Death of a City
287 pp paperback
BY DAVID IRVING
Single copies £1.50 inc. post.
‘And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.’
‘But what good came of it at last?’
Ouoth little Peterkin:
‘Why that I cannot tell,’ said he,
‘But ‘twas a famous victory.’
— Southey, After Blenheim.
“In terms of personal success, there has been no career more fortunate than that of Winston Churchill. In terms of human suffering to millions of people and destruction of the noble edifice of mankind there has been no career more disastrous.”
— The European and English Journal. Source; American Manifest Destiny and the Holocausts, P. 176.
“One closes these volumes feeling, uneasily, that the true heroes of the story they tell are neither the contending air marshalls, nor even the 55, 888 officers and men of Bomber Command who were killed inaction, They were the inhabitants of the German cities under attack; the men, women and children who stoically endured and worked on among the flaming ruins of their homes and factories, up till the moment when the allied armies overran them …”
— London Times reviewer on the ‘British Official History of the Strategic Air Offensive’,
Hamburg at the end of the war. Millions of Germans had no home, no places of work, schools or hospitals, Almost the entire country was destroyed and that which remained was looted by allied governments and multi-national companies., Much of the looted industrial booty still produces goods in British factories today.
Published by Phoenix Publications, 95a Chester Rd. East. Deeside, CLWYD. CH5 2AA.
A CITY MUST DIE
A CITY DIGS IN
THE HOLOCAUST BEGINS
WHEN SATAN RULED, GOD WEPT
HAMBURG IS NO MORE
WATER, SWEET WATER
HELL ON EARTH
IN THE AIR
A CITY IN RUINS
STRUCK FROM THE RECORDS
THE LAST CONVULSIONS
HAMBURG IS NO MORE
Hamburg presented a vision of what the inner-earth must look like, or the fiery wastes of the sun’s surface. The sounds of the screaming winds competed with the deafening crackle of thousands of fires. Explosions filled the air and tar on the roads became liquid, rippling and moving slowly. It was a sight never before seen by man and in terms of lives lost and buildings damaged, far exceeded the damage done to atom-bombed Nagasaki. In such heat as this, everything, literally everything burned. Gases vomited from stricken buildings. Super-heated gases travelling at incredible velocity seared the skies as high as the earth’s troposphere, an incredible 40,000 feet above the city itself. Still the bombers came and the pillar of twisting smoke and gases reached five miles higher than the bombers themselves.
This was a fire storm.
The air above Hamburg was pure flame. Six square miles of Hamburg had become engulfed in the world’s greatest fire and merely looking at the blinding heat and light could terrorise, destroy the mind. There were no longer any individual blazes and the winds relentlessly feeding the flames were sucked in at higher and higher speeds. Even out in the suburbs it was like no ordinary wind. Such winds as we all experience each day of our lives swirl in eddies and gusts. They blow this way at one corner, another way at the next corner. But these winds showed no variation in direction or speed. The wind flowed into the city at a constant speed. During the early stages these winds had reached forty and then fifty miles per hour.
Ninety minutes after the first bombs fell, trees on the outskirts of the city were beginning to lose their leaves. It was as though some giant supernatural vacuum cleaner was sucking them off. Small branches were snapped off and the natural debris of the streets was picked up as though by some unseen hand and swirled a way, bouncing off the shells of buildings but always sucked in one direction. Outside the city’s perimeter, tens of thousands of people had gathered to witness that which no man had witnessed before them. A whole city had become a throbbing inferno of intense heat. They watched as a column of flame a mile wide reached the inner limits of space. This surely was a night when God wept!
The winds reached supernatural speeds and far exceeded tornado or hurricane velocities. It flattened flames. It turned the city into one gigantic flame thrower or blow torch. Flames many hundreds of feet long were caught in the blast of wind and seared streets where thousands of people still huddled in the open, hiding behind partly demolished walls, cowering in alleys. These unfortunates were incinerated and their shrieks of terror and pain mingled and were lost in the screaming wind and crackling fire storm. It will never be known how many such people simply disappeared as though they had never walked the earth. Not even a few charred bones marked their presence on earth. It is estimated that the winds feeding the blazing city reached speeds as high as 150 miles per hour, maybe more. This is twice that of hurricane force and at such speeds, trees three feet in diameter were sucked out of the ground and hurled into the flames.
For those of us whose knowledge of fire is limited to our experience of manmade controllable ones, such heat as was generated in the fire storm of Hamburg is beyond all comprehension. The temperatures reached 1,400 degrees fahrenheit. At such temperatures, lead becomes a bubbling fluid as liquid as water itself. Balks of wood simply explode without necessarily coming in contact with flame. Metal, rubber, and glass melts.
The fire — for the city was literally a fire, threw flames three miles up into the sky and its gases reached as high again and more. It was a sight so spectacular and horrifying that the well known effect of an atom-bomb explosion becomes relatively lesser. As the fire’s superheated gases boiled upwards, they passed through a stratum of cold air high above the city. The debris in the soaring flames and smoke attracted moisture and caused a meteorological reaction. The natural elements combined to reject the debris which was transformed and fell to the earth once more in big greasy black rain blobs.
For those still trapped in the city there could be no escape but being human, many tried. Some judged that it was better to attempt escape through the blazing streets than to take their chances in the stifling heat of the oxygen deprived shelters. Perhaps they had been deceived by seeing an acre or two of relative calm, minor crackling fires. Such areas were as deceptive as the calm eye of a hurricane storm. Rushing out into the streets, they would soon run into a wall of flame. Retreating. some would look for another way and perish whilst others realising the hopelessness of their situation would stagger back to their shelter’s door. Battering uselessly on the door for admission as the flames licked around the comer and down basement steps, their twitching bodies were consumed by the flames.
For those in the shelters the heat became unbearable. They gasped for air uselessly. Some fainted and weaker, especially older people had heart seizures. Children became hysterical and mothers were out of their minds with fear and horror. They had only one overwhelming urge and that was to flee and they did, ripping open doors and rushing blindly into the heat-seared streets. There was no escape.
They were doomed.
Firebrands rained down on them. The air was filled with choking gases and whirling embers of fire. One might as well try to to dodge raindrops in a thunderstorm. The blazing firebrands stuck to clothing and to flesh and mothers, children — and children who had lost their parents — ran screaming through the blazing streets. Such was the heat that as they ran, many simply burst into flame. They beat madly at their hair, their eyes, or whatever parts of the body was on fire and they ran in directions that no longer had any meaning or purpose. Out of their minds, they staggered, often running blindly into walls. They would stumble, pick themselves up and run a few more feet and the least fortunate ones lost their reason and became demented in their final moments. Others burst into flames. Some, beside themselves dashed unseeing into fires and many just ran until they could run no further and collapsed to fall twitching in the bubbling street tar.
There is no cause in the world save that of satanism which justifies the horror that was callously inflicted up on Hamburg during that ten day period. It was more than a blot on Britain’s coat of arms. It was a reminder that in mankind dwells the devil himself as well the Lord, and that the arbiter between the two is our own conscience.
When innocent people and in particular children, become an enemy to be disposed of using the most refined methods of torture, then whatever cause is championed is degraded. It no longer serves idealism or freedom once evil is recruited as an ally. There are many people motivated by high and noble ideals who will become so enslaved by those ideals that they lose all claim to nobility or even humanity. They will commit any crime, sell their souls to the devil to see victory theirs. Those who declare war on children declare war on God, and in Hamburg that night, and in tens of other German cities, children suffered as children have never suffered before.
Of the children during these dreadful nights, what can be said? Their fright became horror and then panic when their tiny minds became capable of grasping the fact that their parents could no longer help them in their distress. As Martin Caidin surmised, they lost their reason and an overwhelming terror took over. Their world had become the shrieking centre at an erupting volcano from which there could be no physical escape. Nothing that hell offered could be feared more. By the hand of man they became creatures, human in form but not in mind. Strangled noises issued from them as they staggered pitifully through the streets in which tar and asphalt ran as streams. Some of these tiny creatures ran several hundred feet. Others managed only twenty, maybe ten feet, Their shoes caught fire and their feet, the lower parts of their legs became flickering sticks of flame. Here were Joan of Arcs … thousands of them. All who had perished unjustly on the fires of the Middle Ages were as nothing when compared with what was happening this night. The sounds of many were unintelligible and undoubtedly many more called for their parents from whom they were parted by death or by accident. They grasped their tortured limbs. their tiny burning legs until they were no longer able to stand or run. And then they would crash to the ground where they would writhe in the bubbling tar until death released them from physical misery.
[Image] Corpses found in the shelters. Most likely carbon monoxide was the killer: the increasing heat afterwards blackened the bodies.
How I wish that this were nothing more than sensational writing. These are not my words but if descriptive account by Martin Caidin who as an academic is not given to sensationalising emotive subjects. In his book The Night Hamburg Died he describes how,
“…. the fire instantly embraces them in curling tongues, sets aflame their clothes, their hair and their skin, rushes into their mouths and burns out their tongues even they scream soundlessly from throats already blackening, already steaming with the evaporation of the body liquids.”
Oh, what a price is paid for national self righteousness. But for whom does the till ring?
There was no end to the horror. For those on the streets still, heat was a constant goad to movement and move they did until they too were consumed by the flames and heat. Those who were destined to escape were tragically few. Deprived of shelters for many reasons, thousands of civilians ran without reason or direction and as they did so, superheated air rushed past tongues that had become swollen and blackened. Air passages to the lungs rasped through having become as crisp and dry as leather bellows. lungs seemed to explode agonisingly with each tortured breath. Imagine the horror of those last to die in such groups. They dashed in a frenzy a long open spaces and in front of them, a man, a woman, it child burst into flames.
[Image] Note how vast areas have been turned into bomb-cratered quagmires. The remains of German town of Wesel after intensive Allied area bombing in 1945 (destruction rate 97% of all buildings).
Such methods of warfare failed to shorten the war by a day, and failed also to curb Germany’s war effort. Churchill refused such good advice and persisted in his policy of genocide.
[Image] Aerial view of bomb-damaged residential areas, Essen, Germany, 1945
WATER, SWEET WATER
Hamburg is a city that has its fair share of waterways, canal and dock basins, and thousands of people sought a watery refuge. They sought salvation in the waters grown brackish that ran in threads throughout their city. Those who had survived the fiery streets threw themselves into such waters even as the heat seared their flesh; a heat that had already scorched the hair and often their clothes from their bodies. The strongest made it to the middle, to the deeper waters where for hours they trod water dipping their heads repeatedly under the surface to escape the heat of the air. There were many who were unable to swim or were too weak to do so. They would go as deep as they could, standing on their toes and immersing themselves to their chins and they too would constantly duck their heads under the water to escape the unbelievable heat. Still the bombs came in waves.
Despite such efforts, many in the water continued to die from the heat. Large portions of the exposed skin on their faces and necks grew red and swollen, blistered and burst. Eye balls stood out from their sockets. Great water blisters appeared and burst unfelt and the ruptured folds of skin slithered down raw faces and into gasping mouths. In such ways did countless Europe an civilians die; Men, their wives and sweethearts, their mothers, their children.
Yes, it was the children who suffered most of all. It might be said with much truth that the world’s most renowned writers of horror fiction have never exceeded in descriptions of horrific events, the horror that was visited up on these unfortunate waifs of war. Parents retained semblance of sanity only though the instinct to keep their children alive. “The children, save the children! Oh God. let them survive!”
It is an instinct that transcends all others and is just as total when all hope is lost and that night, even God had been driven out of Hamburg. That night, the city be longed to Satan.
Standing neck deep in the canals and water ways of burning Hamburg, parents — mostly mothers held their children aloft so that they would not drown. But It was not enough. Their super human efforts were no match for the horrific events that surrounded them, They kept raising and lowering their children so that the heat did not flay their young skins. They suffered terribly and were unable to even cry out. They gasped for breath when they were pushed under the water; sucking and spluttering they vomited and gasped in the heat when raised above the waters. Their hair that so recently had been lovingly combed and cared for steamed and streamed in the heat. Their tongues became swollen and they could not cry out. Only moans and sobs tortured their tormented parents.
For how long did their parents strength sustain them? Their energy was depleted, their muscles ached and grew weaker and finally they would subside beneath the water no longer able to struggle against such overwhelming odds. Their children, left to flounder in the water weak and terrified into insanity would thrash wildly in the water as an instinctive reaction against drowning.
As the hours pass, more and more bodies float on the surface. Infants, older children, their mothers and fathers, grandparents. As the corpses floated in the brackenish waters, the clothing still above the surface steamed and then burst into flames as did any visible tufts of hair. The floating cadavers had become burning rafts of horror. Caidin writes;
“The corpses are partially alive with flame. Mostly buried, the exposed skin becomes bloated and bursts open in great watery pimples. The skin shrivels and peels and shows the redness beneath. But at least these dead are beyond pain …”
“Who has been to hell and returned, and can describe the ultimate in horror heaped up on horror? There are those in the waters who suffer indescribable tortures. They remain standing constantly dousing their pain-wracked faces and necks. Terror and fatigue exert their toll and finally they lack the strength to remain afloat. They stand or half float in the water, while the burning debris spewed into the waters by the fires that surrounded them into their faces and sparks stab at their eyes. Tortured by pain, seeking only the sweet oblivion of death, they try to drown themselves and still the bombers roar overhead. They are dropping bombs on top of bombs. They are cratering craters. They are mutilating those who are already mutilated. They are bombing the dead. They are bombing a mortuary. It is as though the bombers no longer have control of themselves but are in the grip of some monstrous force.”
Caidin describes the scenes of horror in which thousands of people lost their lives. He describes relatives screaming for one another as they become separated and lost forever. Many of the fleeing refugees wrap themselves in wet blankets or soak their clothes but live long enough only to become insane from the visions of the horrors that survive them. Even in these cases, the clothes steam, dry and finally bunt into flames. The tortured demented souls fling themselves on the ground, thrashing and flinging themselves about, their feet drumming in agony, their hands clutching at their faces in self-inflicted unknowing pain. And then they are still and no more.
In the midst of so much carnage, there is the shrieking wind feeding the inferno. It is so powerful that it tugs and pulls at partially destroyed buildings until their walls collapse. Huge balks of timber, debris of all sorts is dragged by screaming winds along streets in flames. Imagine the horror as those alive fling their arms around trees to save themselves from being sucked along by the wind only to feel the tree that they clutch being torn itself from the ground. It is no exaggeration to describe events in which men, women and children, already burning alive being swept helplessly along roads, caught up in the clutching fingers of wind and hurled bodily into the flames. They are as helpless as dried Autumn leaves floating on the eddying winds that surround a bonfire.
HELL ON EARTH
Through 2,000 years of Christianity, the world’s most imaginative and inspired artists have depicted hell as they have imagined it in all of its horror. Yet each description leaves us unmoved once compared with such events as these. As bombers roared overhead and winds far beyond hurricane force screamed about them, thousands of survivors pressed towards canals and waterways that were already filled with doomed souls. There was no room in the waters for more yet still they came on, pressed forward by the fires behind them. The people in the canals standing and floating shoulder to shoulder screamed at those on the banks to stay there. They may just as well have screamed at the flames for the hordes of terrified people who pressed forward had no choice. To stop would have denied life to themselves, their families, their children. They plunged into the waters, their feet and arms striking those already there. Some were suffocated or drowned in the pressing assault of half mad human beings. Wedged like sticks, they burned, suffocated and died yet still the crowds pressed forward until what had once been a canal became a snake of sorts that squirmed and wriggled between blazing buildings. Of those who still survived, many did so at the expense of weaker ones whose bodies were now beneath their feet and all around them in the turgid waters. In the shallows the heaped mounds of corpses burned with bluish flickering flames yet even there life remained as occasionally, a mound would feebly jerk.
This was Hamburg experiencing the ultimate in barbarism, in wanton savagery that arguably had no precedent in the history of mankind.
If is impossible to imagine, let alone document each individual private horror. Merely touching the surface of events is depressing. Children are torn shrieking from the parents arms by the wind. They are flung head over heels, tumbling crazily down burning roads and into the infernos while their demented mothers half run, are half dragged after them. People are sent physically reeling as unseen fists of exploding air currents slam them in all directions. After the holocaust was over, one could still see the finger marks in the loads where people, out of their minds with terror had clutched the road’s surface to save themselves from being swept up in the wind’s tidal race. Frantically. they attempted to save themselves from being incinerated alive. Their mouths we open but they were unable to scream out and their eyes appealed with animal pain. Their attempts to save themselves were useless against a wind that picked up cars and trucks as though they were toys, and hurled them into the all-consuming inferno.
In the shelters, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people suffered a different but no less horrifying fate as the world blazed above them. In many cases, no flames ever did touch them but they died all the same. Nobody survived the firestorm area. Not a man, woman or child. The entire area was sterilised. Not even insects lived through this holocaust.
In these shelters, the huddled apprehensive and bewildered civilians could only, guess at the horrors above them. They sat, dimly aware of others sitting or lying beside them in the darkness, waiting and conserving their ebbing strength. Their breathing became shallow and rapid as the oxygen they needed so much began to disappear. It was feeding the flames above. For some, death came slowly and compared with the deaths of others, pleasantly. It came in the form of slow suffocation. They went to sleep and never a woke. They never knew when their heart stopped beating.
Groups of people, especially families, clung to each other in the blackness or the semi-darkness of their shelters. They embraced. Mothers held their children tightly, murmuring many comforting expressions of hope as the raging fire storm shrieked somewhere high above them, Thus they died. Long after the last person had lapsed into the the arms of death, the heat continued to rise in the shelters, the subways, the cellars far beneath the burning streets. No flame ever touched them but thick glass bottles grew soft and then melted into shapeless pools of molten fluid. Kitchen tools; knives, forks, pans, melted and formed pools of cloying liquid. The bricks began to glow and burn, throbbing with intense heat until such heat far surpassed the temperatures that had once created them. Finally, they crumbled into dust in these ovens of intense heat. It will be a long time before these shelters are opened again and when they are, men will look up on sights that mankind has never before witnessed, and hopefully, will never again.
Mixed in with the molten glass and metal, they will find hideous mounds of half -human remains. Such mounds are mostly dust or viscose fluid. Such mounds are their fellow citizens. Some of these shelters had to be left alone for as long as two weeks after the holocaust had ended, the heat was so intense. Each day, decontamination crews discovered thousands more corpses to add to their stupefying lists. Counting the bodies was a hopeless task. Some of the shelters had held hundreds of people yet they had disappeared without trace, buried beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings. Often when shelters were opened, workers had to run for their lives. As they opened the shelter’s door, air was sucked into the overheated oxygen-starved interior and the shelter’s interior would explode in flames. Some had to be left many weeks to cool down.
[Image] Charred and blackened bodies, many of them children. were found lying in the streets and the shelters.
In most of the shelters, the number of corpses could only be guessed at. The bodies had melted into the debris and congealed with mangled, melted glass and iron, and brick turned into mounds of dust. Often just a few scorched bones remained; a man’s, a woman’s, a child’s?
The decontamination teams entered some shelters to find lifeless men, women and children; often in family groups lying as though asleep, In some cases, a family group might be sitting around a tables lumped or sitting just as they had died. It was as though they were asleep. Death had come to them without warning. They had died through carbon monoxide poisoning, but the heat had never touched them.
There were yet other shelters where the teams found signs at terror and panic. They discovered people who in their final moments had clawed insanely at walls, or had flung their bodies at walls and pillars. Bodies were frequently found lying in thick pools of greasy black substance which was subsequently found to be melted human fat. All kinds of strange phenomena were discovered as the teams of sickened weary relief workers entered the shelters. They discovered bodies that had been burned to a crisp long after the victim had died. The oxygen allowed in to the shelter by their arrival was all that was needed to cause the cadaver to burst into flames. Other shelters contained only heaps of ash with scattered bone from which it was concluded to be the remains of another victim.
IN THE AIR
Modern warfare has reached new levels of barbarism largely because of man’s ingenuity in devising weapons that have results of which the pilot can hardly be aware. Then as today, the pilot and the plane’s crew were spared the ordeal of witnessing the result of his pressing the fire button. Thomas Kiernan, the American author, described with great clarity a personal tragedy that in was so insignificant to the world at large that no more than two or three people witnessed it, and fewer cared to record it. Yet, it effectively explains why old rules of combat and chivalry play no part in modern warfare. He described what happened when an American jet armed with American weapons and piloted by a Jew, attacked a Palestinian settlement.
“A human figure materialised out of the gloom, an eerie, unintelligible chant issuing from what was once its lips. Stumbling, weaving, then falling to its knees and crawling, it crept towards us. It was a child and its charred skin was literally melting, leaving a trail of viscous fluid in its wake. Its face had no recognisable features. The top of its skull shone through, the last layer of scorched membrane on its head. Not more than ten yards from us it fell on its side, its kneecaps exposed like yokes of poached eggs. It twitched once or twice in the dust. gave a final wheeze. and then went still in the puddle of molten flesh-that formed around it in the dust.”
“Next to me, Albricht was being sick. I tasted my own vomit in my throat.”
The pilot of the aircraft undoubtedly ate his meal that evening with great relish. He had not seen the result of his day’s work. So it was with Hamburg and sixty other German cities not to mention Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki which between them lost 250,000 people in just three air raids. I am well aware that such a critical view may appear to be partisan but this account concerns itself only with terror bombing and its consequences. There are many excellent books on bombing as a act of war but that is something which is quite different and totally different from the policy of saturation bombing for the purpose of terrorising and destroying a civilian population.
[Image] The condition of this man was typical of many lying thus in the streets of Hamburg.
The British bombers flew in darkness and rarely saw other aircraft. High in the night skies, each crew was a tiny community fulfilling an unemotional task as best they could do in the dim light of the aircraft’s interior. They saw the flames below but could hardly imagine the scenes of carnage below them. Theirs was a distant, perhaps academic view of events. They knew that the air raid sirens were sounding in the city below when the overhead electric flashes of the city’s tram cars ceased. From 100 miles off they could see the flames. From 15,000 feet they could see individual fires but often they were denied the sight of mile after mile of fires because of smoke clouds. However, even pilots far removed from the horrors described knew that what was happening was a completely new and terrible kind of warfare.
“It was murder in the city. I knew that the firestorms that came later were terrible and unlike anything that had ever happened, but the fires in the city were as bad as anything I’d ever seen in the whole war so far — and I’d been along on a goodly portion of the major attacks,”
He went on to say;
“I never had the chance to see the firestorm in full strength. Many of the other fellows did, and their stories were almost beyond belief. A few of the planes got caught in the flue of superheated air as they passed over the city at 16,000, and it was as if they were nothing more than woodchips in a storm at sea, The pilots told me that they had no control over their aircraft any longer. They were thrown about by the heat and even flipped over on their backs. Everything sort of went to hell until the Lances managed to get free of the severe turbulence.”
“We were at 16,000 feet. Everybody was still tossing ‘window’ tinfoil out of their aircraft, and we howled in glee as we listened in on the Jerry wireless and heard them going crazy.”
Condemnation can come easy but whether or not it would he justified is something that could be argued from both points of view. The really smart dog goes not for the stick that beats it but the hand that holds it. Those powerful men such as Churchill, Lindemann and others were so much aware of the consequences of their actions, and indeed had engineered them for the precise results that they were now getting. By no stretch of the imagination could it be said that they were unaware of the consequences. These powerful men held the power of life and death over millions of their fellow human beings and irresponsibly abused that power. Such terror bombing was a policy that had no other purpose than to satisfy their bloodlust. Members of the inner circles of power, in the Armed Forces also, argued against the policy of total bombing not only on moral grounds but on strategic grounds. They were dispensed with in as brief a manner as were Stalin’s underlings who disagreed with him.
Responsibility for the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of German civilians lies with Churchill. His too, for the needless deaths of thousands of British civilians who died in raids of retaliation. And last but not leas responsibility lies heavy with him who in order to satiate his bloodlust, his pathetic scrabbling for personal power, sacrificed no less than 55,888 British airman who died during the bomber offensive. This figure represents nearly the number of British junior army officers who died during the entire 1st World War.
There is no doubt about it that had the war ended other than as it did, or had the Nuremberg Trials been administrated by neutral countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, or Chile, Churchill and his closest advisors would undoubtedly have ended their lives at the end of a rope and justifiably so. That Churchill’s statue stands today in Parliament Square is no more a monument to his greatness than is a statue of Lenin or Stalin in Moscow’s Red Square.
Click to go to: Death of a City by Michael McLaughlin – Part 1
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