War Museum’s Portrayal of Bombings in Germany

September 10, 2007
Letter to The Editor
Ottawa Citizen
1101 Baxter Road,
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3M4

Dear Editor:

If someone wishes to rewrite history on the controversy between the war veterans and the historians concerning the saturated bombings in Germany, let’s add another dimension to war the institution of mass murder.

If we fail to take the Socratic approach of asking questions in seeking the truth, how are we to learn from past mistakes?  How are we to stop the deception of governments, their politicians and generals who through the mechanisms of fear and censorship invent an enemy and at the same time arm themselves against a whole nation? 

The great Russian writer and humanitarian Lev N. Tolstoy (1828-1910) once penned the wisdom of the ages. He wrote: ‘According to human law (or God’s law) we recognize all peoples as brethren.’ Is that not so? The casualties of war are the soldiers the young men and women in their prime as well as the innocent civilians countless men, women and children. Politicians ought to take responsibility for their actions because they are the ones who order pilots and soldiers to go to battle and kill.

Let’s not tamper with the Canadian War Museum’s description of Dresden in the 1940s. The curators and historians were correct in revealing the facts. Bombers and troops kill. War is bloody murder! The role of museums is to provoke critical thinking without the subjective intervention of interest groups. Remember that after Dresden, we had the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The central historical question is one of morality. Politicians are the ones who give orders to kill and the decision to go to war. As citizens, we must persistently act against this uncivilized behaviour. We must work to create the conditions that take away the occasion for wars.

Koozma J. Tarasoff
Ottawa, Ontario

Note: The controversial panel in the debate is as follows: ‘Bomber Command’s aim was to crush civilian morale and force Germany to surrender by destroying its cities and industrial installations. Although Bomber Command and American attacks left 600,000 Germans dead and more than five million homeless, the raids resulted in only small reductions of German war productions until late in the war.’
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