Letter: No vitriol from the bombed

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The Independent Online
PHILLIP Knightley's comment (Letters, 14 August) on the early, chance escalation of the bomber war, is true enough, but let us not forget that Hitler's Luftwaffe had already set the pattern in 1940.

Despite claims that its targets were solely military, the Luftwaffe War Diaries admit that on 25 September 1939 and 14 May 1940, German bombers wiped out civilian areas of Warsaw and Rotterdam respectively, using the excuse that their actions were legitimate because the armed forces of the countries concerned were (impertinently]) trying to defend their cities from the Nazi onslaught.

In fact, the pattern had already been set several years earlier, when the Luftwaffe 'practised' on the defenceless Spanish City of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, killing hundreds of civilians in one air raid.

During the 1940 German invasion of France Luftwaffe fighter pilots used their aircraft's machine-guns and cannon to clear the French roads of helpless refugees so that Hitler's tanks could get through.

I would suggest that this kind of behaviour had already warned us that Hitler's idea of warfare included the word 'total' from the start.

Len Clarke

Uxbridge, Middlesex

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