OTTAWA, June 13 /CNW Telbec/ - "The war record of Bomber Command could be
damaged by controversy over the morality of bombing civilian targets."
This was the statement of Cliff Chadderton, Chairman of the National
Council of Veteran Associations (56 member organizations), on reviewing the
Senate Sub-Committee report issued today regarding the controversial Bomber
Command panel in the Canadian War Museum.
The NCVA will increase its efforts to develop a positive image regarding
the contribution of Canadian and other allied squadrons in carrying out
bombing raids which brought about the eventual victory against Germany in
World War II.
"We suggest that the refusal to change an explanatory panel in regard to
the bombing campaign underscores the danger of leaving the public with an
incorrect perception in respect to the courageous achievements of Canadians in
Bomber Command, 10,000 of whom lost their lives," Chadderton stated.
The NCVA, which has been conducting an in-depth review of the air war and
its role in bringing about the eventual destruction of the Nazi-dominated
occupation of European and other countries during the early part of the 1940s,
has now adopted a counter-offensive against the War Museum.
Chadderton added that if the War Museum would not amend the panel as
recommended by the Senate Sub-Committee, it would seem necessary that
organizations directly connected with Bomber Command personnel would have to
develop a strategy to override the damage created by the offensive panel.
In this connection, The War Amps is re-releasing a documentary titled The
Boys of Kelvin High: Canadian in Bomber Command, which has won a number of
prestigious film festival awards (for example, Gold Award - Worldfest Houston
Film Festival). The War Amps first released the documentary in 2005. This
re-release is done on a 'no-cost' basis and usually results in extremely wide
"The film, at least in our opinion, will do a great deal to restore the
reputation of Canadians in Bomber Command," Chadderton said.
Research indicates that the source of the War Museum criticism of RCAF
bomber tactics first arose in a Canadian TV program titled The Valour and the
Horror, broadcast on CBC on January 19, 1992.
The part of the series called Death by Moonlight was the subject of an
investigation carried out by William Morgan, the former CBC Ombudsman.
Morgan's conclusion was, in part: "...I believe it is clear why I find
that the series as it stands is flawed and fails to measure up to CBC's
demanding policies and standards."
Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of
Civilization Corporation, commissioned a preliminary study on the panel.
David Bercuson of the History Department at the University of Calgary,
concluded that the Allies were justified in supporting the strategic bombing
of civilian areas in Germany. He found the offending paragraph on the Bomber
Command display ..."takes a side in the controversy and can be taken to imply
that the bombing was a waste of resources and innocent human life."
Another historian, Serge Bernier, Director of History for DND, told the
Museum: "We must admit that we are faced with a failure. As far as I am
concerned, I find it extremely unfortunate that the tremendous success of the
museum xxx is hit by this unexpected setback."
In a contrary opinion, Desmond Morton of McGill University told Dr.
Rabinovitch, "...as I read the panel, it records and illustrates an
irrefutable fact: there is a controversy. To change the wording because of
pressure group intervention would qualify as a suppression of historical
Historian Margaret MacMillan of the University of Toronto concluded: "In
my opinion, the exhibition was conceived and prepared in accordance with the
standards one would expect from a distinguished and reputable museum."
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