That there are no memorials to Adolf Hitler is due to the heroic contribution of Bomber Command crews to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Without their sacrifice, we might today have memorials in cities like Dresden to the “brave concentration camp guards” who gassed millions of Jews, for example, or the good burghers of Dresden might be celebrating “Joseph Goebbels Day” with marching columns of SS troops and concerts in the evening.
Nobody cannot but feel great regret over the loss of so many lives, young and old, civilian and military. But all they had to do to avoid Dresden being bombed was to stop killing our troops, to stop supporting Hitler and the war effort. They have to reconcile their fate to their conduct during the war because they brought it upon themselves.
In the meantime, we have a long-standing debt of gratitude to the brave airmen who suffered the highest casualty rates of any of the armed forces. 55,000 killed out of 125,000 aircrew is an astonishing loss rate and would have been well known to the crews each time they took off for a mission. Albert Speer, Hitler’s armaments minister, wrote that the air war was their greatest lost battle, citing the massive resources of troops and weaponry diverted from the front line.
Bomber Command played a major role in winning the war against tyranny, in preserving freedom not just for us, but for Europe for generations to come. They are themselves a lost generation, young men who never came back, who left grieving families at home, who made the ultimate sacrifice. They must have their memorial.
I very much regret that Helma Orosz, the mayor of Dresden, is in Britain today campaigning against that memorial. She is in effect acting as an apologist for the Nazis, and she and the rest of the citizens of Dresden have to reconcile themselves to their past and their support for everything that Hitler did.
I wrote more about this earlier this year if you are interested: