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BRITAIN DOES IT HER WAY 2                                              | Britain does it her way 3


Anti-Aerial Bombing
This monument was erected following the failure of the 1932 World Disarmament Conference and Stanley Baldwin's statement that 'The bomber will always get through'. Its inscription reads:'To those who in 1932 upheld the right to use bombing airplanes this monument is raised as a protest against war in the air.' | more


control without occupation

Like other colonial powers, the British took to bombing restless natives in its colonies. It did not only destroy villages but irrigation ditches, water supplies and other essentials were also destroyed to make sure the natives got the message.

Britain bombed revolutionaries in Egypt, the Sultan of Darfur and put down an uprising on India's border with Afghanistan. During the third Afghan war in 1919, Dacca, Jalalabad, and Kabul were bombed by squadron chief Arthur Harris, who later promoted and directed the terror bombing of German cities. When the Egyptians demanded independence, the RAF sent in three squadrons of bombers to control the rebellious masses. In 1920, they bombed Iraq in an attempt to create a British puppet state. Only ten years after the first aerial bombardment, bombing from the air had become a regular feature of military activity.

Iraq was different. The RAF and its bombers were assigned to completely replace fifty-one battalions of soldiers, which was what the army had needed to control a country that, during the First World War, had freed itself from centuries of Turkish rule and now refused to accept the British as their new masters. This was called ‘control without occupation.’ In principle, the inhabitants were supposed to be warned before a raid. In principle, houses, animals, and soldiers were supposed to be targets, and not the elderly, women, or children. In practice, things didn't always go that way. The first report from Baghdad describes an air raid that causes wild confusion among the natives and their families. 'Many of them jumped into a lake, making a good target for the machine guns.'

Churchill wanted to be spared such reports. 'I am extremely shocked at the reference to bombing which I have marked in red. If it were to be published, it would be regarded as most dishonouring to the air force... To fire wilfully on women and children taking refuge in a lake is a disgraceful act, and I am surprised that you do not order the officers responsible for it to be tried by court martial...'

British bombing raid over Iraq 1924

| Britain does it her way 3