Air Raids Reprisals

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Air Raids Reprisals is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Times on 22 june 1916.

Air Raids Reprisals

The Times (22 june 1916)


Sir, — Sir Edward Clarke characterizes the suggestion that we should retaliate as "monstrous," but this seems a harsh term to apply to a policy which has actually been adopted with success by our Allies. Sir Edward is surely guilty of a flaw in logic when be argues that because German raids are admittedly useless and serve no military purpose, therefore a return raid would be open to the same objection. The purpose of raid No. 2 is to prevent a repetition of raid No. 1 and so to save the lives of our civilian. That is a very definite object and I can see no other sure way of attaining it.

We should guard ourselves carefully against the possibility of our action being put in the same category as that of our enemy. If the Government thought fit to send such a warning as I have suggested it would no doubt begin by a repudiation of such methods of warfare as murderous and against the rules of The Hague Conventions. It would then specify the number of times on which we had endured such attacks, with a list of the unfortified places and exact figures as to the numbers of civilians murdered. The document would end with an announcement of our determination to retaliate in case of further attack, fortified by the assurance that the means had been already prepared. Such a document would put us right with the public opinion of the world, and would also perhaps bring home to the Germans what, as Sir Edward says, has never been understood by them, the vile methods that their rulers have adopted, and the contempt which they have universally earned.

Yours faithfully,

Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex.