Heroes & Villains
printclose

Transcript: Source3

Two drafts of a letter from Churchill on area bombing, 28 March 1945 and 1 April 1945
(Catalogue ref: CAB 120/303)

Source 3a

TOP SECRET
10 Downing Street,
Whitehall.
PRIME MINISTER’S  
PERSONAL TELEGRAM  
SERIAL No D.83/5  
  Resubmitted
GENERAL ISMAY FOR C.O.S. COMMITTEE.

See D.89/5

C.A.S.  
  WITHDRAWN
  See Genl Ismay’s minute
  on 30/3/45 submitting
  a redraft of
  this of 30/3

It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land. We shall not, for instance, be able to get housing materials out of Germany for our own needs because some temporary provision would have to be made for the Germans themselves. The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforth be more strictly studied in our own interests rather than that of the enemy.

The Foreign Secretary has spoken to me on this subject, and I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives, such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.

Source 3b

28.3.45
TOP SECRET
10 Downing Street,
Whitehall.
PRIME MINISTER’S  
PERSONAL MINUTE  
SERIAL No D.89/5  
   
GENERAL ISMAY FOR C.O.S. COMMITTEE.

 

C.A.S. (copy sent)  
   
It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of the so called “area bombing” of German cities should be reviewed from the point of view of our own interests. If we come into control of an entirely ruined land, there will be a great shortage of accommodation for ourselves and our Allies: and we shall be unable to get housing materials out of Germany for our own needs because some temporary provision would have to be made for the Germans themselves. We must see to it that our attacks do not do more harm to ourselves in the long run than they do to the enemy’s immediate war effort. Pray let me have your views.

W.S.C.
1.4.45