Oops – sorry!

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, has apologised for the bombing of Dresden. Now, call me an ill-informed historian with a First from Cambridge but I don’t recall Justin Welby being at No. 10 in 1945; neither was he at the Air Ministry or in Bomber Command. So in what sense can he apologize? He didn’t do it! To say he is sorry that it happened is a different proposition; it is not an apology. And I hope to his God that he is equally sorry for the Luftwaffe’s bombing of London, Coventry, Plymouth, Hull and all the other cities flattened by the Nazis 70 years ago – including, I might add, Justin Cantuar’s own city of Canterbury.

Dresden was a beautiful city, but it wasn’t just making lovely porcelain in the days of the Reich; it was a vitally important railway junction through which men and materiel were funneled to continue the German war effort. was Bomber Harris’s attack justified? Millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and millions more living under Nazi occupation would have said a resounding ‘Yes’!

In 1933 the people of Germany (including Dresden) had the chance to resist Hitler – they didn’t, perfectly content to go along with the myth of Aryan supremacy and to tolerate the arrogant obscenities that followed. bleating about the loss of 25,000 people in Dresden is more than a little rich bearing in mind the total casualties in the Second World War. for years, historians referred to this as Hitler’s War. It wasn’t. It was a Nazi war. More than that, it was a German war. The people of Dresden will have to live with that and so will the Archbishop of Canterbury.