Skip to comments.Was the American Bombing Campaign in World War II a War Crime?
Posted on 05/20/2006 8:33:39 PM PDT by tbird5
Deliberately targeting civilians is widely considered terrorism nowadays, but during World War II both the Britains Bomber Command and the United States Army Air Force deliberately targeted civilians.
The British philosopher A. C. Grayling, in his new book Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan (Walker, $25.95), points out that the two air forces combined killed perhaps 600,000 German civilians and another 200,000 Japanese. He makes the case that at least by our current standards we were terrorists, and it logically follows that the attacks were war crimes. In an age of political terror, when it is urgent to come up with a persuasive distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence, it is hard to overstate the importance of the questions Grayling raises.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanheritage.com ...
The Emperor was actually a young man, not old. His image was actually everywhere in the Japanese empire, and he was revered as a god by the people.
The people had been told to go to war and die for the Emperor, which was entirely reasonable in their point of view - so they would, because they were told that that is what the Emperor wanted. As was common in Japanese society, the Emperors' 'orders' were 'passed on' by his staff and court. At the surrender, the Emperor told his people that they must stop fighting - so they did.
I suggest you study Japanese culture more. Blind obedience to authority is one of their cultural failings.
Per what the emperor and his surviving advisors had to say after the war, yes! (The non-surviving ones committed seppuku.)
"Was the American Bombing Campaign in World War II a War Crime?"
Well, General Curtis LeMay, the architect of the strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific theater, was concerned about this question. He once remarked that, if the US were to lose the war, he expected to be tried for war crimes.
The fire-bombing of Tokyo targeted civilians; it was strategic only in the sense that it terrorized civilians. Tokyo's residential sectors were constructed with wood, so LeMay selected incendiary munitions rather than explosives. In the 2-1/2 hours of the March 9, 1945 Tokyo firestorm, the US killed 100,000 Japanese civilians -- mostly women, children, and old folks -- in their homes. This and similar firebombings in Japan are estimated to have "scorched and boiled and baked to death," to use LeMay's words, over a million Japanese civilians.
"There are no innocent civilians, so it doesn't bother me so much to be killing innocent bystanders." - Curtis LeMay on the March 9, 1945 firebombing of Tokyo.
"LeMay said if we lost the war that we would have all been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he's right. He ... and I'd say I ... were behaving as war criminals." - Robert McNamara
It's not an idle question, nor it is inherently unpatriotic or naive to consider the limits in the application of violence.
That scumbag A. C. Grayling was born after the war. The SOB didn't have Nazi bombs raining down on his damned head, easy for him to make judgements.
that depends on the number of Attorneys per division.
Not so, Mr. Grayling.
Germany announced that they were giving a war and wouldn't we like to come.
We accepted their gracious invitation.
Terrorism is where there is an indiscriminate attack, like what happened at the twin towers or Pearl Harbor. Quite a difference.
I ain't giving Osama nothin'.
<< Interesting article.One example:The author states,"Japan surrendered because of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria."???? >>
That did have something to do with the surrender. Even after the second A-bomb, there was still a very strong faction in the Japanese war cabinet that wanted to keep fighting, and they were preparing the people to fight to the death. Most of the people probably would have done so out of loyalty to the emperor, too.
Stalin had promised Truman that the USSR would declare war on Japan three months after the defeat of Germany. The planned date of that declaration was Aug. 15. After the dropping of the first bomb, Stalin moved the declaration date up to Aug. 8, because he didn't want to be left without any "spoils" in Asia after the defeat of Japan.
His first move was to invade Manchuria, and he was planning to launch an invasion in northern Honshu while the US invaded Kyushu.
Faced with the certainty of a two-front invasion, and not wanting to have to deal with the Russians, the emperor overruled the war-hawks in his cabinet and decided to end it. Like the Germans who held out in the hope of surrendering to the Americans, the Japanese did not want to be in the hands of the Russians -- or to have their country partitioned like Germany was.
It is probably true that the only thing that could have ended the Japanese fighting was the word of the emperor himself. He made a radio address to the nation, and without using the word "surrender," he made it clear that he was ordering the military to end the fighting and reach a peace with the United States.
It was the first time most Japanese had ever heard his voice -- and it was a shock. They had been conditioned to see him as a god. After his address, he turned to his wife and asked, "Well, do I look like human?"
There were some who didn't like doing it and didn't...some who didn't like it, but saw it as necessary, and I am sure, some who liked it very much.
It was accepted. War sure does suck.
I lived in Japan and the Philippines when I was a kid, and in the PI, the war seemed very real (in the sixties). As Boy Scouts, we hiked the path of the Bataan Death March, which has markers.
Forgot to add:
The leadership in Japan had actually been making overtures to the Soviets after the defeat of Germany. Of course, they did not know that the USSR had promised to come into the Asian war. They actually wanted the Russians to act as mediators between them and the Americans -- seeking better surrender terms. Their one overarching concern was the prerogatives of the emperor.
More importantly, it is the civilians who put tyrants into power. I won't lose a minute of sleep over any German, Japanese, or Italian civilian killed in WWII, nor will I fret over any Iraqi or Afghan civilians killed in OIF/OEF. Tyrants don't come to power without their people allowing it. Forgive me if I agree with Osama, but I wouldn't have seen anything wrong with indiscriminate bombing of any Iraqi city in OIF I, had we not had the intel and capability for precision strikes.
Sorry, perhaps I misinterpreted your statement. It just sounded like Moral Relativism to me. Maybe I missed the context.
LOL! Now, I KNOW you meant B-25...:)