Letters - Examining why things happened as they did

One of the disciplines of history is to understand how people viewed the world at the time. Yes, the area bombing was terrible, but when the British began to bomb Germany, technological developments and the circumstances made it almost inevitable. Let's not forget that the German Vengeance weapons were designed to kill indiscriminately; if the British hadn't precision-bombed Peenemunde and the French launching sites they would have been ready much earlier, in far greater quantities. The bombings of Coventry and central London took place in 1940, long before the RAF was causing significant damage to Germany. It is easy to look back after 60 years and examine moral aspects of British policy. The historian's task is to examine why things happened as they did, rather than how we would have liked.

Jeff Porter
London WC1

This article first appeared in the 06 March 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Where did it all go wrong?