Auschwitz: Should It Have Been Bombed?

822 words - 4 pages

It was also argued that the allies should have been able to identify the crematoriums at Auschwitz from aerial photographs the allies had. These photos which, “are probably the best known and widely publicized aerial photographs of Auschwitz, were taken by an Allied air crew on 25 August 1944.” (Rubinstein, 165). They were taken inadvertently during a reconnaissance mission that was flown over southern Poland to take pictures of a chemical plant near Monowitz (Downing).
While the allies had these photographs in their possession since August of 1944, their existence was not known until much later. In fact, it was not discovered what they were photographs of until 1978. (Miller). There discovery was only possible at that time because of details that were only readable using advanced CIA technology (Heuvl). Another reason that they were never identified before then is because photo interpreters did not have the necessary experience in analyzing concentration or labor camps. Photo interpreters were instead specialized in analyzing industrial sites (Downing). On top of all this was the vast number of photographs the Allies had to handle; the average photograph intake per day at the Allied Central Interpretation Unit was 85,000 (Rubinstein, 168). All this means is that it is highly unlikely the photo interpreters would have been able to identify the crematoriums.
Some may see the bombing of the nearby I.G. Farben industrial plant as an event that did in fact show that the Allies were able to bomb the crematoriums. However, the procedure in bombing an industrial plant is completely different from what it would take to bomb the crematoriums at Auschwitz. First of all the bombing of the nearby industrial targets only came after months of intelligence work collecting detail photography and specifics such as size, hardness, structure placement, and defenses of the target (Heuvl).
Secondly an industrial plant does not require near the accuracy that would be needed to bomb the crematoriums. In the process of bombing a factory, anything hit on the complex was a gain for the allies and even the minor things could impede the production there (Rubinstein, 177). Conversely, in bombing the crematoriums, the only thing that would make the bombing a success would have been hitting the crematoriums, and hitting anything else would mean mass casualties. (Rubinstein, 177). Lastly, the industrial site, I.G.Farben, was bombed in order to cripple the Nazi war machine and end the...

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