Journal Article

‘How many Frenchmen did you kill?’ British bombing policy towards France (1940–1945)

Lindsey Dodd and Andrew Knapp

in French History

Published on behalf of Society for the Study of French History

Volume 22, issue 4, pages 469-492
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0269-1191
Published online October 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-4542 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/fh/crn042
‘How many Frenchmen did you kill?’ British bombing policy towards France (1940–1945)

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The Allied bombing of France between 1940 and 1945 has received comparatively little attention from historians, although the civilian death toll, at about 60,000, was comparable to that of German raids on the UK. This article considers how Allied, and particularly British, bombing policy towards France was developed, what its objectives were and how French concerns about attacks on their territory were (or were not) addressed. It argues that while British policymakers were sensitive to the delicate political implications of attacking France, perceived military necessities tended to trump political misgivings; that Vichy, before November 1942, was a stronger constraint on Allied bombing than the Free French at any time and that the bombing programme largely escaped political control from May 1944.

Journal Article.  11728 words. 

Subjects: European History

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