The Impossibility of Justifying War

Frank Parker
4 min readNov 18, 2023

Reflections on the 80th anniversary of my father’s death.

Avro Lancaster bomber like the one my father flew in. Image from Canadian Broadcasting Company. The captain of my father’s crew was Canadian.

My father died 80 years ago today, 18th November. He was one of a crew of seven in a Lancaster bomber shot down whilst flying a pathfinder mission over Mannheim. I often wonder what he would make of today’s world, especially the many conflicts that continue to rage in so many regions.

In retrospect it is easy to justify the waging of war against Nazi Germany by citing the holocaust. I do wonder, however, whether anyone in 1930s Britain would have been prepared to lay down their lives in order to save Jews, Gypsies and Queers, as gay people were characterised at the time. Then, as now, hostile and inaccurate reporting in popular newspapers was calculated to reduce sympathy for refugees. [Source]

The stated cause of the war was the invasion of another country by Hitler’s Germany. The British government’s response to the invasion of Czechoslovakia was to issue an ultimatum (I paraphrase) “stop at that. Any further and we are at war.”

On 3rd September 1939 the then Prime Minister informed the British people that the ultimatum had been ignored, German troops had entered Poland and we were, therefore, at war with Germany.

No mention of the brutality of the Nazi regime and its persecution of minorities. It was the threat of a…



Frank Parker

Frank is a retired Engineer from England now living in Ireland. He is trying to learn and share the lessons of history.