Arthur Harris


Editor’s Note: Few senior Allied Commanders have been criticized as strongly as Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris. And even those critics who recognize the vital contribution Harris and the Bomber Command made to the defeat of Nazi Germany are disturbed by the tone of Harris’ letters to Churchill and Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal. Harris never wavered in his conviction that Germany could be defeated by strategic bombing with ground roops assigned to a secondary role. This view underlay his arguments for assigning priority to strategic bombing. In pursuing the case Harris mixed careful argument and clear logic with emotional attacks on those who doubted his doctrines. The following note, written shortly after Harris assumed command, displays Harris at his best, arguing the case for Bomber Command “as the only means of bringing assitance to Russian in time” and the only means “which will make subsequent invasion a possible proposition.”