*** Luftwaffe Terror Raids : Belgrade

Luftwaffe Terror Raids: Belgrade (April 1941)

Luftwaffe terror bombing Belgrade
Figure 1.--After the Germans entered Belgrade. They rounded up Jewish men and forced to clear the rubble resulting from the bombing. NZI propaganda blamed the War in the Jes. Actioins like thi were followed by whole-scale murder even before the Death Camps were operationasl. Few of these men as well as Jewish women and children will survuiv the year.

"Three days before the attack Belgrade was declared an open city and because the city didn't even have any air defense, this unannounced bombing attack broke the rules of engagement and is unquestiinably a war crime."

Arnold Suppan. "Nationalsocialistische Herrschaft in Jugoslawien 1941-45", pp. 930-31.

Hitler's efforts to bomb the Brutish people into submission failed miserably (1940). And he wasted consuderale numbers of planes and men in the process. Hitler was, however, not deterred from the tactic. He wanted other countries before his might. Other than murdering innocentb Jewish ciciians, including women and children, therev was nothing hev wanted more. A group of junior Yugoslav officers staged a coup when King Paul caved into Hitler's demands to join the Axis Pact. Personally offronted that a country he had courted as an ally had rejected him, Hitler ordered the terror bombing of Belgrade. He called it 'Operation Punishment. 【Fest, p. 711.】 It was not to force compliance. It was to punish the Yugoslav people forvdaring to challenge the Führer's will. The Luftwaffe flew more than 500 sorties against Belgrade killing more than 17,500 people (April 6-10, 1941). There was no air defensse. In fact the Yugoslavs declared Belgrade an open city. The Luftwaffe raids on Belgrade were against an undefended city that was not resisting. 【Suppan, pp. 930-31."】 Again the tactic worked. It would be the last time it worked. A resourceful SS officer with six men after the bombing managed to seize the city ahead of the Wehrmacht timetable. It was an important factor in the stunning defeat of Greek and British forces in the next few weeks. 【Heaton.】 The Luftwaffe commnder oversseing the bombing of Bekgrade was Generaloberst Alexander Löhr. Löhr grew up and was educated in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His father was ethnic German, but his mother was Ukranian. We do not know if he knew about NAZI plans to kill millions of Ukranians or other Eastern Europeans or cared. The bombing of Belgrade was ordered by Hitler for personal reasons. It was Löhr who carried it out, planing bombing methods on an open city to achieve maximum civilian casualties. German commanders at this time had no fear of being held resomsible for war crimes. Apparently Hitler was pleased with hiss work and Löhr was promoted to Wehrmacht commander-in-chief southeast and commander-in-chief of the entite 12th Army, basically Commander-in-Chief Southeast -- Army Group E. He was involved in brutal anti-partisan ooperations cimmiting numerous wa crines. Within his area, more than 60,000 Jews from Greece and Albania were deported to deth camps. He was persinally involved in the deportations from the Greek islands. 【Pitsch, p.51.】 He oversaw the German witdrawl from the Baslkans (1944), but was caught by Slovenuian Partisans near the Austrian border (May 1945). After the War he was tried by the Yugoslavs for war crimes and executed (1947). German media did not hide these attacks on cities. We wonder how many of the German civilians at he time objected to the Luftawaffe bombing civilians, The Allies still did not have the capability of answering these attacks with bomb raids on German cities, but that was to begin to change in 1942 and sudenly Grman propaganda would begin calling bombing civilians a war crime.


Fest, Joachim C. Hitler (Vintage Books: New York, 1974), 844p.

Heaton, Colin D. "Taking Belgrade," World War II (January 1998), pp. 30-36.

Pitsch, Erwin. Alexander Löhr Volume 1: "The Major General and creator of the Austrian Air Force", (Austrian militia publishing house: Salzburg, 2004/ ,

Suppan, Arnold . "Nationalsocialistische Herrschaft in Jugoslawien 1941-45" in Arnold Suppan, Hitler - Benes -Tuto, Konflikte, Krieg und Vüolkermord in Ostmittel - und Südoesteuropa>


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Created: 5:21 AM 2/24/2024
Last updated: 10:23 PM 2/26/2024