Defeating the genocidal Axis required massive strategic bombing of cities, resulting in significant civilian casualties. Imagine if the media covered those casualties in the same naive and context-free manner in which they cover the necessary actions being taken by Israel to defeat the genocidal Hamas terror regime.
By the end of World War Two, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada had inflicted far more casualties on Germany and Japan than the Axis did on the United States, the U.K., or Canada.
It wasn’t even close.
The United States and Canada suffered almost zero civilian casualties in the war, while the U.K. managed to fend of Germany’s initial air assault after taking tens of thousands of casualties in the Blitz, and ultimately killed far more German civilians.
Since WW2 was a massive industrial war and since the civilian economies of the major belligerents were turned into full war economies, civilians were an integral part of the war effort. A civilian who worked in a factory that produced artillery shells was also a part of the war-machine, and that made factories legitimate military targets.
Bombing was quite inaccurate at the time, so – after initial failed attempts at precision bombing – the Allies switched to ‘area bombing.’ If you could destroy entire factories and the neighbourhoods surrounding those factories, you could make a meaningful dent in enemy production.
And it worked.
Germany’s production efficiency ramped up massively until about 1943-1944, and then remained largely frozen due to massive Allied bombing campaigns. Allied production meanwhile continued to become more efficient, since Germany couldn’t reach Allied military production facilities.
This came at a significant cost of course. Hundreds of thousands of German civilians – including many children – were killed in Allied bombing campaigns.
But, in the cold calculus of war, that cost was deemed worth paying, given that the Nazis had embarked on a brutal war of conquest and genocide and had to be completely defeated.
Had the Allies not bombed German cities, the war would have gone on much longer. The Holocaust would have gone on much longer. Hundreds of thousands – if not millions more Allied soldiers would have died.
The Soviets – who greatly benefitted from the Allied strategic bombing campaign as it enabled them to fight a less well-equipped Germany Army than would have otherwise been the case if the bombing didn’t happen – would have surely suffered millions more casualties above and beyond the horrific toll the war took on the Soviet Union – a war the Soviets and Germans launched together in 1939 before Germany’s betrayal of the USSR in 1941.
Could it happen today?
Here’s the thing.
Watching media coverage of Israel’s response to Hamas’ horrific terror attacks raises serious doubts about whether – if the media coverage had been the same back in the 1940s – the allies could have won World War Two.
After all, the Allied strategic bombing campaign was technically quite ‘disproportionate,’ in that far more German civilians died in Allied bombing raids than the other way around.
By 1944, the Allies had air superiority, meaning German cities could be demolished with relatively little resistance.
The bombing campaigns also generated some truly horrific incidents, including massive fireballs in the middle of cities that sucked people through the air into huge pits of burning bodies, people boiling to death in rivers, and even people melting into the streets as cities burned all round them.
Imagine if those images were shown over and over and over again.
Imagine if the media not only showed those images, but showed them without context – the context being that Germans voted for and then continued to support – or at least not overthrow – the genocidal Nazi regime as it rampaged across Europe.
And imagine if the media not only showed those images, not only showed them without context, but also constantly included the claims of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
Support for the war could have collapsed.
At the very least, there would have been massive pressure to ease up on the strategic bombing campaign, which – as mentioned – would have meant a longer war, more deaths of Allied soldiers, and a prolonged Holocaust.
Ironically, it would have also slowed down the democratic Allies more than the Soviet Union. The Soviets would still marched into Europe – at a much higher cost in lives of course – and would likely have taken all of Germany if not even all of France.
During World War Two, the media – though still imperfect – operated under some understandable restraints imposed by technological limitations and the realities of war.
Most constraints on the media were voluntary, as nobody wanted to share information that would lead to the deaths of Allied soldiers.
There was also a time delay. By the time images and reports of a city being demolished were released, the bombing had already happened. And it was obviously different to see a well-curated newsreel or listen to a media report about a city in flames than it would be to see people screaming and melting into the roads on a livestream.
But most importantly, the media – and society at large – understood the broader context of events.
It was well-understood that the Axis nations were not victims, rather they were genocidal aggressors who sought to victimize others, and who committed horrific crimes in their pursuit of conquest. Thus, it was also understood that the Axis was ultimately responsible for the suffering of their populations. After all, the Axis countries started the war, kept on fighting, and kept on committing genocide even after they had no chance of winning the war. By doing so, they prolonged the war, and made it necessary for the Allies to take harsher and harsher steps to bring the war to a conclusion.
There was also an understanding that – especially in the cases of Germany and Japan – the people had been so brainwashed and so radicalized that only an absolutely undeniable defeat and subsequent deprogramming from genocidal hatred could bring those countries back into the realm of reasonable nations.
In Germany’s case, it took having their entire economy and military destroyed.
In Japan’s case, it took two nuclear strikes.
In both cases, it was made obvious that total defeat and irreversible regime change were inevitable.
The same is true for the battle between Israel and Hamas.
Hamas is a genocidal terrorist regime that – like the Axis powers – must be completely defeated.
Because Hamas hides behind civilians, defeating Hamas will inevitably mean the deaths of many innocent people. It is indeed tragic, as no Palestinian child deserves to die because of Hamas. But Hamas has chosen to hide behind innocents, and the overall populace of Gaza chose to elect and then not overthrow Hamas, just as Germany chose to elect and not overthrow the Nazis.
And so, just as the Allies had to take actions that led to the deaths of civilians in Axis nations, Israel must take actions that will sadly result in the deaths of civilians in Hamas-controlled areas.
The Axis powers could have ended the war – and saved countless civilian lives – by surrendering far earlier than they did. They didn’t, forcing the Allies to fight on.
Hamas could end the war by releasing all the hostages and surrendering to Israel. They haven’t, forcing Israel to fight on.
This is the essential context that we must always remember, and that we must always demand the media explains. Otherwise, the constant stream of tragic images resulting from Israel’s necessary actions against genocidal Hamas terrorists risk twisting people’s minds and risks generating more and more pressure for Israel to stop before Hamas is fully defeated. That cannot be allowed to happen.