On Bombing the Train Tracks to Auschwitz: Ricochet Changes My Mind
I've asked before--out of genuine curiosity--whether Ricochet had changed anyone's mind about a very significantly held belief. Today it changed mine.
In response to Meghan's reflections about the morality of using the atomic bomb, I left this comment:
The greatest cause for moral regret about our conduct in the Second World War, however, I would say is this: We could have bombed the train tracks to Auschwitz. We did not.
Our member David Foster replied:
Claire ... bombing the train tracks to Auschwitz.
I agree that we should have done this; however, railways in WWII prove remarkably resilient against aerial attacks. Unless you were lucky enough to hit a key bridge, they were back in operation very soon It's unlikely that sufficient damage could have been done on a continuing basis to put the camp out of operation.
It is possible, though, that such attacks combined with a heavy leafleting campaign about what was going on in the concentration camps *might* have had a meaningful effect on the will to resist in Germany.
While that one comment wasn't in itself sufficient for me to revise my opinion, it did prompt me to ask myself whether my knowledge of the historiography of this question was current.
Wasserstein's study--to which my link points--is not recent. In asking myself the question, I came across a Master's Degree thesis written by Rondall Raven Rice, in 1996. It persuaded me that David Foster is correct. I've been wrong about a belief I've held for a good twenty-five years.