Today seems to be quite the day for anniversaries! Not only is this day, the 13th of February 2020, the half-century anniversary of Black Sabbath’s self-titled album—and, by extension, the whole heavy metal genre—it’s also the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, one of the least salutary acts in the Conflict Without Heroes otherwise known as World War II (or “the good war” by those with a blind belief in the victors who wrote the history books). With the latter in mind, here’s a resharable repost of a searing ‘n’ savage 2016 piece by Affirmative Right co-editor and permazucked Facebook thoughtcriminal Andy Nowicki, castigating the celebrators of said civilian conflagration. Enjoy!
by Andy Nowicki
I couldn’t possibly add anything to Colin’s excellent summation of the Allied atrocity of the firebombing of Dresden, Germany at the tail end of World War II. This premeditatedly murderous attack on innocent and helpless men, women, and children—overwhelmingly civilians who had nothing to do with the German armament effort—was certainly one of the most grievous war crimes ever committed in human history.
We hear little about it today, because history is recorded by the victors, and it was the Allies, the eventual winners of the world’s most recent global conflagration—in the specific form of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force—who were responsible for raining down an unrelenting barrage of incendiaries upon a populous city center in eastern Germany on February 13 and 14, 1945, incinerating tens of thousands and maiming thousands more in a planned terror campaign of untrammeled brutality.
The perpetrators of this act never had to stand in the dock for their shared offense. Instead, from “Bomber Harris” on down, they were obscenely lauded and outrageously honored for their aerial depredations. Such, unfortunately, is the way things tend to fall out following the cessation of a conflict—to the victors go not only the spoils, but also the exclusive privilege to define what constitutes a war crime and what doesn’t.
Unfortunately, all events become “political” eventually. That is to say, they come to matter less for what actually took place, and more for what they signify—less for reality and more for symbolism. Today, the decimation of Dresden by the RAF has resonance for two main types of people:
1) Those who primarily see it as a travesty against humanity.
2) Those who mainly view it as a decisive, humiliating defeat for Germany.
The people in the second group above can be further broken down into (a) those who are outraged about the firebombing of Dresden because they wish that Germany had won the war, and (b) those who are copacetic or even happy about the firebombing of Dresden because they are glad that Germany lost the war.
What is essential to understand is that these two subgroups are in fact alike at essence, even though they seem to be diametrically opposed to one another. The ones who decry Dresden for partisan reasons would likely not give a second thought to the perpetration of an identical atrocity, were it carried out by the Luftwaffe, rather than the RAF. They probably aren’t terribly bent out of shape about various nasty things German forces did to civilians on the Eastern front, nor are they inclined to mourn the numerous victims of the German Blitz in England five years prior to the RAF’s bombardment of Dresden. Their “Oh the humanity” response to the devastation of Dresden is thus tainted with obvious cant and hypocrisy.
However, it should go without saying that the “antifa” jackasses who make Dresden into a punch-line to “troll” Nazi sympathizers are equally as barren of principle. They would certainly get into a snit were the Nazi sympathizers in question to mock the Warsaw uprising, Treblinka, or Auschwitz. They would, in fact, demand that such offenders be fined, jailed, or at very least, fired from their jobs. Yet they feel free to chortle and sneer about the innocent blood shed in Dresden, and they expect and demand utter impunity in doing so. Some atrocities are worthy of being made into jokes, while others are too sacrosanct even to be questioned.
It is not of interest to me here to remark too much upon the partisan mindset, except to note that, taken to its logical extreme, holding overtly partisan inclinations tends to constrain one from being able to mourn any injustice done to one’s own side in good faith, given that it would reflexively justify an equal or worse injustice perpetrated against one’s enemy. Thus, hyper-partisanism makes one uniquely vulnerable to cant, humbug, and self-serving hypocrisy. When his side is abused, the partisan weeps crocodile tears and denounces it as a hideous injustice, but when equal or worse offenses are committed by his side against his adversary, he displays an especial eagerness to rationalize and employ defensive, obfuscating rhetoric, thus rendering him a disingenuous tool.
If one removes one’s partisan blinders, however, one cannot escape noticing that World War II was little more than a massive campaign of unremitting carnage and horror, regardless of whose side you took in the affair. Paleocons, isolationist Buchananites, anti-welfare/warfare state libertarians, and other contemporary intellectual dissidents have often pointed out that, contrary to the rah-rah triumphalism trumpeted by both the mainstream right and left, the outcome of the war was in fact deeply deleterious to much of the world, particularly Eastern Europe, which was immediately subsumed by Stalin and reduced to Soviet helotry following Churchill and Roosevelt’s skullduggery, betrayal, and capitulation at the Yalta Conference.
But it must be added, as a counterweight to such observations, that a National Socialist victory would also have had similarly dire results for much of the population of Europe. In the post-war world, a man like Alexander Solzhenitsyn emerged as a gusty and courageous witness against the pathological tyranny of Bolshevism, but no less righteous were such stalwarts against Hitlerian totalitarianism as Claus von Stauffenberg and Hans and Sophie Scholl. If we overemphasize one gross, ghastly form of oppression at the expense of the other, we do the victims of each bloody regime a disservice.
The fact that, after six years of fierce conflict and enormous loss of human life, one form of monstrously inhuman tyranny won over the other isn’t a circumstance fit to be celebrated. Then again, neither is it a reason to pine for an alternate reality in which the other form of monstrously inhuman tyranny were the one to have prevailed. Better, in fact, to wish that Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism could simply have perished together, spent and lifeless in one another’s arms like depraved, sadistic lovers, each having fucked the other to death.
But such poetic justice seldom occurs on this side of paradise. And the ongoing whitewashing of holocausts and horrors like Dresden are testimony to the endurance of evil in our deeply fallen world.