The lowest possible stake

By 1942, Bomber Command was committed to area bombing and the British Government was committed to fulfilling the vast resources demanded by the RAF.

Churchill supported the offensive but now had a limited strategic faith in these attacks.

Why did he persist?

Hastings writes:

“ far the most convincing reason is that the Prime Minister had already become determined to postpone the opening of a Second Front in Europe until the last possible hour… Churchill never shared the airmen’s faith that the bomber offensive could eliminate the need for a land campaign to defeat the enemy. But the bombers could enable the western Allies to delay aggressively, while Russia fought out the huge battles that broke the Wehrmacht…Neither the Russians nor the Americans could be flatly told that the British proposed to fight no campaign in Europe for years to come…Bomber Command’s 56, 000 dead represented, at the end, the lowest possible stake that Britain could be seen to throw on the tables of Europe, when the Russians were counting their dead in millions. The strategic air offensive might thus be interpreted as the greatest panacea of all.” (169-170)


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