Labour History Review

The Battle of the Ruhr, 1943: Aerial Warfare against an Industrial Region

Labour History Review (2012), 77, (1), 35–48.

Abstract

The Battle of the Ruhr - beginning in March 1943 - provided a crucial opening to the real battle for the skies over Germany. This article will examine the character of this battle and its implications for the administration of the region, propaganda, and public opinion. The raids challenged Goebbels's propaganda assertions about the inability of the RAF and the US air force to damage targets inside Germany and therefore required strategies of counter-propaganda. These initially focused on the anticipation of newly developed weapons of retaliation. The levels of destruction in this centre of heavy industry with its concentrations of industrial workers also implied administration and organizational responses that required a co-ordinated effort on the part of business, government, and party. Not least the Battle of the Ruhr sharply posed the issues of air-raid protection and evacuation. The Battle of the Ruhr therefore attains a great significance allowing the identification of longer-term social, military, and political processes that developed as the bombing of Germany intensified.

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Author details

Blank, Ralf