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As it Happened -

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(generated from captions) flowers on the table, In the soup kitchens there would be there would be tablecloths, the waiters were nicely dressed people were... to each other. and people were very courteous So there was this feeling that the misery of it all. they were going to rise above But the miners don't act alone. all kinds of people In valleys like this, to private individuals from local councils to keep them going. donate sums of money the strikers. The community was supporting it was a community decision. There was no doubt - very angry, And this made the government longer than it would have done. because the strike could go on from their communities The support they receive to hold out for seven long months. enables the striking miners But in the autumn of 1926 force them back to work. hunger and weariness

less money. They went back for longer hours, all, because they were blacklisted. And the militants didn't go back at into very grim times really. So the whole community is sunk

until the Second World War. And the picture doesn't change much in the South Wales coalfield The full horror of what happens is hard to take in, even now. during the 1930s Reduced in many cases for free fuel to scrabbling around on slag heaps and withdrawn. men become deeply depressed

and despair. Women submit to lives of drudgery And children go hungry. to starve perhaps, Not quite hungry enough but not far off it either. they lose their teeth. Some people are so badly nourished On a visit to South Wales in 1936, conditions that result. King Edward VIII sees the appalling when this works closed down. 9000 men lost their jobs The king is visibly shocked. "Something must be done" he says. in the short run at least... But very little is,

many people give up hope. As a result, and board a bus or train They gather up their belongings or anywhere in fact, bound for London or Liverpool, might just lie. where a brighter future In just seven turbulent years, leave Wales to live elsewhere, a quarter of a million people mostly in England. are in this country at that time. It tells you just how bad things The '30s are a troubled decade. But it's not all bad news. suffer dreadfully too, People in North and West Wales

coal mining areas of the north-east. especially those who live in the in the gloom. But there are a few bright spots Steel production helps Wrexham survive the collapse production of artificial textiles. while Flint is saved by the along the North Wales coast The many seaside resorts strung out fare reasonably well too, by English holidaymakers. buoyed up as they are the hard-pressed coalfields And even in they can fall back on. people have things provides a great means of escape. Cinema going, for instance, they can just get through the week Thousands of people find Saturday night in the picture house, so long as they can spend or some other Hollywood star. with Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich By such means, people survive. it's clear to many in Wales When the 1930s draw to a close, of a long road. that they've come to the end Life in Wales is transformed of coal and slate. by the immense natural bounty is now modern Wales. Pre-industrial Wales But the bounty is running out. are being weakened The forces of industry and Wales faces a new challenge, to reinvent itself an even more daunting challenge into a second World War. as the nation is about to be plunged Captions (c) SBS Australia 2012

Hello, I'm Ricardo Goncalves.

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full World News Australia bulletin at 10:30. of the war in Europe, On September 1, 1939 - the first day issued an urgent appeal. President Franklin Roosevelt He called on all combatants to:

defeated, six years later, By the time Hitler was finally had killed thousands of civilians. Allied bombs and America's lofty ideals And both enemy cities were in ruins. arrived in England The United States Eighth Air Force with confidence high. that airpower The Americans believed had revolutionised modern warfare. heavy bomber fleet, And that their new American pilots and crews, flown by well-trained the thus-far unstoppable Nazis. would prove decisive against

in their first action of the war, On August 17, 1942, a small fleet of American bombers 200 miles away in occupied France. set out to bomb a railroad yard of the American bombing strategy It would be the first combat test military and industrial objectives precisely targeting and avoiding civilian populations.

B-17 flying fortresses - The specially-designed bombers - off German fighters along the way. bristled with machine guns, fending despite the risks - The Americans flew in daylight - with state-of-the-art bombsites, to enable the bombardiers, to aim with unprecedented precision. The rail yard was severely damaged. All of the B-17s returned safely. mission an unqualified success. And the Americans deemed their first the American heavy bombers Today is the first time in this theatre, have been in action and American squadrons. manned by American crews

a flyer since World War I, General Carl Spaatz, American Air Forces in Britain. was commander of all Between the wars of precision bombing. he had helped develop the theory General Eaker commanding the bomber command led this flight... General Ira Eaker was charged with putting the theory into practice, convinced that his bombing campaign

would bring a belligerent Germany to its knees. The Americans had developed a theory in the 1930s that was all about finding specific cogs, specific nodes in the enemy war economy,

and taking those out, eliminating those, and thereby dismantling the entire enemy war economy. Precision bombing doctrine was fervently believed by... by most leaders and most airmen. They really thought what they were doing was the best way to go about fighting a war. After the first US mission, American reporters attending General Eaker's briefing

trumpeted a great success. But their British allies did not think much of the American bombers or the American strategy.

The British are looking at this with a rather jaded eye, because they're thinking - first of all, this is a tiny effort. Second of all, you're doing things that we tried and couldn't do. You'll make a lot of the same mistakes we made. Like Roosevelt, England's Prime Minister Winston Churchill

had once regarded civilian targets off limits and advocated precision bombing. Churchill was on record repeatedly between the wars as saying that he believed that the air force which concentrated strictly on attacking military objectives and did not attack civilians would be the side that not only deserved to prevail but would prevail when war came. On the very first day of war, the Germans bombed civilians... in Warsaw... and later in Rotterdam... then, in 1940, they hit England. When some German bombers fly off course at night in late August 1940 and attack a portion of London,

Churchill takes this as an opportunity to respond in kind against Berlin. Hitler is so upset by that that he then responds by attacking London. into a new phase. It moves the war into bombing of cities, attacks on cities, attacks on civilians. The strategic intention of the attack on London was to destroy military installations and their harbour. But if you read the commentaries which Joseph Goebbels wrote into his diary. He didn't write "Shit! The bombs went astray into the civilians!" No! No. He's rejoicing. Hitler says "Take the harbours" - then the bomb takes the city and Goebbels says... "Fine. We make a hell out of it!" So the bomb teaches the bomber what to do. Commander Arthur Harris, who took over as head of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command in 1942, had learned the bomb's lessons well. He had studied the Nazi attacks on England, meticulously analysing the damage inflicted by explosive bombs and incendiaries. The deadly work, he concluded, could be done better still.

The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everybody else

and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put that rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.

The RAF had initially tried bombing German military targets by day,

until unsustainable losses and poor results compelled them to change. The way to inflict maximum harm on the enemy, Harris now insisted, was to bomb hard-to-miss German cities,

under cover of darkness. The Americans emphatically disagreed. There was a fervent sense among most Air Force leaders that this was not the way to go. It was ineff... Bombing cities was inefficient. It was... It was the wrong use of your air assets. We felt we had better weapons than the Brits. We felt the B-17, the B-24 were better bombers than the British had.

We had better bombsights, better training. We could do this. Even though they couldn't, we could. Allied leaders, meeting in January 1943,

opted to combine the American and British strategies. Harris and Eaker were ordered to coordinate a round-the-clock bomber offensive.

To undermine "..the morale of the German people "to a point where their capacity for armed resistance "is fatally weakened" the British would focus on bombing cities at night. The Americans would do their best to achieve "..the progressive destruction "of the German military, industrial and economic system" bombing by day.

Both air forces took aim at Hamburg, a ship-building centre on the Elbe River. The Americans were interested in it because they wanted to attack the elements of the German war economy that were located in Hamburg. The British were interested in it because they wanted to take it down as a city.

KEITH LOWE: There was another reason why they chose Hamburg. It was because it was close. It was just a short hop across the North Sea. So, not only was it a very important target, it was also a very convenient one. Hamburg was the largest port in Germany and the country's second-largest city with over one-and-a-half million people. Among them, 10-year-old Ralph Giordano. The same shipyard was turning out the submarines that were wreaking havoc on Allied shipping in the Atlantic. And close by, were important manufacturing centres for the German aircraft industry. Hamburg was exceptionally well-defended. Air raid shelters, some in massively armoured concrete towers, provided protection for nearly a quarter million people. With heavy flak guns on top they could fire shells four miles into the air. Outside the city, interceptor bases were scattered along the North Sea, with 1500 Messerschmitt 109s on constant alert. The challenge for the Allies was to evade those formidable defences controlled by a string of early warning radar stations. On Saturday July 24, 792 RAF bombers readied for a night attack on Hamburg. Each loaded with tons of high explosives and incendiary bombs. It was the first of a series of attacks that would continue for an entire week... code-named Operation Gomorrah. KEITH LOWE: It was a hugely complicated operation getting all these 700 or 800 bombers into the sky without causing any collisions. They would take off one by one from each of the airfields which lined the coast of Britain.

Gradually they would assemble over the North Sea into a very long bomber stream. Tonight, for the first time, they were using a brand-new secret weapon. The flight engineer would shovel out these silver foil strips each would show up on the German radar as a single blip And the German defences were completely negated. Between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., more than 2000 tons of high explosive bombs and over 350,000 incendiaries were dropped on the west side of the city. Ralph Giordano and his mother were in a shelter below. Then, that afternoon, came the Americans. 123 B-17s, flying in broad daylight. Once airborne, the fleet assembled into box formations to defend themselves against enemy fighters. Harry Crosby, just out of college in Iowa, was a lead navigator. Hardest part was to get them all in order, because we... when we flew, we all followed the lead crew, which would be me. And if I didn't find that target the work of a million Americans was wasted. The Americans had a much more difficult job to do than the British did. Firstly, they weren't bombing under cover of darkness and they didn't have the benefits of this new radar-jamming device. So as soon as they approached German air space the German fighters were on them in a trice. The Nazi fighters did their share of damage, then peeled off as the bombers approached the city. Now the Americans faced an even more fearsome obstacle -

the giant flak guns firing at them from below. When people were shooting at you, you should be able to dodge, but you couldn't do it. You just had to go right straight on in. When they arrived over Hamburg, the entire city was completely smothered in smoke. They couldn't see anything, let alone their targets. Then, almost by a miracle, a gap appeared and there they could see the Blohm and Voss shipyards. Hamburg's key shipyard was badly damaged... along with an airplane engine factory, and a power station: military targets, rendered all but useless by American precision bombing. (ROAR OF PLANE ENGINES) On the fourth night, the RAF returned with more incendiaries. One of the pilots was 22-year-old Bill McCrea. BILL McCREA: This was the big raid, the firestorm raid. We could see the fires an hour's flying from Hamburg, but when we got nearer we could see this tower, this pillar of smoke which was rising over 20,000 feet. (ROAR OF PLANE ENGINES) It was just like an active volcano. The bombers went across, dropping their bombs in there. It kept erupting and shooting up these sparks and flame. When Operation Gomorrah finally ended, there had been four British attacks on the city and two American raids on the port. The toll was 45,000 people killed - 60 per cent of the city utterly destroyed. I wasn't thinking about the people on the ground. I was just thinking about myself and my crew. I had been ordered to do a job. I'd been ordered to put these bombs in the aircraft, drop them on Hamburg and get back home so you could go again tomorrow night or the night after. There would be a bridge to hit or there would be a factory to hit, or there would be a gun emplacement to hit. And you never thought about any human beings there. KEITH LOWE: In the aftermath of the firestorm, almost a million refugees fled Hamburg and took with them stories of the most terrible horror that they had witnessed. This caused a panic across Germany which was unlike anything that they had ever experienced before. The panic extended to the highest reaches of the Third Reich. Hitler refused even to visit the devastated city, sending Luftwaffe head Hermann Goering in his stead. His minister in charge of armaments warned that a series of similar Allied attacks would bring German war production to a complete halt. And there were many who truly believed that the Germans would be forced to capitulate. The British establishment certainly thought that this might be the case, and there was a flurry of memos suggesting that perhaps the war might even be over by Christmas. The war would not be over by Christmas - far from it. Allied airmen would still be sent on missions from which many would not return. They would still confront a determined enemy that fought on, despite relentless punishment. And the Americans would still insist pinpoint daylight bombing would win the war.

I wish Lyn could walk, she could run like a child.

I wish she could feed herself, get herself a drink. I wish she could open the door when the doorbell rang. I wish speed wasn't an issue for people's busy lives. (TAKES BREATH) (BREATHING CONTINUES) You might already be aware that the National Broadband Network rollout is currently underway. And as it continues to reach every home and business across Australia,

it's also good to know that over 30 NBN retail providers

can deliver world-class broadband wherever you live at a price that doesn't discriminate between city and country. For more information on pricing, visit australia.gov.au/nbn/pricing In the aftermath of the Hamburg attacks, the American and British commanders remained committed to their sharply divergent strategies. Eaker continued to press precision attacks on industrial targets. Harris championed the bombing of cities. And the city he was focused on was the centre and the symbol of Nazi power...

Berlin. (Crowd sings) # Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles... # SIR MAX HASTINGS: Berlin was almost Harris's nemesis. He allowed himself to become obsessed with it. He convinced himself that if he got 4000 Lancaster sorties to Berlin, he could bring Germany to defeat, to surrender by April 1, 1944. He gave an explicit date. He said in another memorandum Bomber Command 400 or 500 aircraft, that attacking Berlin might cost but it would cost Germany the war. Over six months, sent his planes the head of Bomber Command on the Nazi capital. on 19 mass attacks on a single mission... As many as 800 bombers nearly 11,000 bombing sorties. over 10,000 civilians were killed. In the city below,

Nearly half a million made homeless. All this pain inflicted on Berlin would rise up against Hitler. in the hope that the Germans That's the method of terror. 80 million Germans, You cannot torture but if you torture successfully...

seven millions in Berlin, would come to their senses. the rest of Germany So you need the theatre of pains. the Hamburgisation of Berlin, All German cities should witness the great Sodom of modern ages. all the sinners would say "Not me," And then, afterwards, and overthrow Hitler. But in a police state, from the government means death. withdrawing support a mass uprising. You're not going to have but it didn't matter. So yes, morale was lowered, People still showed up for work, and they went about their lives - but persisting. crushed, not believing in victory,

have a special war aim, Civilian populations from their leaders' war aims. which is completely different It is a very simple one. of the civilian population The war aim is to survive. Despite the incessant bombing, remained firm. the Nazis' hold on Berlin took tremendous punishment. But the RAF More than 600 planes downed. Nearly 2700 fliers killed. on German morale or productivity. All with no discernible impact city-bombing campaign, In the midst of Harris's preparing for an important test the American airmen had been of their own strategy. On the morning of August 17, 1943, on their mission. General Eaker's fliers were briefed ball-bearing factories Their primary target - of Schweinfurt. in the southern German city the entire American theory. Schweinfurt kind of crystallises Here are ball bearings, in virtually all industries - which are essential of a modern industrial economy. in the-the working for everything. DON MILLER: You need ball bearings choke point targets, This is one of these without ball bearings, that if you knock that out, industry starts to break down. They were flying deep into Germany TAMI DAVIS BIDDLE: without fighter escort across enemy territory and because they were having to fly for a very long time and intercepted. they could be tracked Hundreds of Luftwaffe fighters at the unescorted B-17s. took dead aim are absolutely ferocious. DON MILLER: These air battles as it were. And they're going in there naked, The plane is not pressurised as low as 60 degrees below zero, so the mask is on and it's freezing, are actually gun portals because the rear windows and they're open to the air. you're fighting the Luftwaffe. So you're fighting the weather, flying over their homeland, And the Germans, you see, and up again. can land, re-arm, re-fuel, all the way in. They're just pulverising them through the fighters The crews that made it were still at great risk. To bomb with precision, flying straight and level they had to approach the target through dense flak. They could not take evasive action until their payload was dropped. Even after the bombs were away, returning from Schweinfurt the American crews from enemy fighters. found themselves under withering fire And it's a catastrophe. DON MILLER: One of the guys in the planes on the ground, said that he looked down and he said "My God, there's... all along the ground." "there's haystacks burning Well, they were B-17s. That's 600 men. They lose 60 bombers. lost on a single mission It's the largest number of Americans up to this point in the war. for the 8th Air Force. A staggering blow Despite the losses, dangerous mission two months later. Eaker sent his men on the same in October of 1943. They went back to Schweinfurt the losses were truly devastating - And in that raid another 60 bombers shot down, 138 damaged. that kind of loss levels You can't sustain and continue to have an offensive. over any period of time, 77 per cent of the guys DON MILLER: are casualties. who flew in the first months of surviving. They have a 1-in-4 chance You'd go out and come back, would be missing, and part of your crew part of your plane would be missing. on the young kids. It was pretty hard

You know... (Laughs) I was afraid! Ah... but... I just had to do it. And... of course, the worst part and doing it again. was getting up the next day

Crews were coming home TAMI DAVIS BIDDLE: and looking at empty bunks buddies were the night before. where their friends and their They're no longer there. in a prison camp somewhere, Maybe they're alive or maybe they're dead, but they're not there any longer. they're guinea pigs DON MILLER: The guys start to feel in an experiment that's not working. 20% casualties in every mission. No air force can survive of gloom and doom There's a growing sense to win the war with this air weapon, that they're not going to be able and too dangerous. that it's just becoming too costly Eaker remained undeterred, his strategy unchanged. Precision bombing, he insisted, conducted by unescorted B-17s, could do the job. He's terrifically stubborn. gets it out of his mind - And he never, ever I should say - out of his belief system, that this thing won't work - into the heart of the Reich, that unescorted bombers can go do heavy damage, and not take unsustainable losses. And he kept that belief stubbornly relieved of his command. to the point where he was (BAND PLAYS MILITARY MARCHING MUSIC) In December, 1943,

Spaatz replaced Eaker with a legendary airman, General Jimmy Doolittle. General Spaatz, distinguished guests, the strategic effort must go on and the better the strategic air effort is carried out, the shorter will be the war

and the fewer of our boys will die. Jimmy Doolittle is the charismatic combat leader, the first guy to bomb Tokyo, the first guy... he bombs Rome, he bombs Berlin. I mean, he has his own fighter plane he flies around in the skies over the 8th Air Force. He's a larger-than-life figure. Doolittle's arsenal included an agile, new, long-range fighter, the P-51 Mustang. Now, for the first time, the bombers could be protected deep into Germany and back. The Mustangs would prove crucial as Doolittle's forces prepared the skies for the anticipated Allied land invasion, scheduled for spring - D-Day. The foremost concern of the Allied commanders in advance of D-Day was to ensure that they possessed absolute air superiority over northwest France. And in order to achieve that they set out to attack Germany's aircraft factories for the first time escorted by the Mustang long-range fighter. The 8th Fighter Command will give fighter cover to targets and back from the targets. It's desirable that we peel off as many fighters as possible to come down and strafe ground targets. The strategy now is draw up the Luftwaffe by hitting things like aircraft factories that Hitler has to defend. He sends his force up, and the Mustangs massacre them. In addition, when you return from missions, you can drop off and fly low and strafe German airfields, destroying German aircraft on the ground. For the Americans, the result was a dramatic change from the disasters at Schweinfurt. The Eighth Air Force destroyed twice as many enemy planes in March 1944 than had been downed in the previous two years. Three months later - on the shores of Normandy -

the Air Force's achievements paid off. The D-Day landing proceeded without interference from the air. The Luftwaffe was nowhere to be seen. It's the first great accomplishment of strategic bombing. We were destroying air frame factories, yes. We destroyed some ball-bearing factories. But when you think of this, this is a world-turning event, D-Day. This is what turned the tide of the entire war in northern Europe. And it isn't possible - wasn't possible - without what the 8th Air Force had done. For Allied commanders, it was a crucial time. With the right strategy, the end of the war in Europe could be within reach. There was a lot of excitement about the fact that Germany might be at the precipice, Germany might be on the brink of collapse. And so ideas were developed for a major attack on the city of Berlin to shock the Germans into surrender. In the late summer of 1944, the British proposed Operation Thunderclap - the total devastation of the centre of Berlin. Thunderclap looks distasteful to a number of the American air commanders because it looks like terror bombing.

It looks like bombing for shock effect. In a letter to the Allied Supreme Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Spaatz expressed his objections. "The US bombing policy, as you know, "has been directed against precision military objectives, "and not morale. as now planned." "I am opposed to this operation That fall, the plan was tabled. rendered moot. The disagreement between the Allies But Eisenhower made it clear should still that the American Air Force in anything "be prepared to take part of ending the war quickly." "that gives real promise National Broadband Network rollout You might already be aware that the is currently underway. home and business across Australia, And as it continues to reach every that over 30 NBN retail providers it's also good to know broadband wherever you live can deliver world-class

between city and country. at a price that doesn't discriminate For more information on pricing, visit australia.gov.au/nbn/pricing In the fall of 1944, Germany's collapse American planners sought to hasten identified by Allied intelligence by bombing targets at this stage of the war. as most critical (ROAR OF BOMBER ENGINES) of its lifeblood, To deprive the Nazi war machine on the synthetic oil facilities American bombers zeroed in spread across the countryside. the struggling Nazi economy, To disrupt key railroad marshalling yards. they targeted

assemble these gigantic trains DON MILLER: The Germans have to at places called marshalling yards. with thousands of cars massing of economic power So there you have this tremendous these central marshalling yards. in these marshalling yards, Hit them. or close to cities. But they're inside located near workers' housing. The marshalling yards were often When visibility was poor, their primitive radar, known as H2X, and the Americans had to rely on civilian casualties were unavoidable. for precision targeting. H2X could not allow and bombing an area, It could allow for finding an area but that's about it. as to where the target is. You only have a hunch Well, they bombed. And you bomb or you don't bomb. about stopping the bombing. There was never a question

if you continue to bomb like that It becomes a moral issue because of civilian targets... homes... you are hitting an awful lot of collateral damage. and there's a lot British concept of area bombing. So you're nudging closer to the took its relentless toll, Even as Allied bombing the Germans refused to give up. By the winter of 1944, hopes for a quick end to the war by smouldering frustration. had been replaced troops from crossing into Germany. Nazi resistance had kept Allied in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Russians remained mired remained a formidable foe. Even a badly depleted German Army was the most terrible, The Deutsche Wehrmacht most spirited fighting force most ruthless, on any battleground. which was ever seen

I don't say it with any pride. aggressive machine, It was a terrible, beyond any comparison. but with military capacity and unexpected counter-offensive - The Wehrmacht had launched a massive the Battle of the Bulge -

than any other battle of the war. which cost the Americans more lives They had launched their own aerial terror weapons, the V-1 and V-2 rockets, raining destruction down on London.

They had shocked the Allied air forces with the sudden appearance of the world's first jet fighter, the Messerschmitt 262. Now there were fears that Hitler might have one more surprise, perhaps big enough to turn the tide of war. There's a great deal of pessimism that starts to enter into Allied High Command. They start to think that the war may drag on, well into the summer and into the autumn of 1945. And this is a very frightening scenario. The focus has to be Japan. We've got to finish off the Germans. There's this idea of an enemy they can't understand. An enemy that is beaten but won't surrender. There was intense pressure coming from the highest levels of command to bring the war in Europe to an end. Even Roosevelt, who had long decried the bombing of civilians, was now prepared to accept massive aerial bombardment.

And so what Allied planners do, at this moment in time, this crucial moment in December and January, 1944-1945, is to look around and say "What instruments do we have "to end this thing, to get this over with?" And they recognised that if the war's going to end the Soviet winter offensive has got to make progress. That January, with the backing of Eisenhower, Spaatz revived Operation Thunderclap, the all-out assault on German morale he had once vehemently opposed. This time it would include attacks on transportation hubs

in Leipzig and Dresden, to put pressure on German defences on the Russian front. But the centrepiece of the operation, reversing years of American strategic policy,

would be a massive air assault on Berlin. Doolittle is told that he will bomb the CITY of Berlin. This is different language. He's very uncomfortable with it. He's not comfortable with designating an entire city as a target. He protests to Spaatz and he says "This is not what we do. "We attack specific locations within cities. "We may attack cities, but we're looking for marshalling yards,

"we're looking for factories, "we're looking for specific sites within those." And Spaatz says "No. For this raid we have to bomb the... "we're bombing the centre of the city. "This is an attack on the centre of Berlin." Doolittle sent a hard-edged memo to his commanding officer. The Berlin attack, he wrote Spaatz, would violate "the basic American principle

"of precision bombing of targets of strictly military significance." Spaatz was unmoved.

Operation Thunderclap - the all-out attack on Berlin - would proceed as planned. The Thunderclap raid is important in that it can clearly identify where the American Air Force says "Yeah, we're going to destroy a city." That's one of the things that made Doolittle so disturbed about it, because he says "We're really moving completely away "from everything that makes us different, unique, "makes us more humane." But he did it. He followed his orders and he did it. And you can, you can argue that once the... once you've done that once, it makes it easier to do again. On February 3, 1945, 1003 bomber crews were briefed for the largest American air mission of the war: an attack on Berlin - a city of nearly four million people. Sam Halpert was a navigator with the 91st Bomber Group. We were briefed to go to Berlin. The map of northern Europe was up there, and there was a ribbon going across, which was our route. Although the target designated by Spaatz was the city of Berlin,

Doolittle did his best to give the crews aiming points with clear military value: train stations, marshalling yards, and Goering's Air Ministry, just 500 metres from Hitler's fortified bunker. The bombers, and their escorts, headed east. By then, the Luftwaffe had been pretty well beat up but they still had quite a bit of planes in force. As a matter of fact, they started sending up jet planes against us. After four hours' flying time, the squadrons approached their target. (SIRENS WAIL) Horst Sinske, a 15-year-old apprentice studied the skies above. SAM HALPERT: When we approached the target, we'd start seeing the flak bursts come out. The closer you got, the more flak there was. And the pilots just had to ignore that and head right into it, when everything in their body was telling them "Turn that plane around and get the heck out of there." I don't know what the geese feel like

when the hunters are shooting at geese, you know, as they're flying over a pond. What I kept in mind, one thing, was that a lot of geese get shot but most of the geese get through. SAM HALPERT: When we got over Berlin, sure enough, the lead ship was hit right in the middle, maybe about 5-10 yards beyond our wing. And I could see bodies coming out. That's what I remember. I didn't see any parachutes - I was pretty well shook up by that. That day, 21 B-17s were shot down over Berlin -

but it was only a small fraction of the massive American fleet raining down devastation from above. The February 3rd raid killed approximately 3000 civilians. 120,000 Germans lost their homes. But this attack on Berlin would have significance far beyond casualty numbers. DON MILLER: With this raid, the 8th Air Force crosses a moral threshold.

And that moral threshold is, we will not deliberately bomb civilians. Usually the moral divide for historians is the Tokyo raid, which took place the next month, where we incinerate the city and kill almost 100,000 people. And... but I think, once we crossed the moral divide, in Berlin, it made everything else, including the atomic bomb, a little bit easier. VOICEOVER: It's gonna be mind-blowing! (POP!) Join the celebration

with Lotto's massive: This Saturday! Get your ticket (MACHINE GUN FIRE) The war in Germany Months that saw the city of Dresden destroyed in a firestorm just weeks before American bombers burned Tokyo. Months that saw 200,000 Russian soldiers killed in the final assault on Berlin - an assault made possible, in no small part, by Allied bombing. In the end, the Nazi surrender that had seemed so close for months finally came, in May.

The American air strategists could now devote their full attention to the urgent task of defeating Imperial Japan. The war had brought utter destruction to Germany, the nation that began it, and death to more than 100,000 British and American airmen. Half a million German civilians were killed by Allied bombing, adding to the more than 20 million civilian deaths in Europe as a result of this war. When democracies go to war and they find themselves in total wars, they have to work through a set of moral choices that are sometimes extremely difficult and extremely painful. Fighting Nazi Germany, in the end, meant fighting all-out,

meant utilising every resource that we had. But in order to defeat this enemy we had to make some choices that were in some ways regrettable. DON MILLER: Wars are uncontrollable and no one knows how and why they get out of control, but they do. Witness Roosevelt's first statement about fighting a clean war and not wanting anybody to bomb children or innocents. Wars just fly out of control. CONRAD CRANE: I see this idea of just killing civilians and targeting civilians as being unethical - though the most unethical act in World War II for the Allies would have been allowing themselves to lose. (ROAR OF BOMBER PLANES) Captions (c) SBS Australia 2011