Talk:The Blitz

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British English[edit]

This article is written in British English. This has more implications than spelling. In particular, in Britain the passive voice is not deprecated and closely related sentences are often connected by a semicolon rather than being separated by a period. The reason for this post is that an editor has made a heroic edit correcting grammar. Many of these 'corrections' were simply substituting US conventions in place of British grammar. Since this was a good faith edit and it didn't actually do any harm, I haven't reverted it. Nevertheless it was just fiddling around the edges. OrewaTel (talk) 23:07, 20 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That being so, can anyone explain why tonnages of bombs dropped are given first in 'short tons' (ie American 2000lb tons) rather than 'British' (long 2240lb) tons? Was this the practice at the time, or is it now normal among military historians and so in the sources? John O'London (talk) 10:14, 10 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was not and never has been normal practice. Short tons, like short pints and short gallons, are purely American units that are used nowhere else. Britain uses real tons and everyone else uses tonnes. (1 tonne is just 35lb 6½ oz less than 1 ton so 1 ton is only 1.6% greater than 1 tonne.) I don't see why short tonnes are even mentioned in this article but Wikipedia seems addicted to using little units. Perhaps we should simply put the units in the correct order. British first (it is a British article), Global second and local American units third. Alternatively we could put the weights in Global, British, American order. OrewaTel (talk) 22:28, 11 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A major edit has changed all Short Tons to normal Tons and Tonnes. It may be useful to audit these changes to make sure that I've got the lot. Also there were some suspiciously round short-ton figures in sections that had references written by British authors. Since no British author would use short tons, it is possible (likely) that these figures were actually long tons and the article contains figures that are about 10% low. It is necessary to audit the figures and I invite anyone who has some source books to so do. OrewaTel (talk) 02:37, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

German Language[edit]

This article is about interaction between Germany and United Kingdom and consequently contains a number of German words. These have, correctly, been tagged using {{lang|de|Wörter}}. (Rendered as Wörter.) But there are some Germanic words that are either proper nouns or English words. A good example is Luftwaffe. Whilst this is German for 'Air weapon', here it is simply the name of the German Air Force and is not a translatable German word. Similarly 'Blitz' is German for lightning but here is an English word to denote this bombing campaign. That it was derived from a German word 'Blitzkrieg' is irrelevant. (That a long drawn out bombing campaign is about as far from Blitzkrieg as you can get is equally irrelevant.)

I am effecting an audit of words tagged as German with a view to removing the tag from proper names and English words. I shall tag any untagged German words if I find any. OrewaTel (talk) 00:56, 26 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

24~25 AUG events omitted, causing biased article[edit]

The direct cause of The Blitz were a series of events on 24~25 August 1940. Prior to this there was a "gentleman's rule" between the RAF and Luftwaffe to not strike civilian targets. On the night of 24 August, Luftwaffe bombers striking military targets on the outskirts of London drifted off course and mistakenly bombed a suburb of London. The German pilots were reprimanded by their command, but Churchill took this as a deliberate attack on civilians and retaliated by bombing Berlin on 25 August, which resulted in little damage or death, but enraged the Germans and the whole "gentleman's rule" went sideways, triggering The Blitz, and starting the domino effect that would later lead to horrors like Dresden. With these facts omitted from the article it whitewashes the Allies. (talk) 01:54, 17 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Whilst the events of 24 August 1940 are notable they were not that important and their importance did not relate to any non-existent 'gentleman's rule'. At the same time as the Luftwaffe were accidentality bombing London they were deliberately bombing Portsmouth killing 100 people. The Germans thought that Berlin was too far away to be a target. The retaliation raid on Berlin was not to provoke the Blitz; it was to demonstrate that nowhere in Germany was safe. That the raid coincided with a speech declaring that it was technically impossible for RAF bombers to reach that far was a bonus.
The Nazis had already declared their intention of bombing any resisting country into submission and their efforts in the Spanish Civil War demonstrated that they did not consider civilians off limits. It would be naïve to think that the entire Luftwaffe strategy was determined by a moment of pique. (Although one or two retaliatory raids on London may well have been.) As regards the horrific raids on Hamburg and Dresden, they need (and have) complete articles to discuss the causes and effects. You cannot blame a handful of Wellingtons. OrewaTel (talk) 04:15, 17 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What's "Harrison 1998"[edit]

I cannot find "Harrison 1990" defined. As of 2022-10-23 I saw ""Harrison 1998, p. 112" cited as a second source for, "a November 1940 census of London, found that about 4% of residents used the Tube and other large shelters, 9% in public surface shelters and 27% in private home shelters, implying that the remaining 60% of the city stayed at home."

I've found that "Harrisson 1976, p. 112" gives those numbers. I am changing "Harrison 1990" to "Harrisson 1976" and adding that reference. DavidMCEddy (talk) 02:16, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Fraserburgh raided 23 times (talk) 21:54, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A section was added that was based on observations made by Tom Harrisson in his book Living Through The Blitz. The book was based upon the contemporary "Mass Observation" survey. Unfortunately this Wikipedia section was at variance with Harrison's book. It also is at variance with my memories. Okay! My memories are anecdotal at best and probably constitute original research but they correspond more or less to what Harrison actually wrote. I have removed the section as in its current form it is beyond saving although a more carefully written version may be interesting and useful. OrewaTel (talk) 03:35, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How does it misrepresent Harrison's book?
How do you think it should be changed?
The section you deleted was structured around quotes from Harrison, for which page citations were provided.
From Robert Pape (1996). Bombing to win: air power and coercion in war. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-3134-4. OL 808331M. Wikidata Q107458786., I got the impression that the British commoners were not ready to put their lives on the line when their government declared war 1939-09-03, barely a generation after having sacrificed so many young men in a senseless war that officially ended 1919-11-11. The Blitz changed that. Then they came to support Churchill, "We shall never surrender." This summary from Harrison seems more authoritative and better nuanced than what I had previously gotten from Pape. DavidMCEddy (talk) 03:54, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To use your example the deleted section cited Harrison to say that the population rejected "never surrender". Actually Harrison said people were not cheerful and that was mistaken interpreted by the authorities as poor morale. Harrison stated that German bombing had little effect on the war and (with a lot of caveats) went on to demonstrate that this was largely true. He also said that the same was true of the British bombing campaign in Germany and the article quoted him. Unfortunately Tim Harrison was not qualified to judge and events proved that statement to be false. How to improve that section? Well keeping to the facts would be a good start. OrewaTel (talk) 05:08, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia requires citations on any contentious issue.
What documentation do you have to support what you call "facts" in this case?
I perceive two issues in what you have written: (1) British public opinion 1939-1945, and (2) what qualifies Harrisson to even comment on that. In the following, I propose to comment on these two issues in the reverse order after first digressing to discuss epistemology -- how we can know anything.


My summaries of epistomology are contained in the Wikiersity articles on "How can we know?" and "Confirmation bias and conflict. A key reference in both is Daniel Kahneman (2011) Thinking, Fast and Slow, which summarizes seminal research for which Kahneman won the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, even though he is not an economist: He's a research psychologist, who invented ways of asking questions that documented fundamental defects in how people think and make decisions. In so doing, he helped create a new field of research called "behavioral economics" in the intersection of economics and psychology.

User:OrewaTel, you say we should keep to the facts.

Conflicts exist in situations like this precisely because it's not possible for humans to know the "facts". In my judgment, that's precisely why Wikipedia stresses Wikipedia:Citing sources.

Harrisson's qualifications to discuss the British public opinion 1939-1945[edit]

Tom Harrisson "was a founder of the social observation organisation Mass-Observation" in 1937. The Wikipedia article on him says he "continued directing Mass-Observation ... from May 1942 until June 1944." He wrote several summaries of the observations collected by that project including Tom Harrisson (1976). Living through the Bliz. William Collins, Sons. ISBN 0-00-216009-9. Wikidata Q114816028. If I understand correctly, Mass-Observation contains the most authoritative data on British public opinion between 1937 and 1944, and Harrisson seems to have been the individual with the deepest understanding of that database during that period and again in the 1970s when he was preparing that book.

British public opinion 1939-1945[edit]

What evidence do you have that "events proved that" Harrisson's claims were false?

In particular, what part of the section that you deleted was proven to be false by events?

That section ended, 'Defeatism was relatively rare. Most people regularly showed up for work, did what they normally did to support their family and friends, and "propped their leaders up, in a situation where leadership at the local level was lacking."[1]'

The Wikipedia article on the United States Strategic Bombing Survey claims 'The reports' conclusions were generally favorable about the contributions of Allied strategic bombing towards victory, calling it "decisive".' However, it does NOT cite a source on this point, and that survey documented that German production of war materials increased rather than decreased after cities were bombed. John Kenneth Galbraith, who was one of the leading "officers" of that survey insisted that strategic bombing -- including the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary, because the leaders of Japan had already agreed to surrender but needed time to process that decision through the Japanese bureaucracy. That position is controversial but is supported by more recent research, especially Robert Pape (1996). Bombing to win: air power and coercion in war. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-3134-4. OL 808331M. Wikidata Q107458786. and M. Horowitz; D. Reiter (1 April 2001). "When Does Aerial Bombing Work?: Quantitative Empirical Tests, 1917-1999". Journal of Conflict Resolution. 45 (2): 147–173. doi:10.1177/0022002701045002001. ISSN 0022-0027. Wikidata Q29303332..

The facts[edit]

As previously noted, it is impossible for humans to know "the facts". At its best Wikipedia summarizes the range of responsible opinions supported by credible documentation. That's why Wikipedia asks people to write from a neutral point of view citing credible sources and discussing contentious questions on the "Talk" page associated with each article.

User:OrewaTel:Can you please be more specific about both what you don't like in the section you deleted and about what credible sources you have to support your objections. Thanks, DavidMCEddy (talk) 08:20, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Let's remove the straw man argument. Tom Harrison's competence to talk about British Public Opinion was never in doubt. That the article fairly represented his book is another matter. His comment about the effectiveness of British bombing was a throwaway line. The rest of the book was well-researched and based upon measured fact. The bombing comment came from nowhere and seemed to be part of the revisionist fashion of the late 1970's. That the bombing of 1940-1941 was largely ineffective in materiel terms is true although that is not the only factor.
My objection is that aside from one good point made from page 13 everything else came from a misreading of pages 280-282. I was going to plaster the article with [failed verification] stickers but the advice on that template is that misleading or false claims should be deleted. OrewaTel (talk) 20:57, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Harrisson (1976, p. 281).

Why you unedit[edit]

WHY WW2 veteran hi (talk) 04:11, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The edit translated 'Blitz' as 'Lightning War'. Whilst the initial German land campaign was indeed a 'Blitzkrieg' the bombing campaign was named 'The Blitz' by British people. It is difficult to find anything that is less like a Blitzkrieg than a long slow drawn out bombing campaign targetting the same place time and again. The Blitz is never called a 'Lightning War' by British people. Of course, if you think you know differently then provide evidence. OrewaTel (talk) 02:46, 26 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]