Staunton, September 6 – A measure of just how far Putin-era Russian propagandists are prepared to go in projecting the Kremlin’s current political views into the past regardless of the facts is the insistence by a Kaliningrad lecturer that Britain’s carpet bombing of Koenigsberg in August 1944 was aimed not at Hitler’s Germany but against Stalin’s Soviet Union.
Herfried Horst, head of the Friends of Kant and Kenigsberg, told an audience in Kaliningrad last week that in his view, “the destruction of Koenigsberg was a demonstration of power directed against the Soviet Union,” Mikhail Feldman reports on the Region.Expert portal (region.expert/bombing/).
Horst continued by insisting that the two massive Lancaster carpet bombing raids on the city at the end of August 1944 were first and foremost the result of London’s desire to “show that the Royal Air Force could completely destroy a city lying within the sphere of influence of the interests of the USSR.”
One can debate “from strategic and moral points of view” how justified carpet bombing was as a strategy, but in 1944 it was “a generally accepted military practice,” one that was used by all major combatants, including the Soviet Union which employed this strategy against Danzig (now Gdansk) in March 1945.
The destruction Soviet bombing visited on that city was roughly comparable to the destruction British planes inflicted on Koenigsberg, but the fate of the two cities after the war was very different. The Poles set to work and rebuilt the city, but the Soviet occupation forces allowed it to decay. As a result, Gdansk is a tourist Mecca, but Kaliningrad isn’t.
Kaliningrad, however, des offer those who control it today one advantage: the chance to rewrite the history of 1944 t conform to the needs of the Putin regime for fake news.