In his book When Paris Went Dark, Ronald C. Rosbottom writes about the raids on Guernica: 



"On a clear morning, April 26, 1937, the citizens of a small Basque town in northern Spain and their neighbors from the countryside were doing what they habitually did on Mondays: shopping, bargaining, and exchanging gossip in an open-air market. When a low, droning sound first entered their consciousness, theirs was not the automatic response that would soon become common throughout Europe––to look toward the skies for danger. Rather, they looked around to find the source of that loud, unfamiliar mechanical noise. Before they could protect themselves, warplanes from the Luftwaffe and the Italian air force began indiscriminately dropping concussive firebombs and splinter bombs on the town. After five raids, the allies of Franco's army had left Guernica three-quarters devastated and had killed between four hundred and one thousand civilians. [...] News of the event and its aftermath, thanks to a trenchant article by George Steer of the New York Times, flashed around the world. Steer's piece made one especially salient point, unrecognized then as being predictive: the bombing was meant to demoralize the populace, for the little town had no military value. For the first time, indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations was a reality, whereas before it had been but a theoretical assumption. 'In the form of its execution and the scale of the destruction it wrought, no less than in the selection of its objective, the raid on Guernica is unparalleled in military history.’"


Read George Steer’s article in its entirety here.


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