William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

CANADIAN WAR MEMORIAL BERATES OUR BOMBER COMMAND

Vic Rabinovitch and Joe Geurts they are at it once again
making terrible disparaging remarks against our fighting men
I doubt either has ever dodged a rocket, that wasn’t written!
They seem to continue with their book learning poison pen

The war museum should honour our troops, not tell lies
about false VD stats about our Korean War guys
Tell the truth about the London Blitz, and the killing of the Jews.
The museum is run by civvies that have book learning Liberal views!

The time has come now obviously that these guys be brought to task.
Shouldn’t the museum be run by real veterans? Or is that too much to ask?
Certainly we have some retired Officers who could expertly run this place
the present continued running down of veterans is a constant bloody disgrace!

In A Time Of War, Action Brings Reaction
Re: “Legion wrong on bombing exhibit: March 16”

Don Martin’s article is correct in that we fought for “freedom of speech” however there are appropriate places to exercise it.

A plaque at the War Museum is not the place to indicate we airmen were involved in something that was immoral.

Sure, I understand that killing civilians is terrible, but then war is immoral.

What we airmen don’t understand is why air-crew operations are being singled out because many other actions in the war also were certainly immoral.

The atrocities Germany was involved in prior to and during the war were too numerous to count. Of course we had to fight back with everything we could muster up.

My wife was bombed out in London and lost everything.

Her whole street and surrounding area was levelled with dead and wounded everywhere. The carnage was horrific.

Does anyone think we were going to sit back and take that sort of thing?

Things that take place during war are too horrible to imagine.

Action causes reaction and that is what happened in our bombing of Germany.

London and many cities in England plus those in Europe got the stuffing kicked out of them by German bombers.

Yes, Germany got it back in spades and I for one, who was a bomb aimer (33 missions), am proud to say I was there to help England give it back to Germany.

Ted Bowles.
Victoria

Senate Panel To Look Into Exhibit That Irked Veterans

BY RANDY ROSWELL
Can West News Service

A war of words over Canada’s role in the bombing of German cities during the Second World War will move to Parliament Hill after a Senate committee on veterans’ issues agreed to calls from the Royal Canadian Legion to host hearings on a contentious exhibit at the Canadian War Museum.

The display, which notes critics have questioned the “value and morality” of the Allied bombing campaign in Nazi Germany, has sparked outrage among some veterans and prompted the legion to urge a public boycott of the Ottawa museum until the disputed wording is changed or removed.

A single panel at the heart of the conflict describes the “enduring controversy” over the role of Canadian bombing squadrons in attacking Germany’s industrial infrastructure and major cities. It was part of an Allied strategy to destroy the enemy’s morale and cripple the Nazi war machine.

“Mass bomber raids against Germany resulted in vast destruction and heavy loss of life,” the panel reads.

“The value and morality of the strategic bomber offensive against Germany remains bitterly contested. 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 in German war production until late in the war.”

The museum has defended its exhibit, arguing the actions of Bomber Command have been debated for decades and that raising questions about the conduct of the 1939-1945 war is part of what historians should do.

A review of the exhibit by four of Canada’s leading historians yielded concerns from two about the tone and content of the display, but museum officials decided last month not to alter the panel’s text or change adjacent pictures of destroyed German cities.

The legion then urged the Senate subcommittee on veterans’ affairs to investigate the issue.

That plea recalled the early-1990s uproar over the CBC documentary The Valour and The Horror, which led to a controversial Senate report in 1993 criticizing the filmmakers and the public broadcaster for an “inaccurate” and “biased” depiction of the Allies’ air offensive.

Senate spokeswoman Keli Hogan said Tuesday the committee members — Liberals Joseph Day and Colin Kenney and Conservative Norman Atkins — have decided they’ll conduct hearings on the museum controversy, but have not yet scheduled the dates or determined who will be invited to present arguments.

Legion spokesman Bob Butt told Can-West News Service the veterans’ group is pleased with the committee’s decision and hopes the Senate’s involvement will lead to the removal of the offending panel.

Museum spokesman Pierre Leduc said officials there look forward to participating in the Senate hearings.

“No display is immune to errors or beyond reasonable critique, and we have welcomed every comment on our treatment of strategic bombing:’ Dean Oliver, the museum’s director of exhibitions, argued recently in the Ottawa Citizen.

“No display has ever been designed as an intentional affront to veterans, or to any other group however, and no display ever will be. We try to be as clear, comprehensive and uncensored as space, resources and visitor sensitivities will allow.”

But some veterans have argued the panel’s wording implies Canadians involved in the bombing were “war criminals.’ In urging a boycott of the museum, the legion described the “enduring controversy” display as “insensitive and not factual, given the experiences of the people who were involved.”

The War Museum Needs Balanced Look At Bombing

My thoughts as a Lancaster navigator veteran of Bomber Command parallel those of Art Smith as described in “Legion wrong on bombing exhibit” by Don Martin.

I outlined similar views in my book Been There, Done That: Through Treacherous Skies, in relation to the CBC presentation on the Nuremberg raid.

In 2006 I suggested that the museum problem could be resolved by adding a plaque in advance of the offending one to give some strategic context for the bombing of German cities in the Second World War.

It is at present not a balanced presentation. One should not condemn one side in a conflict without condemning the other.

The Allies and the Nazis were engaged in total war and morality largely ceased to be a consideration in 1939.

It must also be considered just how close the Allies came to losing the war while waiting for the Americans to make up their minds to fully join in.

While we waited, the only offensive force that could take on the Nazis was Bomber Command.

Without the sapping of Nazi strength by Bomber Command, as accepted by Albert Speer, German minister of armament and munitions, could D-Day have been successful and could the Allies have won the war?

Ron Butcher, DFC, CD
Victoria