During the first three years or so of German occupation, life was bearable. Only when Hitler suffered defeats and came under pressures from outside did he put on the screws. He rounded up all Dutch Jews - eventually killing more than 80 per cent of them - introduced curfews, killed innocent citizens in retaliation for underground activities and deprived us of food, leading to starvation. Likewise, Milosevic started his real ethnic cleansing and genocide when he came under outside military pressure (Nato bombing).
We always realised that our oppression could only be resolved by ground troops and at times looked over our shoulders for possible liberation by the Russians. Air raids on German towns were irrelevant to us.
There were embarrassing errors. After the Arnhem failure the two bridges across the river in my home town, Deventer, became strategically important and were subjected to a number of bombing raids. Allied bombs went astray, killing some 200 citizens.
War knows no morals or justice. But if we had stuck to rigidly high moral principles, then I might now possibly still live under Hitler's occupation.
W A van TONGEREN
Herne Bay, Kent