“The raids which were made on London were very small indeed compared with the raids which were made on the German towns.”
— R.A.F. Squadron Leader Ernest Kinghorn
I am probably the only honourable Member (of Parliament) who, throughout the war, was able to see, day by day, the results of our bombing and the building up of our great bombing technique—carried out, mainly, of course, by heavy bombers.
We have heard some horrific stories produced from the professors in Chicago about the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. If honourable Members could have read some of the reports I had to read after our own bombing raids on Hamburg and similar places, they would have been seen to be just as frightful. What would emerge, were they conversant with those details, would be that the old system of Civil Defence, however good and well administered it was in this country, would not be the slightest use against any enemy who adopted, not merely the atomic bomb technique, but even the technique we were using at the end of the war. I remember stories coming through —perhaps from prisoners of war—after some of the bombing raids, when the inhabitants were whirling through the streets like flaming torches; and Goebbels himself said over the German wireless that the streets of Hamburg were flowing with fire.
Again, there was the dreadful raid on Dresden—which had never been one of our targets—towards the end of the war, when the Russians were more or less at the gates. Those raids cannot be compared with the raids undertaken by the Germans over our territory, because the Germans never built up a bomber force at all. The biggest mistake that Goering ever made was in not building up a bombing force. The raids which were made on London were very small indeed compared with the raids which were made on the German towns. We have to take the job in hand and try to work it out, not from our point of view, but from the point of view of the Germans. Even if war never breaks out in our lifetime, the Government of the day must work these things out and be prepared.