The London statue of Bomber Command leader Sir Arthur Harris was reviewed by the charity after appearing on a hit list of statues following Black Lives Matter protests.
Harris’s bombing campaign against Nazi Germany has been decried as a “war crime”, according to information produced by the charity in March 2021.
New material on his statue outside the dedicated RAF church St Clement Danes on the Strand also outlines his involvement in colonial conflicts in Pakistan and Iraq.
In other words, National Socialist Germany is understood to have been on the same side as Pakistan and Iraq (ie. victims of Western colonialism), which is what we have been saying all along).
To defend the British colonial territory, the RAF devised a new form of frontier warfare, which its strategists called “air policing.”
“In warfare against savage tribes who do not conform to codes of civilized warfare[,] aerial bombardment is not necessarily limited in its methods or objectives by rules agreed upon in international law.”
The air directive recommended that on the specified date, strikes be conducted immediately, “to ensure the greatest concentration of men and animals around the village.” The bombs should therefore be “man-killing,” and machine guns were to be fired against any movement. “Incendiary bombs should be used for good effect against villages and crops.”
How these strategies would affect the population was predicted in the directive as well. “The enemy will as the result of such measures feel insecure at all times; men must hide in caves…cattle if not driven into caves must be grazed in small bunches at great labour…tillage of fields must cease….”
the surviving diaries and letters of pilots in the RAF squadrons indicate that the airmen managed to enjoy the gentleman’s life, even amid the mayhem of the frontier. G.M. Knocker, who spent 1918 to 1922 in India, recounted in his diary a jolly life with darts, dances (“only eight girls” at one), a bearer—personal servant—to attend his daily baths and press his uniforms, soccer and rugby games, and lots of “afternoon snoozes.” Wing Commander D.L. Allen, who flew DH.9A light day bombers and Bristol Fighters out of Risalpur from 1927 to 1929, wrote of Sunday afternoon tennis parties, “good hockey and football grounds, tennis and squash courts, polo, picnics and dances for all ranks.” Being stationed at a larger base, he had a better chance than Knocker did at female companionship: “there were usually some 70 eligible young women staying with relatives and friends, termed irreverently, the Fishing Fleet,” he wrote. “They were always in demand for dances and parties.”
Bombing operations prevented the watering of livestock and thwarted the plowing or harvesting of crops, according to Waging War in Waziristan: The British Struggle in the Land of Bin Laden, 1849–1947, a book recently published by Andrew M. Roe. For the first 10 days of March 1937, Pilot Officer A.M.A. Birch, also flying Westland Wapitis, flew several missions of “convoy escort,” or “road recce to Jandola,” often from 8,000 feet, all the while fully loaded with bombs. Later he pasted a photo in his logbook captioned “20-pound bombs bursting among cattle in Razmak area.”
The end of World War One left Britain and France in command of the Middle East – as the defeated Ottoman Empire fell apart. The allies then carved up the region with a series of “mandates”.
A new way of controlling Iraq was needed, and the man who needed it most was Winston Churchill. As war secretary in Lloyd George’s coalition government, Churchill had to square huge military budget cuts with British determination to maintain a grip on its mandate in Iraq.
The result became known as “aerial policing”. It was a policy Churchill had first mused on in the House of Commons in March 1920, before the Iraqi uprising had even begun.
There was apparently little debate about the morality of bombing.
One of the RAF squadron leaders in Iraq was Arthur Harris – who in 1942 assumed the leadership of RAF Bomber Command. Several of his senior officers in Bomber Command had served in the same squadron.
For Harris, what was true of Iraq was true of Germany.
It goes without saying that, for the IDF (which is practicing aerial policing as we speak), the same is true for Palestine.
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This comes after his statue was added in 2020 to the Topple the Racists website listing monuments that should fall for connections to slavery and colonialism, with campaigners claiming Harris was a “colonial warmonger”.
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Harris, sometimes known as “Butcher Harris”, became a controversial figure even before the war ended and his statue was protested and tagged with the word “Shame” after it was unveiled by the Queen Mother in 1992.
There have long been calls in Germany for an official apology for the UK’s Second World War bombing campaign.
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there is by now really no reason for any anti-colonialist to not be a fan of Hitler.