RAF Centre for Air Power Studies Historic Interview - Sir Arthur Harris

90 min Source: RAF Centre for Air Power Studies
PME All levels


Interview with 'Bomber' Harris, commander of Bomber Command during WW2.


Sir Arthur Harris, Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command 1942 to 1945, remains a controversial figure because of his management of the night area bombing campaign against German cities. A policy which was fully supported by Churchill, the War Cabinet and the British people. For much of the war, the bombing campaign was the only way of hitting back at Germany.  In this interview, Harris explains that he was not an air power theorist, but a practical commander.  For much of his pre-war career, he had to operate with limited resources and poorly performing aircraft. He believed a leader should be technically competent and work through an efficient staff. Harris claims his success in obtaining the resources for the bombing campaign, was his refusal to take 'no' for an answer. He constantly had to battle bureaucracy to achieve what he had been ordered to do. Can you see qualities in Harris that are applicable today in strategy and force development?