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LucidElement

Why Didnt The Allies Bomb Auschwitz?

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LucidElement

Hello All,

I was watching a special on PBS last night called Secrets of the Dead: Bombing Auschwitz (Premiered last night for an hour) it was pretty interesting. I actually didnt get to finish the last half (will tonight).

This has always been a question that has been heavily debated over the 20th century.

For those who did not get to see it, there is some talk of the episode in this link here https://www.livescience.com/bombing-auschwitz-wwii-pbs.html

A qoute I would like to discuss from the article states  "You would need to drop 220 bombs on each of the four crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau to have a 90% chance of one of them hitting each crematorium,"  &&& " and a raid could have killed far more prisoners than it saved"

I find it interesting that the allies would not launch a raid on Auschwitz due to the fear of the amount of casualties. But on the flip side, if the Allies bombed Auschwitz, prisoners would die regardless. Furthermore, by raiding or bombing it would stop the progression of future prisoners and killings at that camp. Sure there were others, but that would be a MAJOR blow to the Nazi war machine.

It goes on to talk about how "There was a fear that Americans would support the war effort less if they thought it was war about the Jews,"  This was due to heavy propaganda from Germany, the rise of the KKK , Henry Ford etc. However, I have a hard time believing that the majority of the U.S & U.K etc would support the war less if it were about Jews. Madison Square Garden held the German American Bund rally's in which all were in support of Nazism Policy & Beliefs. But outside of that, its hard to grasp that Americans would turn against the Jews as a whole.

There was talk about bombing the crematoriums which at the time it turns out that bombing accuracy was not all that accurate which is why the number was 220 bombs (to my knowledge) however, why not just bomb the railroad tracks leading into the camp? That would stop future cattle trains importing these unlucky individuals to there demise.

I just wanted to bring this up because I find it interesting to hear the Pros & Cons of others on this topic.

All and All, i think if they would have bombed Auschwitz it would have stopped future murders of many many many more individuals. Its sad to think about the possible collateral damage that would come of it, but sometimes negative actions spark a positive. There would be a lot of negative backlash carrying an operation out like that, especially to the majority of Americans who had no idea what Auschwitz was (even as the US Government was finding out). I am not sure however, if the Allies shared the information about what was transpiring with the German death camps to the US Public, or if the Allies sat on the classified information until they figured out what their next move should be.

Let me know your thoughts on this subject as im sure you've talked about it before in the past.

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and then

Raids into Germany were very costly in men and machines.  During the first couple of years of the war, it was nearly impossible for a single air crew member to achieve the 25 total missions they were required to complete.  Tens of thousands of airmen died on those missions and the deeper they had to penetrate into Germany, the higher that number rose.  Put bluntly, the Jews in the camps simply weren't a priority worth those losses.  We bombed railroads and terminals and the Germans just used slave labor to rebuild them in a short time.  The real, ugly truth is that no one WANTED to "know" what was happening to the Jews and others in those camps.  Once allied troops came face to face with those horrors, it couldn't be ignored any longer.

That kind of evil usually begins with political types who think "Gulags aren't as bad as they're said to be" <_<

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Not A Rockstar
8 minutes ago, LucidElement said:

Let me know your thoughts on this subject as im sure you've talked about it before in the past.

No, actually, it never crossed my mind before. Personally, I would never knowingly attack a POW facility and risk causing more suffering to them, especially as messed up as the Nazi's were. I mean I think it was in Belgium that one guy said something the Regime didn't like so they loaded up a trainload from their people with any connection to Judaism and gassed the lot on arrival. 

But, the truth THEN is that I don't think anyone had a real clear idea how ghastly it was until they were close to liberation. 

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and then

If you're interested in a real background of what airmen faced, there is a book that will make you appreciate the horrors of it all:

MASTERS OF THE AIR by Donald L Miller

Apparently, Apple TV is making a series about these exploits of the U.S.8th Air Force.  I recommend the book HIGHLY.  I'm an avid reader of the history of that airwar but that book REALLY opened my eyes.

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Orphalesion

What and then writes is correct. For a long time Poland, and East Prussia were nicknamed the "Bomb Shelter of the German Reich" because that area was difficult and dangerous for the Western Allies to reach. Austria and Southern Germany were similarly "safe" until the Allies got the upper hand in Northern Africa.
In  addition I'd say the camps were of comparable little strategic importance, especially when compared to more high priority targets such as oil refineries. 

And don't underestimate how big Antisemitism was in pretty much the whole world in the early 20th century. That was after all the age of open racial segregation and "No Irish Need Apply". And when it comes down to it, the war wasn't "about the Jews," it was because the Nazis annexed and attacked other nations.
As it was written above people didn't really want to know what was happening to the Jewish Germans, Poles, Austrians etc. and often allowed themselves to be pacified by places like Theresienstadt and propaganda.

 

Edited by Orphalesion

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Eldorado

Some related links....

“The evidence is before us: The world knew and kept silent. The documents that you, Mr. President, handed to the chairman of your Commission on the Holocaust, testify to that effect"

At Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Why-wasnt-Auschwitz-bombed-717594

"On August 14, John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, advised that “such an operation could be executed only by the diversion of considerable air support…now engaged in decisive operations elsewhere and would in any case be of such doubtful efficacy that it would not warrant the use of our resources.”

"Yet within a week, the US Army Air Force carried out a heavy bombing of the I.G. Farben synthetic oil and rubber (Buna) works near Auschwitz III—less than five miles from the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center."

At the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-united-states-and-the-holocaust-why-auschwitz-was-not-bombed

Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/toc.html

Edited by Eldorado

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Essan

Basically, the Allies wanted to win/end the war.   Which meant defeating Hitler militarily by the quickest, most efficient means they could.   Hitting the death camps would not have affected the German war machine at all.  

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L.A.T.1961

In so far as a raid is concerned then it could have been attempted and others were but as discussed above the successful attack on a prison is not guaranteed to help prisoners who are still behind enemy lines and have no support.

Operation Jericho is an example of an air attack on a prison, although why the mission was carried out is still disputed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Jericho#Attack_force

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3ni5vy    

 

 

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Essan

And it's worth noting that (based on current estimates, I guess we will never know for sure) more Russian civilians and PoWs - excluding those who were Jewish - died in the camps than Jews.  So why didn't the Russians target them?   (lest this turn into an anti-Semite conspiracy )

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LucidElement
2 hours ago, Eldorado said:

"Yet within a week, the US Army Air Force carried out a heavy bombing of the I.G. Farben synthetic oil and rubber (Buna) works near Auschwitz III—less than five miles from the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center."

Well that had to hurt the Nazis. I.G Farben if i remember correctly was the manufacturer for Zyklon gas. Im curious to know how the effected the Concentration Camps going forward. I can only imagine they had plenty of Zyklon in storage but to not be able to produce more had to put a limit on the daily exterminations (terrible by the way)

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LucidElement
1 hour ago, Essan said:

And it's worth noting that (based on current estimates, I guess we will never know for sure) more Russian civilians and PoWs - excluding those who were Jewish - died in the camps than Jews.  So why didn't the Russians target them?   (lest this turn into an anti-Semite conspiracy )

Interesting. You hear a lot about America & UK bombing and trying to stop the holocaust movement, but your right, it is interesting to think why the Russians didn't target the camps (before liberation). I wonder if the Allied powers at hand had a conflict behind the scenes with Stalin, telling him not to bomb the camps (curious to know if that was a possibility)

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LucidElement
2 hours ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

In so far as a raid is concerned then it could have been attempted and others were but as discussed above the successful attack on a prison is not guaranteed to help prisoners who are still behind enemy lines and have no support.

Operation Jericho is an example of an air attack on a prison, although why the mission was carried out is still disputed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Jericho#Attack_force

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3ni5vy   

 

 

Quote

Of the 717 prisoners, 102 were killed, 74 wounded and 258 escaped, including 79 Resistance and political prisoners, although two-thirds of the escapees were recaptured

Honestly, the people that escaped and were recaptured - i bet they wish they were killed in the bombing, because your know that wasn't a good outcome.

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