Talk:German bombing of Rotterdam

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British change of strategy[edit]

Closing discussion initiated by sockpuppet of User:HarveyCarter. Binksternet (talk) 21:25, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

The British did not start bombing Germany as a result of the attack on Rotterdam. The RAF had already bombed Monchengladbach on 11 May 1940, three days before Rotterdam was bombed. The change of strategy happened as a result of Churchill replacing Chamberlain as Prime Minister on 10 May. ( (talk) 20:13, 18 January 2016 (UTC))

I believe you need to read the sources again, the policy to bomb Germany east of the Rhine was clearly taken as a result of the destruction of Rotterdam. MilborneOne (talk) 20:43, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
No it wasn't. The RAF had begun bombing east of the Rhine on 11 May 1940. ( (talk) 12:31, 19 January 2016 (UTC))
Monchengladbach is west of the Rhine. The decision to bomb the Ruhr east of the Rhine came a few days later. But it was not, apparently, taken because of Rotterdam - that does indeed appear to be a bit of a myth. See below.Paulturtle (talk) 05:06, 20 January 2016 (UTC)


Closing discussion initiated by sockpuppet of User:HarveyCarter. Binksternet (talk) 21:25, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

The lies should be removed from this article. The RAF began blitzing Germany on 11 May 1940, three days before the Luftwaffe bombed Rotterdam. ( (talk) 12:52, 19 January 2016 (UTC))

Hardly blitzing. Munchengladbach is about 20 km from Dutch border. Operations against troops moving to the front line is far different from bombing factories or civilian housing. GraemeLeggett (talk) 12:58, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
The Germans were targeting military and industrial areas throughout the Blitz. Churchill began civilian bombing on 11 May 1940. The change in British strategy was because he replaced Chamberlain as Prime Minister, not because of the attack on Rotterdam which happened three days later. This article should not be giving false information. ( (talk) 16:44, 19 January 2016 (UTC))
You are clearly mistaken the British did not start bombing Germany until after the Rotterdam Blitz, operations were carried out against military targets behind the German front line before the Rotterdam Blitz, but the big change was as a result of the German bombing of Rotterdam. Perhaps you need to have a look at your sources and then come back to discuss them rather than edit war which is not constructive. MilborneOne (talk) 16:55, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Nope. The British began bombing German cities on 11 May 1940 as the RAF records show. Selwood mentions it here: ( (talk) 17:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC))
This article talks about the change to bombing non-military targets which did not happen until after Rotterdam, earlier attacks on Germany where against military and logistic targets in support of the German front line so not really relevant. MilborneOne (talk) 17:17, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
That may have been the official version, but civilians were bombed in the attack on Monchengladbach. The change of strategy for RAF Bomber Command was because of the invasion of France and because of Churchill replacing Chamberlain, not because of Rotterdam. ( (talk) 17:46, 19 January 2016 (UTC))
Four people killed (including one Englishwoman) during an attack on road and rail communications cant be called "blitzing Germany" as you put it. If you read the sources it is clear that Rotterdam was a significant turning point for British policy on bombing Germany. MilborneOne (talk) 18:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
No it wasn't. The RAF began bombing Germany on 11 May 1940, not 15 May. The London Blitz happened because the British bombed German cities first. ( (talk) 18:12, 19 January 2016 (UTC))
OK you are clearly not listening to what is being said here the bit in the article is about the major change in British strategy as a result of the Rotterdam attack which has nothing to do with who bombed who first. Please read the article and sources again, thanks. MilborneOne (talk) 19:28, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
  • "In just a few hours, around 25,000 to 35,000 civilians were blown up or incinerated." the range of 25,000-35,000 is based on old research the details of which can be found in Taylor's book and is explained in the article Bombing of Dresden in World War II.
  • "It was not the first time a German city had been firebombed. “Operation Gomorrah” had seen Hamburg torched on 25 July the previous year. " Wrong Operation Gomorrah did not happen a year before the Bombing of Dresden It happened in July 1943 closer to two years than one year before.
  • "Chief of the Air Staff Charles Portal had calculated that bombing civilians could kill 900,000 in 18 months," Wrong it was not Portal it was Frederick Lindemann see dehousing article.

It would have been impossible for the "But in November 1941 the Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command said he had been intentionally bombing civilians for a year." as the war was only a year old and the Area bombing directive was not issued until February 1942. The famous World War II Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command was Bomber Harris and he was not appointed until the same month as the directive was issued. The quote that is alleged that the commander said in November 1941 is "I mention this because, for a long time, the Government, for excellent reasons," I think this quote is probably a misquote both in time and the wording Bomber Harris who said in October 1943:

  • "the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories." see Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet for the sources for the quote.
  • 'In another letter he called it “terror bombing”'.
    1. It was not in a letter it was in a draft memorandum,
    2. what Churchill actually wrote (BTW it was discovered in the official archives by David Irving and first published by him) was "It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts,..."

Churchill officially reworded it when senior members of the Military objected to it. (see Bombing of Dresden in World War II). This is so sloppy, that Selwood would have been more accurate if he had used the Wikipedia articles as his source! One wonders what sources he used, he certainly did not use the reliable sources on which the Wikipedia articles are based.

So what makes the statement "Unfortunately, records show that the first intentional “area bombing” of civilians in the Second World War took place at Monchengladbach on 11 May 1940 at Churchill’s orders (the day after he dramatically became prime minister)" any more accurate than those in the rest of his article?

Apparently Dominic Selwood has included this article in a book he has authored

  • Dominic Selwood (12 December 2015). Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers: The history you weren't taught in school. Crux Publishing Ltd. pp. 209-210. ISBN 978-1-909979-33-8. 

I wonder how many other pages of the book is full of such inaccuracies. -- PBS (talk) 22:06, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Indeed, Selwood seems to be a bit sloppy in talking of "Area Bombing" which really got going a couple of years later, and indeed attributing a bit too much causal agency to Churchill's accession to the premiership. War Cabinet discussions went on for 11, 12, 15 May.
In fairness the article does not specifically say that the escalation of British bombing was a response to Rotterdam, merely that it came afterwards, and then cited to A.C.Grayling who perhaps hasn't researched that particular matter thoroughly. See Richard Overy p. 243: the attack on France was the matter discussed by the War Cabinet, not Rotterdam. Cited to the relevant Martin Gilbert companion volume, which presumably prints the War Cabinet minutes at greater length than in Vol 6 of his Churchill biography (although Rotterdam is not in the excerpts quoted there either). Certainly Rotterdam came to loom large in Allied propaganda - my late Dad used to bang on about it a lot - but it doesn't actually seem to have been the major factor at the time.Paulturtle (talk) 04:54, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
AC Grayling - who is obviously a world-renowned philosopher and highly qualified to discuss the moral arguments about deliberately killing enemy civilians, but not perhaps an authoritative source for this kind of thing, any more than he would be for the technical specifications of aircraft (I'm not saying he didn't do the best and most honest research he could, merely that all writers, outside their area of focus, make errors which can be picked up by those more deeply informed about that topic) - states (pp.33-6) that the change in policy came on 15 May as a result of Rotterdam. We now know that the first Allied strategic bombing, albeit much smaller in scale than the deaths caused by ground support operations at Rotterdam, was Monchengladbach and that the policy was extended east of the Rhine a few days later, and that documentary evidence shows that the War Cabinet did not discuss Rotterdam - it was an implementation of an escalation pre-agreed with the French the previous autumn. Grayling does not say why he attributes the change in policy to Rotterdam. My guess, and I stress that it is only a guess, is that such a claim was put about by Allied propaganda and found its way into some "classic" work like Churchill's "History of the Second World War" (which I have read but don't have immediately to hand). Grayling also describes Rotterdam as "area bombing" which would repay further investigation.Paulturtle (talk) 13:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
My grandfather used to believe we began bombing Germany because of the Luftwaffe's actions in Holland so I would imagine this erroneous view was deliberately propagated at the time. Surely Wilhelmshaven was the first strategic bombing on 3rd September 1939? ( (talk) 09:22, 29 January 2016 (UTC))
Well, I'm guessing Wilhelmshaven was purely an attempt to knock out a military target with minimal risk to civilians. And of course we are getting into all sorts of legalistic distinctions about what constitutes "area bombing" and the difference between killing quite a lot of civilians in Warsaw and Rotterdam, which were within the area of ground operations, and killing a handful at Monchengladbach which wasn't.
Grayling does make a few other errors in the preceding pages, writing that Chamberlain was ousted as Prime Minister as a result of Hitler's attack on the West (in fact it was as a result of the Narvik Debate; Hitler's attack on the West was purely coincidental and iirc Chamberlain tried to use it as an excuse to cancel his resignation) and that the incoming Prime Minister Churchill "ordered" an escalation of bombing which is, as discussed on his talk page, an exaggeration. However, his discussion of the actual Rotterdam bombing seems pretty fair - that it was all a massive cockup and the second wave aborted because the lead bomber saw the flares just in time, that the casualties (900 not 30,000) were massively exaggerated in Allied propaganda, and above all that it was seen as a watershed and an escalation by the Germans. Anthony Beevor, incidentally, in his history of WW2 out at the moment, also parrots the myth that Allied bombing was a response to Rotterdam.
“The German War” by Nicholas Stargardt (an Oxford academic), just out, is much more scholarly about this kind of thing. He discusses how, at the start of September 1939 and in response to a demand from President Roosevelt, both Chamberlain and Hitler pledged not to bomb civilian targets or open cities, this was followed by a public Anglo-French pledge (which, as Overy points out, the Allies then broke when the German assault on the West kicked off). He then quotes William Shirer speaking to German civilians of a left-wing persuasion, who were disgusted at how the British, in contrast to the Luftwaffe’s careful targeting of military targets in the UK, were “clearly” deliberately bombing German civilians (which they actually weren't, yet), and Hitler's announcement to an audience of squealing young women (nurses and social workers) that he was authorising the bombing of military targets in London as RAF "atrocities" called for a response. He also mentions (p.92) how the Germans harped on the supposed "murder of children" at Freiburg on 10 May blamed initially on the French and then the RAF, but actually bombed by the Luftwaffe in error. It's interesting that neither he nor Overy give any airtime (as it were) to the perhaps somewhat exaggerated tales of German bombing in Poland lovingly aired on Wikipedia (synagogues being deliberately bombed, etc).Paulturtle (talk) 04:14, 1 February 2016 (UTC)


Closing discussion initiated by sockpuppet of User:HarveyCarter. Binksternet (talk) 21:25, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Regardless of when the change in strategy was agreed, the RAF bombed a city in Germany on 11 May 1940 which was three days before the Luftwaffe bombed Rotterdam. ( (talk) 19:03, 19 January 2016 (UTC))

Probably best not to have the same discussion in mutliple places, if you have a reliable source that says the British did not have a major change of strategy then it is best if you replied above, thanks. MilborneOne (talk) 19:28, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 9 July 2017[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved – Consensus for descriptive title German bombing of RotterdamJFG talk 15:10, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

Rotterdam BlitzBombing of Rotterdam – Per WP:COMMONNAME. Significantly fewer book search results for: "Rotterdam Blitz" (1 100) vs "Bombing of Rotterdam" (4 300). K.e.coffman (talk) 03:04, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose There is a dab page at Bombing of Rotterdam because of Allied bombing of Rotterdam. As the WP:AT policy makes clear in the WP:COMMONNAME Ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined in reliable sources, are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources. Bombing of Rotterdam is ambiguous. Also the same section of the policy it states "Editors should also consider the criteria outlined above", One of those criteria is "Consistency – The title is consistent with the pattern of similar articles' titles", in this case the consistent naming convention is to use Blitz for German bombings eg Belfast Blitz, Liverpool Blitz etc and for Western Allied attacks "Bombing of name in World War II" as in Bombing of Cologne in World War II. -- PBS (talk) 15:52, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment -- I don't find the "Bombing of Rotterdam" to be ambiguous as it's the best known one. The hat note at the top of the article already takes care of Allied bombing of Rotterdam. Per WP:2DABS, the disambig page is not required.
Separately, I don't believe that the "consistent naming convention is to use Blitz for German bombings". We don't have articles called the Warsaw Blitz, the Stalingrad Blitz, the Wieluń Blitz, etc.
"Blitz" seems to be the term used to describe the German raids on British cities specifically, not all of the German raids. Hence the move to the Bombing of Rotterdam title seems appropriate. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:02, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
  • As the article on the Allied bombing of Rotterdam makes clear information about the Allied bombings was no emphasised for many years after the War, while that of the Germans was, but in fact as the article states "During the 128 [Allied] raids casualties amounted to 884 killed and a further 631 wounded" which according to this is just about the same casualty levels as those inflicted by the Germans, to move this article to the name you propose is a POV title for which there is a common non biased alternative. -- PBS (talk) 15:32, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Disambiguate, perhaps German Bombing of Rotterdam. Big POV problem. Blitz implied generic Nazi warfare, but it was the war crime of a devastating attack during negotiated ceasefire. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:10, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • what is your evidence that "Blitz implied generic Nazi warfare"? -- PBS (talk) 14:44, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • i meant present tense, "Blitz implies generic Nazi warfare". By "Blitz", it implies that the attack was the German blitzkrieg style of battle. Blitz meaning Blitzkrieg, defined even loosely by the opening sentence of that article, this attack was not blitzkrieg. That's my argument, logic not evidence. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 20:26, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • "Blitz meaning Blitzkrieg" How do you draw that conclusion? See also The Blitz, It is a common term for Germans bombing cities not Blitzkrieg eg Coventry Blitz. -- PBS (talk) 10:31, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Hmmm. Blitzkrieg, lightning war. Blitz, German air raids on U.K. Cities. Rotterdam was before, was not the same. Rotterdam was not like the other blitzes. But I'm not sure. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:53, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't have a dog in this fight, but have you guys considered: "German bombing of Rotterdam" as an alternative? Kierzek (talk) 23:33, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, German bombing of Rotterdam, lower case b bombing. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:06, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
I would oppose "German bombing of Rotterdam", as it's not a common name for the event. Side comment: I would not go as far as calling it an outright war crime; from what I read, while the surrender was being negotiated, the word did not reach the Luftwaffe in time for it to call off the attack (which was still indiscriminate, however). K.e.coffman (talk) 00:12, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
It is used, unlike other options.
Disambiguation is required because there is another bombing of Rotterdam, more significant in terms of coverage. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:25, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
The above Ngram seems to omit the proposed title; I've included it here: [1]. I would suggest that German bombing of Rotterdam be a redirect to Bombing of Rotterdam; it's used, but not as frequently as the proposed name. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:30, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
It is silly to ngram compare like that a short phrase with a long phrase. At least add "the " to the front. However, I agree with PBS that the proposed is not acceptable. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:40, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Also the comparison does not go beyond 2001. A search of Google books with no time limit returns 63 books for "German bombing of Rotterdam" and 82 for "Rotterdam Blitz". Putting a time restriction on both for just the 21st century returns 31 each. -- PBS (talk) 10:31, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per K.e.coffman's usage of "Blitz". While Bombing of Rotterdam has slightly less search results, this is only by 10,000, which is a small amount. -- Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 23:47, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • @User:Iazyges "this is only by 10,000" are you doing a search on all websites? If so that is irrelevant because most will not be reliable sources. Using Google Books is a better proxy for assessing usage in reliable sources. Hence the above mention of ngrams which survey Google Books, or the search that I did above. -- PBS (talk) 10:31, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - the proposed title appears to be more widely used, and I'd hazard a guess that use of "Rotterdam Blitz" is probably increased by the fact that that's been the wiki title for the past 11 years or so. It's also worth pointing out that this move has been proposed a number of times over the years, which suggests that the title isn't as "stable" as one might expect. This strikes me as an example of the Yogurt Principle. Parsecboy (talk) 00:14, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Per others above, this article should be at German bombing of Rotterdam which deals with the precision issue by differentiating it from Allied bombing of Rotterdam, but is consistent with it. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 01:22, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support German bombing of Rotterdam, clear, recognisable, as concise as is possible, and raises none of the issues of blitz. Andrewa (talk) 08:12, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    "and raises none of the issues of blitz." what issues are raised by blitz? -- PBS (talk) 10:09, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support German bombing of Rotterdam per nom and above comments.  — Amakuru (talk) 10:50, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Which comments? - -PBS (talk) 13:32, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Both "Bombing of Rotterdam" (ambiguous) and "German bombing of Rotterdam" (hardly used). I'm not sure that the google book searches are a particularly helpful indicator when one of the search terms is a simple descriptive phrase. If you think it is a valid method - "German bombing of Rotterdam" gets a puny 484 hits. (Hohum @) 11:55, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    • Google searching for ""German bombing of Rotterdam" -wikipedia" gave me "About 2,960 results", and scrolling down the first few pages, they are pretty good hits. Leaving out the "-wikipedia" gives a pretty good indication that calling this bombing a "blitz" is a wikipedia thing. Comparing Google scholar results for "German bombing of Rotterdam" versus "Rotterdam blitz" also gives clearly better quality results for the first. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 10:26, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support German bombing of Rotterdam its a clear, concise, and naturally disambiguated title that tells the reader what they are reading about. There is no good reason to keep it at blitz, and aiding in clarity for the reader is preferred when it won't come at the cost of concision. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:59, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support German bombing of Rotterdam, seems to me to sum it up.Slatersteven (talk) 09:59, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.