We have detected that you are using an older version of Internet Explorer and to have access to all the features on this site, you will need to update your browser to Internet Explorer 8. Alternatively, download Mozilla Firefox or Chrome.

Morality of Dresden

LAURENCE REES: And do you think it was wrong to bomb Dresden in this way?

TAMI BIDDLE: Dresden makes me extremely uneasy. The fact that we had gotten to a point where we could write up this kind of directive and have no one say, 'wait a minute, have you thought through the consequences of that?' I mean, these are cities full of refugees. The fact that nobody stops and says, 'we can’t do this'. 

But, again, it’s happening at a moment that’s in the aftermath of the Battle of The Bulge, while the V2 raids are occurring and while there’s been this moment of great fear about how long the war is going to last. I’m very uncomfortable about trying to judge the people who made this decision. But I do look back and I think to myself, by God, this is what war does and whenever we make a decision to go to war we’d better be well aware and keep our eyes wide open about what kind of a Pandora’s Box we’re opening and what kind of suffering can come out of it, even unintentionally, even at the hands of people who are convinced they’re fighting a just war or are convinced that they’re doing the right thing and who just short years earlier were insisting to themselves that they would not attack civilians.  This is where they were.

I’m hesitant to judge, but by the same token it makes me think, warfare is the most dangerous and the most corrosive activity in all of human endeavour, and we must treat it very carefully because this is where it can take you.