The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/england/baedeker-blitz

Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 05:02:26 GMT
Message-Id: <>
From: "Harry W. Mazal OBE" 
To: kmcvay

_The Baedeker Blitz: Hitler's Attack on Britains Historic Cities_
Niall Rothnie
c. 1992, Ian Allan Publishing, Surrey, England
ISBN 0 7110 2038 3

(from the dust jacket)

   "From the early years of World War 2 both Britain and Germany had
sought to extend the war to the major industrial conurbations through
the application of systematic and heavy bombing. For the first three
years of the war, however, the results of this bombing were largely
indiscriminate, and it was not until March 1942 that the RAF's Bomber 
Command finally acieved its first concentrated and successful attack
on a German city.  The target was not one of the heavily defended
industrial centres such as Hamburg, but the lightly defended historic
Baltic town of Lubeck.

   Such a successful  attack could not go unpunished, but limited German
resources had to be used to the best effect: why not play the British at
their own game and attack cities that were the equivalent of Lubeck? The
result was a sustained campaign in April 1942 against the cities of Bath,
Canterbury, Exeter, Norwich, and York -- the Baedecker Blitz.  The 
results were inevitable with the cores of these historic cities severely 
damaged and many civilian casualties resulted. For the first time in the
war terror of the civilian population had become an explicit arm of the
strategic planners.

   In _The Baedeker Blitz_ Nial Rothnie looks in depth at the raids and
at the cities that suffered in them.  Particular aspects of the raids, such 
as the civilian consequences and the responses of the emergency services, 
are examnined in detail to provide a human perspective of the raids." 

>From the "Introduction"

"[...] The Baedeker raids have received only passing mention in the past,
as the historian takes breath between describing the drawn out blitz of 
1940-41 on London and elsewhere, ant then prepares to move on to the
V-weapon raids of 1944.
   When they are mentioned, the references are often incorrect. Only five
cathedral cities were attacked in this sequence of raids -- Exeter, Bath,
Norwich, York and Canterbury -- and certainly not Coventry as is sometimes
claimed. Nor did the appellation 'Baedeker'  come from the mouth of
Adolf Hitler. As it will be shown, it was a much lower-ranking Nazi
who linked these attacks with the German 'Baedeker' guidebooks to
beautiful cities, home and abroad."

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