United States under President Harry Truman conducted nuclear attacks
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 on the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

.

On 6 August 1945, the "Little Boy
Little Boy
"Little Boy" was the codename of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets of the 393rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, of the United States Army Air Forces. It was the first atomic bomb to be used as a weapon...

" enriched uranium
Enriched uranium
Enriched uranium is a kind of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Natural uranium is 99.284% 238U isotope, with 235U only constituting about 0.711% of its weight...

 nuclear bomb
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 was dropped on the city of Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

, followed on 9 August by the detonation of the "Fat Man
Fat Man
"Fat Man" is the codename for the atomic bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan, by the United States on August 9, 1945. It was the second of the only two nuclear weapons to be used in warfare to date , and its detonation caused the third man-made nuclear explosion. The name also refers more...

" plutonium core nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. To date these are the only uses of nuclear weapons in warfare.

The physical destruction in Hiroshima amounted to 90% of the area, and in Nagasaki 45%. By the end of 1945, as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki were dead from the attacks, roughly half of the residential populations on the days of the bombings. Thousands more have been subsequently killed from injuries or the combined effects of flash burns, trauma, and radiation burns, compounded by illness, malnutrition and radiation sickness. Since then more have died from leukemia and solid cancers attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs. In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians.

On 15 August 1945, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

, signing the Instrument of Surrender
Japanese Instrument of Surrender
The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was the written agreement that enabled the Surrender of Japan, marking the end of World War II. It was signed by representatives from the Empire of Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist...

 on 2 September which officially ended World War II. Furthermore, the experience of bombing led post-war Japan to adopt Three Non-Nuclear Principles
Three Non-Nuclear Principles
Japan's are a parliamentary resolution that have guided Japanese nuclear policy since their inception in the late 1960s, and reflect general public sentiment and national policy since the end of World War II. The tenets state that Japan shall neither possess nor manufacture nuclear weapons, nor...

, which forbade Japan from nuclear armament.

See also

  • Defense of the Reich
    Defense of the Reich
    The Defence of the Reich is the name given to the strategic defensive aerial campaign fought by the Luftwaffe over German occupied Europe and Germany itself during World War II. Its aim was to prevent the destruction of German military and civil industries by the Western Allies...

    , the strategic defensive aerial campaign fought by the German Luftwaffe over Germany and German occupied Europe.
  • Strategic bombing civilian casualties

Further reading

  • Clodfelter, Mark. "Aiming to Break Will: America's World War II Bombing of German Morale and its Ramifications," Journal of Strategic Studies, June 2010, Vol. 33#3 pp 401–435, DOI:10.1080/01402390903189436 }} }} - Spaight was Principal Assistant Secretary of the Air Ministry (U.K)


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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