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Why wasn't Auschwitz bombed Should the Allies have bombed Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944/45 - Essay Example

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The American and British Premiers, Roosevelt and Churchill and the allied forces under their command had believed that the cruel German extermination acts against Jews in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Birkenau by Nazis could be ended only by a military victory using ground troops (Murray and Millet 2000, 375). …
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Why wasnt Auschwitz bombed Should the Allies have bombed Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944/45
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The American and British Premiers, Roosevelt and Churchill and the allied forces under their command had believed that the cruel German extermination acts against Jews in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Birkenau by Nazis could be ended only by a military victory using ground troops (Murray and Millet 2000, 375). The allies had refused to bomb the camps and rail lines that went to Auschwitz (Murray and Millet 2000, 575). This was even after acquiring enough evidence to show that mass extermination of Jews was taking place in Auschwitz concentration camp and Birkenau labor camp as is shown in the summary of the Auschwitz escapees report published in the website, PBS. This was the summary of the Auschwitz escapees report by Gerhart Riegner, to World Jewish Congress, Geneva, which was originally sent under cover of R.E. Shoenfeld, U.S. charge to Czech government in London, to Cordell Hull, Secretary of State in July 5, 1944. In this report, there was a clear description of how Jews were being killed in thousands of numbers everyday in these camps and there were also suggestions to the allied forces that these camps be bombed. The report had also reminded the allied forces that it was easy to spot the crematoria in both the camps from air and they were thus easy targets for bombing. Even before that, in 1940, Witold Pilecki had voluntarily become a prisoner in Auschwitz and had sent reports of the atrocities he saw there to the headquarters of Polish resistance in Warsaw (Garlinski 1975, 55). The allies also got this information. As Fox News reported on January 11, 2008, George Bush at the time of his American Presidentship, had opined that the Allied forces should have bombed Auschwitz death camp to stop the racial genocide of Jews. From all these historical and current resources, today it can be concluded from a humanitarian angle that the allies must have bombed at least the railway lines to Auschwitz and Birkenau to prevent the refugee transport. It was necessary and it was possible. But as has been exhibited on the website, PBS, the military data of allied forces suggest that, the policy of the allied forces was, “military forces, units or individuals will not be used in rescuing refugees except insofar as these rescues may result from planned military operations conducted to defeat the Axis military.” Again, the website, PBS, reveal that on November 18, 1944, John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, had explained to John W. Pehle, Director, War Refugee Board, that the War Department cannot authorize the bombing of Auschwitz, because of the following reasons: a. Positive destruction of these camps would necessitate precision bombing, employing heavy or medium bombardment, or attack by low flying or dive bombing aircraft, preferably the latter. b. The target is beyond the maximum range of medium bombardment, dive bombers and fighter bombers located in United Kingdom, France or Italy. c. Use of heavy bombardment from United Kingdom bases would necessitate a hazardous round trip flight unescorted of approximately 2,000 miles over enemy territory. d. At the present critical stage of the war in Europe, our strategic air forces are engaged in the destruction of industrial target systems vital to the dwindling war potential of the enemy, from which they should not be diverted. The positive solution to this problem is the earliest possible victory over Germany, to which end we should exert our entire means. e. This case does not at all parallel the Amiens mission because of the location of the concentration and extermination camps and the resulting difficulties encountered in attempting to carry out the proposed bombing. From the discussion above, it can be argued that if the allied forces had bombed the camps directly, it would have caused high casualties among the prisoners as well. But precision bombing was a developed skill by that time and this would have been a feasible option. Also bombing of the railway lines must have been an option that was worth considering, at least reducing the number of Jews being exterminated. References Murray, Williamson and Allan R. Millett. 2000. A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Fox News. January 11, 2008. "Bush Pushes Peace in Kuwait, Says U.S. Should Have Bombed WWII Death Camp". Accessed January 27, 2011. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,321932,00.html PBS. N.d. “American Experience”. Accessed January 27, 2011. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/holocaust/filmmore/reference/primary/bombsummary.html Garlinski, Jozef. 1975. Fighting Auschwitz: The Resistance Movement in the Concentration Camp, Minnesota: Fawcett. Read More
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