Despatch on War Operations, 23rd February, 1942, to 8th May, 1945
This is a document of immense historical significance. Published here with an introduction by Sebastian Cox, a German viewpoint from Horst Boog, and a formerly confidential air staff memorandum commenting on the Despatch, it constitutes one of the most important records relating to the Second World War.
Was Harris a hero or a war criminal? Today, because of his role in overseeing the large-scale bombing of German civilian targets, Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris is one of the most controversial figures of the Second World War. This Despatch, his official report on his war operations, gives Harris's own point of view in more detail than any other document.
For many years Harris's Despatch was classified. When it was declassified it remained unpublished and was, in practice, accessible only to a small number of people who were 'in the know'. Now, for the first time, it is available in a form which will allow the general public to form its own opinion.
In this document matter of fact descriptions of the destruction of entire cities sit side-by-side with technical considerations of bombing technique, defensive tactics, and striking power. Harris's concise, carefully-argued report was accompanied by numerous detailed statistical tables and graphs and these are all reproduced here.
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