Sixty-five years ago this week 1200 Flying Fortress bombers of the US 8th Air Force dropped napalm bombs on the last pocket of German troop resistance along the Gironde Estuary and the French town of Royan. Napalm
is a form of jellyfied gasoline which sticks to surfaces such as skin and burns! Howard Zinn was a bombardier in these raids and subsequently wrote extensively on this raid, much of which, with other source material, may now be read on the internet.
I have been researching a book (finally due for publication next month) in this region of France for much of the past year and have been pondering the motives behind this dreadful bombing raid for many months. Within days of the raid Hitler committed suicide and the Russians were already on the brink of obtaining total and unconditional surrender. La Rochelle, just north of Royan, which hosted the U-Boat pens of Karl Dönitz, who succeeded Hitler after his suicide, escaped total destruction by surrendering after the war was over. I have been left with the only logical conclusion as to the motives that the raid was intended to send a message to the German Officer class, along the lines of "look at that of which we are capable, do not mess with us again".
A tough message for free democracies to convey, but a necessary one considering that twice in the preceding thirty odd years the German officer class had unleashed bestiality and brutality across the Continent of Europe on a nowadays, thankfully, almost unimaginable scale.This terror raid was later to be followed with the atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, where I believe the message was also roughly the same. (Napalm had been used with devastating effect on the suburbs of Tokyo the month before, so the effects were already known).
Some may question my conclusion, Howard Zinn suggests it may perhaps have been considerations of promotion in senior Air Force ranks, I doubt that, for such a raid, at such a moment, a political message must have been intended and the raid was thus launched with political intent.
I probably have less problems grasping the motivations as I was born in 1944, and the history is more immediate than it would be to those of a younger age. At sixteen I served in my first oil tanker, the Chief Officer then recounted to me how he had been rescued from the freezing North Atlantic on three separate occasions having been torpedoed by Dönitz's mass murderer U-Boat Commanders, once having been plucked from a sea of blazing gasoline within inches of his life. I suspect that in 1945 he may well have been in agreement with the message the napalm attack on the Royan Pocket conveyed to the Nazi leadership, whose jackboots had lain so long upon the throat of Europe.
To the West of Royan at Berneuil, in the Charente Maritime is the German Cemetry in which lie the graves of 8,342 dead German servicemen. Not all died in the war or its final raids. Some died in mine clearance others untended in a Bordeaux suburb during a post-war cholera epidemic receiving back, no doubt sometimes undeservedly, some of the hatred their comrades in arms had sown. Further west still near Limoges, at Oradour-sur-Glane
642 inhabitants of one village, men, women and children, had been massacred in cold blood by a German Panzer division yet another illustration of the terrible price innocents always must pay when others believe they know what is best and have a better way!
Last weekend, it has been variously reported, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was bounced by the Presidents of France and Italy - Nicolas Sakozy and Silvio Berlusconi respectively, into agreeing to accede to requests to bail out Greece.
Such an action, as has been vigorously argued in Germany throughout the past week, would apparently be contrary to the carefully crafted constitution of the German State. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that the Greek political class appears to be begging for such aid, it would be a disaster should it be provided. (A blog posting regarding the unacceptability of such action, even by the IMF, given the pension disparity between Britain and Greece is linked here
Yesterday the European Commission, issued a Press Release marked "Rapide" demanding Economic Governance for the EU to be run by the unelected Commission and the appointed EU Council President Van Rompuy.
The EU is detested across the union by its own people as has been made clear in referendum after referendum. It is supported mainly by those in its pay or the inner circles of those in power in its former nation states and all their hangers-on. It is widely known as non-democratic and corrupt. Its Parliament is a mass of time-serving, expense gobbling pygmies who consistently regulate in matters they do not understand for want of anything better to do. We cannot allow the EU to impose the views of the economically strongest states on the less economically adept states, as such can only ultimately be imposed by force.
Europe does not want another jackboot on its throat as ALL Europeans must now remember the price to be paid in removing it. Read all there is in the raids on Royan! Consider the German launched missile attacks on Southern England when Germany already faced certain defeat!
This blog begs the good people of Germany and democrats everywhere to work to prevent a subsided, strings attached Eurozone or EU bail-out for Greece or any other of the PIIGS.
Devaluation under IMF control, following Euro withdrawal, can save Greece just as it did for Argentina.
The Euro is not worth saving when despotism is the certain price. The Euro, in fact cannot be saved now anyway, the economic facts are too stark. Therefore throwing away the freedoms of the people of Europe will be thus even more pointless. Instituting economic control across the EU, as demanded by the EU Commission yesterday will require force? They forget they have no consent nor any votes from the citizens of the EU!
Labels: Euro collapse, German Constitutional Court, Napalm