Arthur Harris Notes

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Title

Arthur Harris Notes

Description

Notes written by Arthur Harris to Hamish Mahaddie about Bomber Command. Included is a signed photograph of Arthur T Harris.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Contributor

Lesley Wain

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This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

One photograph and two typewritten sheets

Language

Identifier

MNealeETH1395951-150731-0850001,
MNealeETH1395951-150731-0850002,
MNealeETH1395951-150731-0850003

Transcription

[photograph]
For Hamish who found the way to Victory. [indecipherable date]
[page break]
[underlined] BEFORE EMBARKING ON A LECTURE TOUR OF THE OZ/NZ [Australia/New Zealand] SOME YEARS AGO I WROTE TO BOMBER HARRIS ASKING HIM TO GIVE ME A COUPLE OF SENTENCES OF INTRODUCTION FOR MY SPEECHES – THE FOLLOWING WAS HIS REPLY. [/underlined]
Persuading Hamish Mahaddie to revert to his wartime Pathfinder role on my behalf during his present itinerary, I welcome this opportunity to send my greetings and very warmest regards to all Bomber Command Old Lags, Aborigines, Maoris, and Whatevers [sic] or Whatareyou’s [sic]. Not forgetting that 40% of Bomber Aircrew and 49% of Bomber Pilots came to our aid from the Dominions and Colonies mainly as volunteers. I would assure them all, if they still need any such assurance, that their wartime efforts were the major cause of the enemy’s defeat in the Air, on Land, and at Sea. If you want incontrovertible proof of that statement you can now read it repeated over and over again in the statements of Adolf Hitler, Geobbels [sic] and Albert Speer in the Goebbels Diaries and Albert Speer’s two books: not to mention Monty [Field Marshal Montgomery] taking the opportunity of vast public banquets in London and Cape Town publicly to assert that “the Bomber did more than anyone to win the war”. Rommel, Germany’s best General, informed his superiors, once our invasion had got well established ashore in France “Stop the bombers or we can’t win. All we can gain by going on is the loss of another city every night. If we have the Atom Bomb, drop it, or make [deleted] the [/deleted] peace”, but they couldn’t stop the bombing and they hadn’t got the Atom Bomb because Hitler turned down the idea of producing one [deleted] because he said [/deleted] [inserted] SAYING THAT [/inserted] it was all “Jew Science”, and you know what happened to Rommel for speaking the truth!
General Sepp Dietrich commanding the armoured spearhead of the Ardennes breakthrough, on which the success of that whole final enemy offensive had depended, held up at Bastogne, as [inserted] SO CALLED [/inserted] “history” relates, by an American General who, when called upon to surrender, replied with a mild four letter word which it seems so shocked those tough and so nearly victorious soldier [deleted] s [/deleted] [inserted] Y [/inserted], that they gave up, burst into tears, and went back home to complain to Mother about that “rude man” – or so [inserted] “ [/inserted] history [inserted] ” [/inserted] infers!
However, when Hitler’s urgent messenger Albert Speer reached Sepp Dietrich’s Headquarters and said “the Fuehrer’s orders are that you must not stop you must go on at all costs”, Sepp Dietrich replied, “Go on! How can we go on? We have no ammunition left and all our supply lines have been cut by air attack”.
In the atrocious weather during those critical few days and nights only the night Bombers of Bomber Command were in continuous action, or at times at all. Tedder [Arthur William Tedder,] refers to that work of the Bombers in his book as “beyond praise”. Eisenhower said, in writing “Godammit they have achieved the impossible” and Sepp Dietrich confirmed it to Albert Speer that night “as they listened to the continuous roar of heavy four-engined bombers overhead in the dark and mist” by saying “people don’t realise that not even the best troops can stand up to this heavy bombing! After an experience of it they lose all fighting spirit”. (The Medicos call that shell-shock [sic]). The General who surrendered Boulogne with 8,000 fit men also confirmed that [inserted] , [/inserted] by writing in his Diary which was captured with him, “Can anyone survive when a carpet of bombs has fallen? One is driven to despair when at the mercy of the R.A.F. without defence. All our fighting seems hopeless, all our causalities in vain”. Eisenhower also described Bomber Command as “one of the most effective parts of his whole organisation, always seeking new ways of using their types of aircraft to help the Armies forward”.
As for Goebbels, he and Albert Speer repeatedly assert in their writings that the strategic bombing was “the cause of all our set backs [sic]” and Speer further asserts in writing that all the Allied War Books he has read miss that obvious fact and conclusion. He refers to the Strategic Bombing as, for German [deleted] s [/deleted] [inserted] Y [/inserted], “The greatest lost Battle of all”.
[page break]
The bombing destroyed and/or contracepted hundreds more submarines and small war craft and more capital ships than the Navy. It also annihilated the enemy merchant fleet on which their heavy war industries depended for the import of essential Scandinavian Ores. In the Air, bombing prevented the Germans from ever building up a worthwhile bombing force and made them concentrate almost entirely on the production of fighters and the training of day and night fighter pilots in a despairing effort, which failed, to protect the Fatherland.
The Anti-Aircraft defence of Germany, which failed to deter you Old Lags, deprived the German armies on all fronts of [inserted] 20,000 [/inserted] guns (i.e. half their vitally needed Anti-tank – Anti/Aircraft guns) and the 900,000 fit men needed to man those guns in Germany, men who would otherwise have manned those essential Anti/tank weapons on every enemy front, a major cause of the German armies’ defeat on every front. Railway repairs to bomb damage kept another 80,000 fit skilled men fully employed in Germany and thousands more for repairs to bomb damage to essential war industries. All of those men, but for the bomber offensive, would have been additional highly skilled soldiers in the German armies in the field.
Speer also states that it was the very heavy R.A.F. Bombs that did the “irreparable damage” to industrial plants and he has also expressed his astonishment at the extraordinary and ever [deleted] y [/deleted] increasing accuracy of the R.A.F. bombers on such small targets [deleted] such [/deleted] as Benzole Plants, sometimes bombed blind through thousands of feet of cloud, during the final stages of the war.
[deleted] The [/deleted] [inserted] OUR [/inserted] official history describes the result of the Bombing of Berlin as “not a failure, but a defeat”. [insert] BUT before any Allied soldier got within 50 miles of Berlin the Central Government of Germany had been virtually reduced by that bombing to two Maniacs – Hitler and Goebbels – cowering deep underground beneath the widespread ruin of the Capital City, issuing voluminous orders to practically phantom Armies which either no longer existed or were in such position and conditions as to make obedience to such orders impossible.
Meanwile [sic] those two Maniacs were testing poison pills on a dog, to see if they would suit their purpose, which they shortly carried out, of murdering their own wives and children and committing suicide!
If London and the top Government of England had been reduced by German bombing to similar conditions and, say, Winston Churchill and Brendan Bracken to the same position, state and intentions (which is of course inconceivable), I wonder if any German Official History would describe that bombing as “not a failure, but a defeat!” I leave that to your Judgment; and to the verdict of real History.
Take my tip, and get those Goebbels and Speers books and, when your grandchildren ask you what you did in the Great War, tell them to read them. [insert] & they’ll get the true facts! [/insert]
My warmest regards to you all,
Arthur. T. Harris
MRAF
Arthur T Harris
MRAF

Collection

Citation

Arthur Harris, “Arthur Harris Notes,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 28, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/16420.

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