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WW2 RAF Bombing Campaign

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Aug 2012 at 21:56
Machine-gunning POWs in the heat of battle or its immediate aftermath is undoubtedly a crime, but it is understandable and far less inhuman that for instance the German orders after Dieppe that all captured Canadian commandos should be executed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 07:29
Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

Getting my head around the morality of bombing of civilians.

Germans are immoral to bomb Poles and Dane civilians.

Germans accidentally bomb London.

British immoral to retaliate with Bombing of Berlin.

Germans immoral to Blitz London and other British cities.

British immoral to bomb Germany and other Axis cities.

Americans fully justified with firebombing of Japanese civilians because cottage industry made them a military target.

Atomic bombing of two cities justified because it ended the war.

So is the killing of an civilian justified if they contribute to the enemies war effort, or if the killing of civilians can quickly bring an end to a war? 

The above are your conclusions. If you care for a response on anything I have posted, and not your take on what I posted, I will be happy to oblige.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 07:50
I am trying to get my head around your argument.

The British bombing of German civilians is immoral and disgusting. This is what you have said.

The Bombing of Japanese civilians by Americans is fully justified. I am asking why?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 07:54
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

When thinking of the ethical problems associated with civilian bombing between Nazi Germany and Britain, I am careful never to fall into the trap of thinking the Brits ever actually sank to the level of the Nazis with their aerial campaign.

Graham mentioned in another thread his anecdotal experience in seeing a young girl machine gunned by Nazi pilots while walking down the road. My own great uncle, during my last visit to Bedfordshire, told me an anecdote of his own which corroborates this. In the early stages of the war the town of Luton (where my mother's side comes from, yes yes I know it isn't the nicest place) still held a village(1) fair every once in a while out of tradition on a Sunday.

During the course of gathering, my great uncle told me of how a German fighter suddenly descended out of the clouds upon the entirely civilian crowd in the town's centre. When close enough, the pilot then immediately opened fire indiscriminately into the crowd. There were no military installations, the guy wasn't doing a bombing raid and had some cause to think that perhaps he might disable a radar station or munitions factory. He saw a large gathering of civilians and decided to thin the herd.

No sooner had he spurted his ammo into the helpless civilians at close range, a Spitfire followed him from out of the same band of clouds, hot on his tail. An almighty cheer went up from the crowd as the RAF pilot chased his Luftwaffe foe. The Spitefire won the day, shooting down the enemy.

But what is really striking about this, is the fact the Luftwaffe pilot knew he had an RAF man hot on his tail. And despite that, he still had the steely resolved to concentrate his final energies into exterminating ordinary people at close range, going about their village business as they had been for a thousand years or more.

Tales like this are not uncommon. So let's dispell the fallacy that the Brits sunk to the level of the Nazis. It's just not true.

Regarding the comparison of bombing strategies, the Brits also did not sink to the level of the Nazis. The Luftwaffe, to their own great disadvantage, deliberately switched to the bombing of civilian areas after attacking RAF bases. It was a boon for the Brits to endure civilian damage and take the heat off the RAF. Compare that with British bombing strategy (focusing on operational targets) and again we have a clear difference.

(1) Village is the right word. Luton was listed in none other than the Doomesday Book, and was at that point a modest agricultural settlement not terribly far north from the King's seat of power.

Individual occurrences of a war crime hardly constitutes the threshold of decency for any country's entire military. Any pilot with an enemy fighter on his six does not expend his balance of ammunition on unarmed targets. Your information is hearsay. Who claims the Brits sank to the level of the Nazis? Was the threshold of decency and morality the same for the Brits as well as the Nazis? Did that make the RAFBC as bad as the Nazis, or worse in this regard? When cities are deliberately bombed, particularly at night, and the target is German women and kids, this can hardly be described as " Compare that with British bombing strategy (focusing on operational targets) "

The RAFBC bombed German cities during the hours of darkness. This was their war effort and little else. Spin it all you wish, but that is a fact. 
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Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

I am trying to get my head around your argument.

The British bombing of German civilians is immoral and disgusting. This is what you have said.

The Bombing of Japanese civilians by Americans is fully justified. I am asking why?
 
 
The Japanese getting bombed was justified because of their treatment towards other countries, China, Russia, Phillipines, Burma, Korea, Malaya, and many other little states and countries. This justified many things that the US did, such as the atomic bombings in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.


Edited by Lao Tse - 16 Aug 2012 at 08:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:03
And the Germans held the moral high ground and did not deserve to be bombed?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:04
Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

I am trying to get my head around your argument.

The British bombing of German civilians is immoral and disgusting. This is what you have said.

The Bombing of Japanese civilians by Americans is fully justified. I am asking why?

At that stage of the war Japanese industry was a cottage industry manufacturing products for the war effort. If your point is Americans bombed civilians, your correct. Dresden may illustrate the point you are trying to make more clearly. The difference is the USAAF did most of it's fighting during the hours of daylight and mostly bombed military production, enemy combatants and their equipment. The RAFBC primary mission all during WW2 was the murder of German civilians in the middle of the night.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:07
So it is ok to bomb civilians in the daylight?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:09
Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

So it is ok to bomb civilians in the daylight?
If it is justified, then yes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:12
If the firebombing of Japan, and the Atomic bombings had not worked, whould the bombing have been justified?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:15
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Machine-gunning POWs in the heat of battle or its immediate aftermath is undoubtedly a crime, but it is understandable and far less inhuman that for instance the German orders after Dieppe that all captured Canadian commandos should be executed.

Not all the Canadians were commandos. There was a standing order directly from Hitler that all special forces prisoners who took part in any offensive operation against the Reich were to be executed. So who was the biggest criminal in this regard? Him or Mountbatten. To have committed those fine Canadian troops on such a foolhardy and half cocked endeavor speaks volumes regards the use of commonwealth troops with incompetent British leadership.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:17
Birddog my friend, you're becoming tiresome.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:23
Really? It goes back to my question....So is the killing of an civilian justified if they contribute to the enemies war effort, or if the killing of civilians can quickly bring an end to a war? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:23
Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

I know this is a little off topic But did the US ever use the Hydrogen Bomb in battle?

The second nuclear bomb was not quite the same as the first, but I doubt it was a hydrogen bomb. The first of course was atomic. As of yet we have not dropped a third nuclear bomb in battle, although it's been close a few times.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:29
Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

I am trying to get my head around your argument.

The British bombing of German civilians is immoral and disgusting. This is what you have said.

The Bombing of Japanese civilians by Americans is fully justified. I am asking why?
 
 
The Japanese getting bombed was justified because of their treatment towards other countries, China, Russia, Phillipines, Burma, Korea, Malaya, and many other little states and countries. This justified many things that the US did, such as the atomic bombings in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

I disagree a little Lao. Retaliation alone would not justify dropping nukes on anyone. Now if they had dropped them on us, or had any ideas about nuking us...............
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:33
I think Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both atomic, but one was uranium, and the other was pleutonium. I know i probably just butchered the spelling of those chemicals, but I'm never good at spelling long chemical names!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:48
Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

I think Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both atomic, but one was uranium, and the other was pleutonium. I know i probably just butchered the spelling of those chemicals, but I'm never good at spelling long chemical names!

That's ok, your English is better than mine. Thanks for the nuke ordinance info.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 08:50
The Japanese used aircraft to bomb (Chinese) civilian populations with plague ridden fleas and other pestilence.  Fortunately it proved quite ineffective I believe.
 
They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes (which is why the peoples of the area are never quite happy with the attitude of Japanese governments to WW2).
 
Personally, though, I think it is far better if we concentrate more on the future. At least now we are in an era where there is no need at all for civilian bombardment in warfare.
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 09:09
"They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes"

The dropping of nukes on Japan was a legal act of war, and not a gross crime.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 09:22
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes"

The dropping of nukes on Japan was a legal act of war, and not a gross crime.
 
I agree, America stayed within the legal acts of war, and Japan refused, as they still do, refuse to admit the atrocities committed to their enemies that were very against the acts of war, and condemned by the league of nations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 10:06
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

I am trying to get my head around your argument.

The British bombing of German civilians is immoral and disgusting. This is what you have said.

The Bombing of Japanese civilians by Americans is fully justified. I am asking why?

At that stage of the war Japanese industry was a cottage industry manufacturing products for the war effort. If your point is Americans bombed civilians, your correct. Dresden may illustrate the point you are trying to make more clearly. The difference is the USAAF did most of it's fighting during the hours of daylight and mostly bombed military production, enemy combatants and their equipment. The RAFBC primary mission all during WW2 was the murder of German civilians in the middle of the night.


From my understanding of it, the British adopted the tactic of night bombing because of the attrition rate that daylight bombing had proven to be for them, yes they had tried that first primarily for accuracy. However, daylight bombing for them was not feasible given the loss of material and manpower that they would be hard pressed in making up. Switching to night bombing was not wrong, nor was it brutal, it was a matter of practical common sense for them.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Oswald Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 11:51
I have seen documentaries highlighting the efforts of women to WWII. They transported aircraft, even Germany had Hanna Reitsch, made aircraft, ships & ammunition, drove trains, trucks & buses  or worked in other war industries. A lot of them wore Armed Services uniform - were any on a "safe' list? Did any airforce have a no bomb zone? Did the Luftwaffe have a map of Coventry that showed where not to bomb? Did the USAAF bomb Dresden? Did the RAF bomb the Dams, Ruhr Valley & Peenemunde - were they looking for women & children? War is declared by a country against another country and the consequences affect everybody in those countries, one way or another. I don't think the RAF or the English were any worse.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 12:05
The US was also faced with a high attrition rate of bombers, and their solution was to fly in large formations with, wherever possible, fighter escort. This was difficult to do at the time, given the technology available, during nightime. The risk of collisions and other errors would have been very high. The RAF on the other hand did fly often without fighter cover, in smaller groups, even a single plane at times. The US did perhaps choose the safer path for their airmen- they had less casualties. The difference in accuracy however was negligible, given the navigational instruments of the time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 15:05
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes"

The dropping of nukes on Japan was a legal act of war, and not a gross crime.
It's very difficulty to see how dropping a nuclear bomb that kills tens of thousands of civilians can ever be construed as a legal act of war.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 15:12
Originally posted by Oswald Oswald wrote:

I have seen documentaries highlighting the efforts of women to WWII. They transported aircraft, even Germany had Hanna Reitsch, made aircraft, ships & ammunition, drove trains, trucks & buses  or worked in other war industries. A lot of them wore Armed Services uniform - were any on a "safe' list? Did any airforce have a no bomb zone? Did the Luftwaffe have a map of Coventry that showed where not to bomb? Did the USAAF bomb Dresden? Did the RAF bomb the Dams, Ruhr Valley & Peenemunde - were they looking for women & children? War is declared by a country against another country and the consequences affect everybody in those countries, one way or another. I don't think the RAF or the English were any worse.
I don't see how bombing designed to "dehouse" war workers in general residential areas could ever be construed as legal under international law. 
 
In attacking general residential areas you are bound to hit nurseries, hospitals, schools, butchers, bakers, invalids, children at home etc etc.
 
THis is not to say that the RAF were worse, but it is to say that had RAF Bomber Command appeared before a war crimes tribunal it's difficult to see what their defence would be in law (of course, ethically, one can put up an argument to defend the action).
 
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Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes"

The dropping of nukes on Japan was a legal act of war, and not a gross crime.
It's very difficulty to see how dropping a nuclear bomb that kills tens of thousands of civilians can ever be construed as a legal act of war.
 
In that case, it depends on what you would prefer to be a legal act of war. Would you prefer a nuclear bomb that, although has a massive aftermath of radiation, is more humane than that of the following, Or would you prefer the trapping of civilians within its own walls, making beheading innocent civilians into a sport, and impaling innocent children, which are later hung by the neck with chicken wire to be a legal act of war?
 
PS: The second choice indicates the atrocities at Nanking, and the "biological tests" in Manchukuo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 15:47
Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes"

The dropping of nukes on Japan was a legal act of war, and not a gross crime.
It's very difficulty to see how dropping a nuclear bomb that kills tens of thousands of civilians can ever be construed as a legal act of war.
 
In that case, it depends on what you would prefer to be a legal act of war. Would you prefer a nuclear bomb that, although has a massive aftermath of radiation, is more humane than that of the following, Or would you prefer the trapping of civilians within its own walls, making beheading innocent civilians into a sport, and impaling innocent children, which are later hung by the neck with chicken wire to be a legal act of war?
 
PS: The second choice indicates the atrocities at Nanking, and the "biological tests" in Manchukuo.
That's like asking if you prefer murder or rape. They are both illegal.
 
As I said, ethics and law are two different concepts.  I might steal food from a shop, which would be illegal. But if I was starving through no fault of my own, well ethically it is not to be condemned.
 
Bombing civilian areas is simply illegal under international law. That is well established I believe.
I think bombing general residential areas in order to "dehouse" war workers is illegal under the Geneva conventions then and now.
 
Of course the fact that it is illegal does not mean it is always unethical. As I said, I think a good ethical argument can be made for dropping the nuclear bombs on Japanese cities  (far more than the fire bomb raids which were never likely to force Japanese surrender).  HOwever, it is never going to make those acts legal. 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 16:06
Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes"

The dropping of nukes on Japan was a legal act of war, and not a gross crime.
It's very difficulty to see how dropping a nuclear bomb that kills tens of thousands of civilians can ever be construed as a legal act of war.
 
In that case, it depends on what you would prefer to be a legal act of war. Would you prefer a nuclear bomb that, although has a massive aftermath of radiation, is more humane than that of the following, Or would you prefer the trapping of civilians within its own walls, making beheading innocent civilians into a sport, and impaling innocent children, which are later hung by the neck with chicken wire to be a legal act of war?
 
PS: The second choice indicates the atrocities at Nanking, and the "biological tests" in Manchukuo.
That's like asking if you prefer murder or rape. They are both illegal.
 
As I said, ethics and law are two different concepts.  I might steal food from a shop, which would be illegal. But if I was starving through no fault of my own, well ethically it is not to be condemned.
 
Bombing civilian areas is simply illegal under international law. That is well established I believe.
I think bombing general residential areas in order to "dehouse" war workers is illegal under the Geneva conventions then and now.
 
Of course the fact that it is illegal does not mean it is always unethical. As I said, I think a good ethical argument can be made for dropping the nuclear bombs on Japanese cities  (far more than the fire bomb raids which were never likely to force Japanese surrender).  HOwever, it is never going to make those acts legal. 
 
 
 
Not in this comparison, the nuclear bomb, although is still causing several deaths, and defects, the Japanese killed more than both nuclear bombs, in a matter of 9 days in Nanking, at a cost of a minimal estimation of 200000 people. The tests in Manchukuo, killed even more, which is unable to be approximated (due to the lack of records other than few amounts of video footage), so the death toll all together from Japan's acts, are just as, if not twice as terrible as the effects of the nuclear bombs. This is not a game of ethics or brutallity, it is a game of "how many you can kill in a certain amount of time?".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 16:32
Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

So it is ok to bomb civilians in the daylight?
If it is justified, then yes.





Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes"

The dropping of nukes on Japan was a legal act of war, and not a gross crime.




Common people, is that mean you can bomb down me to pieces if you are at war with my country...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2012 at 21:58
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

"They are rather good at pointing the nuclear finger at the Americans without admitting to their own gross crimes"

The dropping of nukes on Japan was a legal act of war, and not a gross crime.

Agreed. But then it follows that so too was the firebombing of Dresden.
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