How the Commemoration of the British Bombing of Dresden Flirts with Historical Revisionism

This year sees many 75th anniversaries relating to the final year of World War II, including that of the Anglo-American air raids on the city of Dresden, a major industrial and transportation center of the Nazi war machine. In February, a commemorative ceremony was held in Germany, attended by that country’s president as well as a member of the British royal family. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky found the event itself to be “dignified,” but is disturbed by the way so many now discuss the bombing:

Dresden has become a powerful symbol of the suffering of ordinary Germans. Many consider it a war crime committed by the Allies, in particular by Winston Churchill.

On the merits of the decision to bomb Dresden in 1945, and more broadly on the British policy of “area bombing” at a time when targeting technologies were still poor, I have not considered this narrow question closely enough to reach a conclusion. Though Germany was under extreme pressure by early 1945, it had mounted a serious offensive against U.S. forces in the Ardennes, was still bombing the UK with rockets, and was developing weapons and equipment, such as jet engines, possibly capable of turning the tide. Even after the defeat of Germany, the Allies faced the potentially daunting task of invading Japan. Even if the continuing sufferings of slave laborers and POWs in Germany are to be discounted, there were pressing reasons to force a German surrender at the earliest possible moment.

Yet all these arguments, in my view, pale into relative insignificance. The amount of coverage of the destruction of Dresden lacks proportion and is diversionary.

[First], Dresden is being used by some to justify pacifism, an approach which for all its nobility may partly have been responsible for the weakness which led to the outbreak of the World War II. Further, . . . the subtext of much, though not all, of the Dresden debate is to divert attention from the deeds of the Nazi state, especially but not exclusively towards Jews. The implication that Churchill was as bad as Hitler is grotesque, as has been the tendency among parts of the German population to focus excessively on their status as victims. The further result is to “contextualize”— that is, minimize—the Holocaust.

Read more at The Article

More about: Holocaust, Military ethics, Winston Churchill, World War II

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy