Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Document No. 1676-PS

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Voelkischer Beobachter
Southern Germany Edition
28/29 May 1944

A Word on the enemy air-terror by Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels

Nowadays, it is no longer disputed by anyone that the enemy air-terror pursues almost exclusively the aim of breaking the morale of the German civil population. The enemy wages war against the defenseless, against women and children in particular, in order to compel the men of our country to yield. This intention of his is proved on one hand by the facts themselves and on the other hand by the abundance of existing statements by enemy publicists. As far as the facts are concerned one needs only to visit one of the often bombed towns in the Reich or in the occupied territory in order to determine without doubt by one's own examination that our war potential is damaged by perhaps at the most only 1% by enemy air-terror and the remaining 99% plainly falls upon the civil sector.

A short time ago, the leading representatives of the French, and Belgian Episcopate, who certainly cannot be suspected of acting according to German orders, objected with flaming protest directed to the international public against the enemy's barbarous methods of aerial warfare, which kills old people, women and children, as well as destroys churches, venerable cultural monuments and thickly settled civilian residential sections, without any military objectives being apparent. To this we need to add nothing more.

Our enemies do not try to conceal their intentions in this matter. One does not need to look far in British and American press in order to find substantial proof of this. "Lay the great cities in ruins and you will crush the will to fight". Thus wrote the English air expert T.M. Epaight in his book "Air power and the cities" in 1930. Nothing in this tendency of the British aerial warfare has changed since then. "It is not possible to draw a boundary-line between the civil population and the combatants". With this cowardly excuse the "Daily Mail" attempts to justify publicly this rough and low method of the enemy aerial warfare. Much more explicit becomes influential British naval officer who states in the English military publication "The Army Quarterly": "Does the concept of non-combatants exist at all? A small child is neither in peace nor in war a useful member of the national community. No one has in reality the right to demand inviolability for himself even if he can attempt to do so in the name of humanity. Germany must become more desolate than the Saraha desert".

The well known London's newspaper "News chronicle" is not missing in this choir of hatred. It adds "We favor that every living being in Germany be wiped out. Man, woman, child, bird and insect. We would not let even a blade of grass grow". This causes the respected British author H. G. Wells to name the following demand: "Treat the German people like a troublesome native tribe". The American publicists are no less robust. One of their leading spokesmen Raymond Clapper writes with evident pleasure: "Terror and brutality are the best sides of aerial warfare!" One might object, perhaps, that not all influential Americans and Englishmen think this way. Wrong! Even the Anglican high Church declares in its official organ "Church of England" on the 28 of May 1943: "It is a perverse view of Christianity to suppose that civilians must not be killed". Even the Archbishop of york, Dr. Cysill Barbett, blesses the barbaric methods of the Anglo-American aerial terrorism in his pastoral letter of June 1943 with the words: "It is only a small evil to bomb German civilians."

We had so far desisted from making known to the German people the meanest of the statements from which we have only presented a small selection and which all together represent a simple demand for the murder of women and children, because we were afraid that in view of this cynicism it would take measures of self-defense and revenge itself with the same measures upon the enemy pilots who bail out of shot down enemy planes. In the meantime, however, circumstances have arisen which prevent us from continuing to maintain this reserve in the future.

The Anglo-American terror flyers in the last few weeks, besides indiscriminately bombarding the residential quarters of our cities have taken to attacking the German civilian population openly, directly and without even any superficial respect, for the international rules of warfare, by strafing them and slaughtering them in cold blood. No more excuses can be brought toward in this matter because the enemy planes sweep low over villages, fields and highways, and direct their machine-guns upon harmless groups of people who are minding their own business. This has nothing more to do with war. This is naked murder. There is no rule of international law which the enemy can call on in this matter. The Anglo-American pilots place themselves through such a criminal mode of warfare, outside the pale of every internationally recognized rule of warfare. On last Sunday, for example, to take only one of a thousand examples, in the rural countries of Saxony, groups of playing children were attacked by strafing, and suffered considerable casualties.

No one will be astonished by the fact that the population concerned which, as is known in the whole world, can understand any soldierly type of warfare has been seized with a terrible rage on account of these cynical crimes. It is only possible with the aid of arms to secure the lives of enemy pilots who were shot down during such attacks, for they would otherwise be killed by the sorely tired population. Who is right here? The murderers who after their cowardly misdeeds await a humane treatment on the part of their victims, or the victims who wish to defend themselves according to the principle: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth"? This question is not hard to answer. In any case it would be demanding too much of us if it were asked of us that we use German Soldiers for the defense of murderers of children against the parents who seized with blind rage, having just lost their most valuable treasure through the brutal cynicism of the enemy, take measures of self-defense. If the English and Americans as they themselves say, regard and treat us as troublesome native tribes, then it is our business whether we stand for it. The German people is known in the whole world for the fact that it gives to war what war demands from it. But too much is too much and here the boundaries of what can be borne have been far overstepped.

It seems to us-hardly possible and tolerable to use German police and soldiers against the German people when it treats murderers of children as they deserve. Even the arbitrary methods of warfare of the Anglo-Americans must end somewhere. The pilots cannot say that they as soldiers acted upon orders. It is not provided in any military law that a soldier in the case of a despicable crime is exempt from punishment because he passes the responsibility to his superior, especially if the orders of the latter are in evident contradiction to all human morality and every international usage of warfare. Our century has obliterated to a great extent the boundaries between warfare and crime on the part of the enemy. It would be demanding too much of us to expect that we should silently accommodate ourselves as victims to this unlimited barbarity.

We reach these conclusions in a completely objective manner. In these questions our people think much more radically than its government. It has always been our wish that the war should be conducted in a chivalrous manner. The enemy, apparently, does not want this. The whole world is a witness for that. If this revolting condition continues, it will also be witness for the fact that we can find ways and means to defend ourselves against these criminals. We owe this to our people which decently and bravely defend its life and therefore has in no way deserved to be declared fair game for the enemy killers.

Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946

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