Saturday, March 13, 2004

The Epilogue...

As dogman over at The Rough Woodsman alluded to in his comment regarding my Men of Honor post, there is an epilogue to the story of George McGovern's B-24 errantly dropping a lone bomb on an Austrian farmhouse. In 1985, McGovern was interviewed by the Austrian media in connection with a documentary they were doing on Austria in WWII. Knowing that McGovern opposed the war in Vietnam, especially the bombing, and knowing that he had been a bomber pilot in WWII, the reporter asked him if he regretted bombing beautiful cities such as Vienna, Salzburg, and others. He responded,
Well, nobody thinks that war is a lovely affair. is a very savage enterprise. But on the other hand there are issues that sometimes must be decided by warfare after all else fails... ...I don't regret bombing strategic targets in Austria. I do regret the damage that was done to innocent people. And there was one bomb I've regretted all these years.
He then told the story of how their errant bomb destroyed an Austrian farmhouse and, most likely, the family living there. After the documentary aired the TV station received a call from an Austrian farmer. He said that it was his farmhouse that was destroyed because the circumstances surrounding McGovern's description of the events matched precisely with what happened to his house. Per Ambrose,
"I want you to tell him [referring to McGovern]," the man went on, "that no matter what other Austrians think, I despised Adolf Hitler. We did see the bomber coming. I got my wife and children out of the house and we hid in a ditch and no one was hurt. And because of our attitude about Hitler, I thought at the time that if bombing our farm reduced the length of the war by one hour or one minute, it was well worth it."
McGovern was called by the station and told what the farmer had said. He said, "It seemed to just wipe clean a slate."

No comments: