For decades, the Allied bombing of Germany during World has been a topic of enduring controversy. This has never been more the case than today: in 2002, German historian Jorg Friedrich received international attention by calling the bombing a war crime, and condemning Winston Churchill as the greatest murder of women and children in history.  Against this backdrop, the lecture will review the American theory and application of airpower during World War II, asking two questions: was the American practice of bombing morally justified, and did it work?

Professor Hansen is a Full Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His book, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany (New York: New American Library, 2009), examines the morality and effectiveness of the Combined Bomber Offensive over Germany during World War II. The book, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, has been described by Donald L. Miller (Masters of the Air) as  “Superb… the best book available on the combined bomber offensive…insightful, rigorously researched, and splendidly written, a work of careful composition” and by Margaret Macmillan (Paris 1919) as “outstanding,” a “vivid, yet judicious account.”