Bombs, Broadcasts and Resistance: Allied Intervention and Domestic Opposition to the Nazi Regime during World War II
Can bombs and broadcasts instigate resistance against a foreign regime? We examine the canonical case of bombing designed to undermine enemy morale—the Allied bomber offensive against Germany during WWII. Our evidence shows that both air power and the airwaves undermined regime support. Using plausibly exogenous variation in weather, we show that places that suffered more bombardment saw noticeably more opposition. Bombing also reduced the combat motivation of soldiers: fighter pilots from bombed-out cities performed markedly less well after raids. We also provide evidence that exposure to BBC radio, especially together with bombing, increased the number of resistance cases.
Maria Petrova is an ICREA Research Professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.
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