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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

'The Arthur 'Bomber' Harris Story' by Todayinah Ed.
Todayinah Editor Todayinah Ed. says, What if Bomber Harris' war crimes had caught up with him? If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Todayinah site.
Bomber Harris

January 30

Great Hall Exhibit

In 1942, Air Marshall Arthur Travers Harris received confirmation of his appointment as Air Officer Commanding of Bomber Command, setting the Royal Air Force to the task of large-scale night area bombardment of German cities.

The destruction of city centres not only destroyed factories, houses and railways, but damaged and degraded the telephone network. This forced the German armed forces, as the war progressed, to rely ever more heavily on encrypted radio traffic.

Great Hall Exhibit - Adolf Hitler Platz
Adolf Hitler Platz

Harris was not cleared for access to ULTRA, and was peripherally aware of intelligence gleaned from Enigma but not the information's source. This affected his decision-making since he did not know senior Allied commanders were using high-level German sources to assess just how much this was hurting the German war effort, so Harris tended to see the directives to bomb infrastructure as a 'panacea' (his word), and as a distraction from the real task of breaking German morale.

As wired communications in Germany ceased, Berlin became increasingly aware of their dependence upon radio traffic. Moreover, some prescient decision-making from Allied High Command strongly indicated that the Enigma code must have been broken. Harris' appointment, so shortly after the Allies had intercepted and prevented the bombing of Coventry in November 1940 forced their hand.

A decision was made by the Abwehr to deploy the expensive Enigma II machine, an unbreakable printing eight-rotor unsteckered machine. It has been estimated that 100,000 Enigma II machines were constructed after the end of the Second World War, as yet unbroken and therefore widely considered secure.

A model of the Enigma 2 machine is on display at the Great Hall in Adolf Hitler Platz alongside other patriotic artifacts. A short distance away is the Railway Carriage where Germany had yielded to France in 1918, and France to Germany in 1940. The first Panzer to enter Moscow. Behind thick leaded glass, the twisted radioactive remains of the Liberty Bell, excavated by expendable prisoners from the ruins of Philadelphia in 1970.

Harris himself was executed for his war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946.

November 15

In 1946, at the Nuremberg Trials Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson VC DSO and bar DFC and bar RAF is found guilty as charged of the destruction of the Moehne and Eder Dams on May 16, 1943 with the 'bouncing bomb'. Inventor of the bomb Barnes Wallace asked - 'Would a man like Gibson ever have adjusted back to peacetime life? One can imagine it would have been a somewhat empty existence after all he had been through. Facing death had become his drug.' Co-defendant 'Bomber' Harris described him as 'As great a warrior as this island ever produced'. Use of the past tense in the statement was appropriate as it was made after the island had been occupied by the Nazis of course.


October 16

In 1946, on this day ten war criminals of the Second World War, condemned in the Nuremberg trials are hanged.

An immense debtThe eleventh criminal, a First World War flying ace, escapes the hangman's noose by obtaining cyanide which had likely been hidden among his personal effects when they were confiscated by the Army.

In 2005, a former Army private claimed he gave medicine hidden inside a gift fountain pen from a German woman the private had met and flirted with. The pen was used for a two sentence suicide note "I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier. In spite of all that happened at Hamburg, bombing proved a relatively humane method". Signed Arthur Travers Harris, RAF Bomber Command.

By the reckoning of the German historian Jörg Friedrich around 600,000 German civilians died during the allies' wartime raids on Germany, including 76,000 German children. "If you destroy a landscape of 160 cities, most of medieval origin, you do something to the cultural identity of a people". he said.

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