Book Review – The Leadership, Direction and Legitimacy of the RAF Bomber Offensive from Inception to 1945

The Second World War Military Operations Research Group

Peter Gray, The Leadership, Direction and Legitimacy of the RAF Bomber Offensive from Inception to 1945. London: Continuum, 2012. Appendices. Bibliography. Index. Hbk. 346pp.

Reviewed by Ross Mahoney, PhD Candidate, Centre for War Studies, University of Birmingham

Leadership

The Strategic Air Offensive against Germany and the Combined Bomber Offensive remain contentious and divisive areas of debate within the historiography of both the Second World War and the development of Air Power respectively. Essentially the central debate over the bomber offensive has been one between the exigencies of military effectiveness, the contribution the campaign made to the overall war effort and the philosophical view that it was a morally reprehensible act. A.C. Grayling, who has described the ‘Area’ bombing campaign as morally inexcusable, has summed up the latter position.[1] While this review is not the place to debate Grayling’s contentions it should be noted that his work is narrow in…

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