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 ...
Since we won, no. If we would have lost, it would have been a war crime, sure.
In the eyes of revisionist pacifist the whole war was a crime.
Pacifism is a cancer that eats away the national guts.
Depends on who you ask. I was down south visiting a few friends last summer and I mentioned Sherman. I was told "Hey, you watch your language over there!"
Should we ever see a war like WWII agin, we will be bombing civilian targets. When it comes to survival, "nice" will not be a concern.
Exactly right on point. The problem with these revisionists is that they are viewing history while willingly disregarding the fact that they are completely secure. To them, it seems as if our victory in the war was a foregone conclusion from the outset. They either don't, or refuse, to see that this most certainly was not the case, and that there was a very real possibility of the facist Axis powers winning.
You nailed it when you say that being nice is not a concern when survival is at stake. WWII was a conflict that would determine if the forces of freedom, or the forces of tyranny and oppression, would control the world. And the outcome was never certain. Perhaps if the revisionists were capable of understanding this they would not be complaining about the way it all turned out.
Don't we owe reparations to someone?..../s
Bad things happen in war.......because it's war. People die."
Sure, but you can't excuse everything done during war with that quick statement. We wouldn't excuse what Hitler did (or the Japanese in China). FYI, I believe dropping the nukes was the right thing to do.
Times, as well as standard of conduct change.
Only losers are war criminals.
I see your point. Allow me to rephrase that. In war, especially a total war like WWII, innocent people are going to die no matter how careful you try to be. And in a total war you must be willing to do things that most decent people would find questionable if you want to win. The problem I have is with people trying to equate the wholesale genocidal actions of the Nazis, with actions that were meant to stop them. There is a good reason why they say war is hell.
Times, as well as standard of conduct change.
I believe that we may like to think that, but I'm afraid it just is not true. I guarantee you that if we were in a fight like WWII right now, that the so called standards we have today would be thrown out the window if it meant ensuring our nation's survival.
Remember, the very survival of the free world was in serious jeopardy.
Yeah, my late Uncle, who flew the Ploesti raids (highly decorated waist gunner on a B-17) would chew this guys arm off.
This guy is alive and writing freely because better men than him saved his momma's a$$.
And as far as the Soviet Union is concerned . . . Just look at our media, government, and academia these days. I have a hard time believing that Americans in the 1930s would have tolerated so many overt, unapologetic communists holding positions of authority in these institutions.
Sure, just like the upstanding German citizens, in nearby towns, working for the Nazis running the concentration camps and their cyanide showers and ovens! They were given "tours" of those facilities after they were liberated and professed total ignorance!
"We didn't know"..., "We were only following orders"..., etc. SELF DELUSIONS!
They knew but did nothing to resist the depravity of the Nazi regime!
War is hell but is not pointless! The enslavement, persecution and terror campaigns against groups is also not pointless (but only to those who carry out those activities)!
Are you back? Let me know when you see the US force Jews to wear stars on their clothes, force them into ghettos, kill them by the millions in concentration camps, torture and murder political prisoners, starve entire nations to bring them under our grip, kill people trying to leave the country, perform "medical experiments" on unwilling prisoners, outlaw any form of religious worship in favor of worship of a dictator, invade our neighbors and kill innocent civilians just because we can, etc.
Until then, spare me you crap about how the US resembles the Nazis and Soviets. Save it for your Western Civ 101 class.
By the way, our Interstate system was inspired by the German Autobahn the Hitler helped to create. I guess in your twisted book that makes us similar to the Nazis also.
And visualize that you are a catcher for the New York Yankees, and a big, angry Red Sox player with a grudge is barreling down the third base line towards home as you block the plate waiting for the throw home...:)
Please. I really have tried to be polite and give you a pass when you have shown that you don't have a good grasp of history, but do not make statements like this.
The US Government was riddled with Soviet agents, and it was "tolerated". See my tagline, read "Witness" by Whittaker Chambers, read the transcripts of the McCarthy hearings (Don't read about them in any Piece of Crap history books they give to kids in school, because they are all wrong on this issue, amongst other things) and read up on the Venona Project, which put the cap on stupid dumbass notions like "The Goldbergs were innocent" and "Alger Hiss was not a spy for the Soviet Union".
For God's sake, our OWN Vice President, Henry Wallace was a Soviet admirer and apologist.
I think that 90% of Germans never thought of the idea that that the deported Jews could be killed. The average German surely knew that the Jews weren´t well treated, but massmurder? Don´t forget, what happened then never happened before!
I was born 1981, and neither my ancestors were Nazis nor am I a defender of Nazism. No KZ guard can excuse his actions by saying "I was just following orders." But that does apply to some Wehrmacht soldiers - not everybody was given a choice.
You never lived under oppression. You can´t say how it is like not being allowed to say anything against the regime.
Yet you say that the civilians deserved to be carpet-bombed.
I don´t blame anybody for not revolting against the Nazis and I praise those who did, while I accuse those who supported the Nazis and their crimes.
Not buying it. There was no way bombing was that precise an art in those days. In Cologne, the same could be said of the cathedral. All its windows were blown out, but the building survived pretty much intact. It was NOT because of any intent on the part of the Allied bombers. Their accuracy was notoriously poor in the days when Cologne was being bombed.
And if Ford Werke was producing war machines for the Germans, there is no doubt it was on the hit list. Whether it was hit or not is largely a matter of luck, not conspiracy.
"Can there really be civilians in all out war?"
Nope. People want war to be a police action where soldiers arrest each other instead of kill them. Declarations of war don't say "against the army of the other country."
As Malone would say, "they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue." Simple.
" I would like to give this moron a rifle and drop him into the middle of some F-ed up city in Iraq and tell him walk to the nearest US Base 5 miles away - and don't shoot anyone unless they're wearing a military uniform. "
#121 - Nice. Liberals think war is predictable.
Would you say, then, that the attack on the USS Cole was not a "terrorist" attack because it was on a legitimate military target?
Ironically, this also would have made the plant much easier to target without leveling the entire city, too.
The first Ford vehicle in the "post-war" rolled off the assembly line at Ford-Werke literally hours after the U.S. and Germany formally ended the war. Something about that whole arrangement stunk to high heaven.
Just like to point out here that Osama, Ward Churchill and other moonbats use the same argument. During WWII, I think it was essential but these days are different.
I agree with you. However, I find it interesting that today the tragic past events of Western Civilization are used to attack that very civilization.
Wouldn't you be risking your life anyway if your dictator did something stupid and invited mass destruction to your country? By whose sword would you rather die and what would be the more noble death?
[ . . . snip . . . ]
"I don´t blame Germans for not standing up against Hitler."
Hitler was only the stand-in, the one who executed the majority will of the German people, though some Germans attempted to assassinate Hitler but failed. Would the Germans rally around another crazy person who attempted to do what Hitler tried to do? I doubt it. Civilizations evolve if they don't forget history. Were the Germans captivated by the rantings of an aggressive crazy man? Apparently so. They empowered him to continue because they didn't stop him. They didn't stop him because they wanted what he wanted. They made their choice to live as aggressors and paid the price.
But today the world is faced with a more deadly enemy of mankind. There is no way to fight against the rule of a dead person who leads from the grave.
[ . . . snip . . . ]
"Do you think that every Iranian who doesn´t stand up against Ahmadi-F-him is guilty?"
No, if they are actively working to de-throne the nut before the country explodes. If you are actively working to de-throne the nut when the country explodes, you die a nobel death and with honor. The same goes for the minority of Germans who were working against Hitler.
Things happen because of the majority will and mind-set. Bad things or good things.
My suggestion for those who don't want to share in someone else's instant karma is to not be present when it comes down.
Do a little research on Margaret Sanger, then come back and tell me about the moral superiority of the U.S. The fact that this b!tch is still revered as a feminist icon here in the U.S. tells me all I need to know.
I also found it fascinating to learn that that Hoechst AG, the German parent company of Roussel-Uclaf (the "RU" in RU-486) traces its corporate roots to IG Farben, a company that is best remembered as the manufacturer of Zyklon-B in Nazi Germany.
Some things never change, do they?
It's my understanding that the British had a policy of retaliation for the German bombing of British cities.
Initially, we attempted to bomb only strategic targets:
military and logistical. But bombing was not very accurate
in those days.
Your point is well taken. However, what do you do with the civilians that who aid and abet the insurgents when our soldiers are trying to clear out villages in Iraq and know where and when attacks are going to happen including the placement of IEDs? If they the civilians refuse to leave a combat zone, provide housing, food, and whatever; or stay quiet about the traps that our troops are walking into, they become an arm of the insurgents war effort.
he forgot the "Bush is Hitler" part. no left wing nutjob diatribe is complete without that.
" across the Pacific Ocean with any degree of accuracy at all?"
They had no intention of being accurrate, merely spewing terror and starting massive fires in forsts.
It would have worked, but a freak storm blew most of the balloons off course.
BTW, the balloons and the anthrax/plauge/cholera attack they had ready for the West Coast are completely seperate tactics.
And let us not forget what the Japanese did in Bataan.
"The question was raised here in the context of a Japanese plan to bomb San Francisco."
Again, the baloons and the germ bombs were distinct and seperate plans.
See the picture of the combo sub/air-craft carrier japan had developed.
"It's funny you should mention that. I've often said that if my great-grandfather came back today and spent 48 hours getting familiar with what the United States has become, he'd swear that the Nazis had actually won World War II."
Since neither my parents, nor I, have been put in ovens here in the United States, I can pretty well say either you misrepresent your great-grandfather or he was an idiot, God rest his soul.
In America, fools like you are freely allowed to spout their venom. You just think we have to listen to your babble, or it is censorship.
No, I think the truth is they just didn't have quiet enough time to pull it off.
They tested the germs on US POWs to make sure they killed "the dog people" as well as they killed Chinese.
The "we were afraid" nonsense is just pablem for liberal idiots so the Japanese can take the moral high ground.
The reason we remained fairly silent is we scooped up the Japanese scientists and continued their research for Cold War purposes.
"I have read ever book I can get my hands on about WWII in both the ETO and the Pacific...I don't believe that any US fighter pilots ever even saw main land Japan unless they were POW's."
You need to read more books.
Russia is even better for WWII stuff.
The German "I didn't know" line is pure ostrich-with-head-in-sand B.S.
They knew Hitler's opinions re: Jews --- in Mien Kampf that everybody read. In it, he pretty well sets out the Final Solution.
Every one knew the Jews get badged and rounded up. Heck it was on posters and and in newspapers.
And open cattle cars filled with people going to factories that produced little but smoke was a clue.
While I agree with you,who was it who said:"The Past Is Prologue"?
Whata CONCEPT!Shelby Steele contends that we have forgotten how(or are too hamstrung with guilt)to bring the full force of our might needed to win a war in a decisive way!!I must say that I agree with him!!!
Actually,Berlin was bombed by The RAF(Bomber Command)shortly after The Luftwaffe bombed London(within days).Churchill instructed Air Vice Marshall Arthur Harris to strike Berlin in retaliation.Actually(from what I've read)Hitler never meant to undertake a bombing campaign against The City of London.He was more interested in the destruction of The RAF so that he could invade Britain(Operation Sea Lion)with control of the air.Some German bombers went off course and were caught over London by searchlights.In order to lighten their aircraft(and escape the triple AAA),they jettisoned their bombs.Thus began the whole thing which escalated from there!!!
Has Bill Clinton apologized for this yet?It would appear that he ONLY apologizes for things he HASN'T done!
That's RIGHT!And(by the way)Military Forces are SUPPOSED to Kill People and Break Things!!Bill Clinton(for all his genius?)could NEVER grasp this concept!!!
Hitler had a long-range(Manhattan)bomber constructed called The Condor.This plane's purpose was to bomb Manhattan.It was to be a one-way trip because of fuel restrictions,but I think they were working on some way to re-fuel the plane in the air so it could return to it's base in Brest.The Condor never was used for it's original purpose.
That's called"collateral damage".While I agree that the bombing of Dresden was a"crime",I cannot go so far as to call Tokyo,Hiroshima,or Nagasaki "crimes".While the Japanese had to be brought to their knees,the Germans were already there!Dresden was overcrowded with refugees fleeing the Soviet onslaught and(axcepting the battle for Berlin which involved ONLY The Red Army fighting SS fanatics)the Germans were DONE!!!!!The utter destruction of that beautiful,ancient city(Dresden)was TOTALLY unnecessary and GRATUITOUS!!!!!!"Bomber Harris"was shunned following the war!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks, I didn't know that!
Only by people who don't think "terrorism" has a unique meaning. Not everything terrifying is terrorism. Specifically, terrorism is committed by a nongovernmental group for a political purpose. So the Dresden or Tokyo bombings were definitely NOT and never will be "terrorism". Neither was the holocaust, or the killing fields, or the Cultural Revolution, or the forced starvation of the Ukraine.
However, some people then and now consider the WWII nonindustrial civilian bombings to be highly immoral and noncontributable if not counterproductive toward victory. Afterall, why would Hitler care if his civilians are being killed en masse? He was busily doing the same thing--and to greater effect.
The only reason it worked in Japan is that the Emporer had a limit to how many dead Japanese he could stomach. His military government, however, had no limit and would have kept fighting if they had had their way.