The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

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The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:48 pm

I wanted to bring this up for a general discussion.

Both the Germans and Allies bombed each other's cities and civilian populations during the war. I want to hear thoughts on this topic.

I want to focus this on the campaigns that began after September 1st, 1939.

This is a general discussion, feel free to bring any moral or military aspect to the table.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:18 pm

Don't you think you should start it?
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeff_36 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:20 pm

I posted this in response to Statmech in the Rizoli thread and I'll repost it here.

Allied methods may seen sketchy when looked at in isolation, but when one examines the Axis atrocities that provoked them then it becomes easily understandable. The bombing of Leningrad, the Blitz, the bombing of Rotterdam and all manner of Nazi atrocities against civilians on the Eastern front makes the bombing of Germany look like a case of chickens coming home to roost (and roost they did ).

As for Japan - the Japanese, frankly, behaved like barbarians towards prisoners and civilians. One need only read about the Rape of Nanking, Unit 731, and their horrible treatment of POW's including slave labor, medieval torture, and mass execution to understand that they were no normal foe. Just ask Matthew and Nathan how bad they feel about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Yokahoma.

What's more - their mentality was diametrically opposed to surrender and held the view that their islands were sacred. If the allies had invaded Japan, it would have been the most heated battle of WWII and it would have lasted a few years. Every Japanese man, woman, and child would have fought by the time the smoke cleared the Allies would have lost a million troops (according to McArthur's estimate) and casualties among the civilian populace would have likely been a plurality of the total Japanese population. Like it or not, the nuclear bombing saved millions of Japanese lives by convincing them to abrogate their insane last stand. If I were Obama, I'd send a card to Japan this August saying "you're welcome".

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:36 pm

This sounds like tu quoque argumentation. To raise concern about bombing of civilians is completely independent of supporting or minimizing Japanese war crimes, of course.

Interestingly, my father was on a battleship involved in the shelling of Japan, including Tokyo. He related that by summer 1945 the US Navy was able to attack Japanese cities with impunity, the Japanese unable to offer meaningful defense. What I've read confirms this. To this day he is utterly convinced that the bombings of civilian areas were war crimes and that, as a sailor in the USN, he was guilty of such.

Nor is there scholarly consensus on the point you state with certainty about what brought about Japan's surrender: there is contrary opinion for sure - that atomic diplomacy was about trying to prevent Soviet invasion of Japan, that the attack wasn't a military necessity, that the attack didn't bring about surrender, that surrender was more motivated by the Soviets joining the war in the East than the bombing.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:49 pm

Very few things are either/or. Almost always: a mix of things. Usually....one can correct the either/or analysis by recognizing what it really does is give a basis for rank order of influence/importance/concern...etc.

Were there any civilians in WW2 Japan?
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:54 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Don't you think you should start it?


I wanted to get some ideas of what other people thought.

Just in a general way, my own feelings are this:

To a large extent the Allied Bombing Campaign was driven by necessity. The Germans drove the British out of Europe in June of 1940 and except for Greece the British didn't return to Europe until 1943 and France until 1944. Their only option to stay in the war was to bomb Germany. The US operated in the same manner, it was the only thing they could do.

There were other considerations. One was strictly military, to prevent the movement of German troops material and to destroy Germay's industrial ability to make war by bombing her factories. This entailed bombing cities because these were assembly points and this is where the industries were located. Also, the technology available at the time prevented pin-point targeting.

There was also the psychological aspect. Mass bombing destroyed housing, killed civilians (undermining their faith in Hitler and the government) causes morale issues with civilians and military and so on.

To some extent the Luftwaffe operated in the same fashion but lacked the materials and resources to develop a true strategic bomber. The Luftwaffe also was more of a tactical force, supporting the Wehrmacht in attack. They engaged in "frightfulness," strafing civilians to damage morale and also attacked undefended cities in places like Poland, Yugoslavia, the USSR, etc.

Thoughts?

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:03 pm

The morale issue isn't at all clear, though, is it?

"Necessity" is a debatable point: there are different ways to accomplish military ends. Nor does the Dresden firebombing fit into the "necessity" time line you've laid out for the Allies. My concern - and there are all sorts of shades of grey here - isn't exactly with bombing military positions or industrial/communication installations of an adversary - it is with bombing that is directed at civilian populations, precisely out of a view of necessity - or bombing that is done in such a way that "collateral" wreckage is guaranteed. The minute you say "to affect morale" you've stepped outside bombing of military positions or infrastructure/industry that is war related.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Balsamo » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:30 pm

Hi Jeffk1970,

I have tried to start such a debate some times ago. Here is the link of the thread.

http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=22981

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:32 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:The morale issue isn't at all clear, though, is it?

"Necessity" is a debatable point: there are different ways to accomplish military ends. Nor does the Dresden firebombing fit into the "necessity" time line you've laid out for the Allies. My concern - and there are all sorts of shades of grey here - isn't exactly with bombing military positions or industrial/communication installations of an adversary - it is with bombing that is directed at civilian populations, precisely out of a view of necessity - or bombing that is done in such a way that "collateral" wreckage is guaranteed. The minute you say "to affect morale" you've stepped outside bombing of military positions or infrastructure/industry that is war related.


Dresden is tricky, however it was an industrial center and a railway center. Plus, Germany hardly showed any signs of quiting.

This is why I wanted to bring this topic up.

To me the bombing campaign is morally ambiguous for both sides.

To some degree I will argue cause and effect. Without the German invasion of Poland and the subsequent declaration of war by Britain and France, we wouldn't be having this discussion. No targeting of civilians by either side, no mass destruction and loss of life. Germany also started bombing civilian targets on the first day of the invasion of Poland, so, in a sense they broke the moral barrier.

Does that excuse the subsequent mass campaign carried out by the US and Britain?

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:35 pm

Balsamo wrote:Hi Jeffk1970,

I have tried to start such a debate some times ago. Here is the link of the thread.

http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=22981


Hi Balsamo:
Sorry, I missed your posting.

What do you think?

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:41 pm

Thanks Jeff.........I take it you want to make a distinction between Allied bombing and Axis Bombing? Wasn't the first thing the Brits did was to control the Seas? Shelling of Germany's warships by the warships of Britain??

You are in a war and on an island. You control the seas. Yeah....I think bombing is all you can do. so....by necessity.

.........or ............ is there an interest in whether bombing military sites for military reasons or bombing civilian/non-military sites for non-directly military reasons provides a difference for various avenues of deconstruction? Yes....I think so.

Are we all agreed that Germany initiated bombing of civilian targets to undermine morale? Is there a final judgment on whether such bombing helps or hurts the military war effort?

Pros and Cons to all we do.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:04 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Thanks Jeff.........I take it you want to make a distinction between Allied bombing and Axis Bombing? Wasn't the first thing the Brits did was to control the Seas? Shelling of Germany's warships by the warships of Britain??

You are in a war and on an island. You control the seas. Yeah....I think bombing is all you can do. so....by necessity.

.........or ............ is there an interest in whether bombing military sites for military reasons or bombing civilian/non-military sites for non-directly military reasons provides a difference for various avenues of deconstruction? Yes....I think so.

Are we all agreed that Germany initiated bombing of civilian targets to undermine morale? Is there a final judgment on whether such bombing helps or hurts the military war effort?

Pros and Cons to all we do.


I think we can agree that Germany initiated attacking civilian targets in Poland, though they were more restrained in Western Europe. The Luftwaffe bombed Rotterdam but didn't bomb Paris during the May-June campaign of 1940. Even The Blitz occurred after the Luftwaffe began to lose the Battle of Britain.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:55 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:The morale issue isn't at all clear, though, is it?

"Necessity" is a debatable point: there are different ways to accomplish military ends. Nor does the Dresden firebombing fit into the "necessity" time line you've laid out for the Allies. My concern - and there are all sorts of shades of grey here - isn't exactly with bombing military positions or industrial/communication installations of an adversary - it is with bombing that is directed at civilian populations, precisely out of a view of necessity - or bombing that is done in such a way that "collateral" wreckage is guaranteed. The minute you say "to affect morale" you've stepped outside bombing of military positions or infrastructure/industry that is war related.


Dresden is tricky, however it was an industrial center and a railway center. Plus, Germany hardly showed any signs of quiting.

Going on memory - which is even trickier LOL - many of the so-called military targets in Dresden were left alone. IMO (I need to review this material before I can say for sure!) the bombing of Dresden falls into that disproportionate, indiscriminate realm in which "too many" civilians are killed for the military rationale - but also probably of dubious military significance, in part because of the targeting. Surely, however, I can say that the bombing of Dresden doesn't fit into necessity for a beleaguered island nation "staying in the war" in 1940-1942.

I think under today's international law, the bombing of Dresden would be considered a war crime, because (again on memory) the bombing was as much a terror raid on the city as it was of military purpose. That's going by what was targeted, lack of care exercised not to take civilian life, and so on. I have to re-read some of the material on this because final judgments hinge on the facts. My recollection is that the Allies don't really have a strong case. IIRC Bloxham went so far as to describe this bombing as a war crime, which is iffy given the state of international law on aerial warfare at the time, and to state that Churchill was guilty. But today, well, I think aerial bombing of cities is coming quite a long ways toward criminality.

Jeffk 1970 wrote:To me the bombing campaign is morally ambiguous for both sides.

Some of it yes, some of it no. Hiroshima, Nagasaki: an atomic bomb striking the heart of a populous city cannot be justified as aimed at military targets whilst taking care not to obliterate civilians. I don't find these cases ambiguous at all. In the same vein, my father's concern - that when the Japanese couldn't mount defense, we struck civilian centers with napalm bombs.

Jeffk 1970 wrote: some degree I will argue cause and effect. Without the German invasion of Poland and the subsequent declaration of war by Britain and France, we wouldn't be having this discussion. No targeting of civilians by either side, no mass destruction and loss of life. Germany also started bombing civilian targets on the first day of the invasion of Poland, so, in a sense they broke the moral barrier.

Does that excuse the subsequent mass campaign carried out by the US and Britain?

No. The law of war doesn't allow you to commit war crimes, target civilians, wreak maximum casualties on civilians, etc because the other side did. But also on practical grounds it isn't even shown that this type of violence is effective militarily or in winning wars. In the present case, "Dresden" didn't convince Germany to surrender, any more than did all the other cities bombed to ruin morale. But, of course, the Allies did also transgress the moral barriers. I fear that, without equating what isn't equivalent, this is what happened in some cases - and it doesn't help to say that the Nazis did it first or worst.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:31 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:The morale issue isn't at all clear, though, is it?

"Necessity" is a debatable point: there are different ways to accomplish military ends. Nor does the Dresden firebombing fit into the "necessity" time line you've laid out for the Allies. My concern - and there are all sorts of shades of grey here - isn't exactly with bombing military positions or industrial/communication installations of an adversary - it is with bombing that is directed at civilian populations, precisely out of a view of necessity - or bombing that is done in such a way that "collateral" wreckage is guaranteed. The minute you say "to affect morale" you've stepped outside bombing of military positions or infrastructure/industry that is war related.


Dresden is tricky, however it was an industrial center and a railway center. Plus, Germany hardly showed any signs of quiting.

Going on memory - which is even trickier LOL - many of the so-called military targets in Dresden were left alone. IMO (I need to review this material before I can say for sure!) the bombing of Dresden falls into that disproportionate, indiscriminate realm in which "too many" civilians are killed for the military rationale - but also probably of dubious military significance, in part because of the targeting. Surely, however, I can say that the bombing of Dresden doesn't fit into necessity for a beleaguered island nation "staying in the war" in 1940-1942.

I think under today's international law, the bombing of Dresden would be considered a war crime, because (again on memory) the bombing was as much a terror raid on the city as it was of military purpose. That's going by what was targeted, lack of care exercised not to take civilian life, and so on. I have to re-read some of the material on this because final judgments hinge on the facts. My recollection is that the Allies don't really have a strong case. IIRC Bloxham went so far as to describe this bombing as a war crime, which is iffy given the state of international law on aerial warfare at the time. But today, well, I think aerial bombing of cities is coming quite a long ways toward criminality.

Jeffk 1970 wrote:To me the bombing campaign is morally ambiguous for both sides.

Some of it yes, some of it no. Hiroshima, Nagasaki: an atomic bomb striking the heart of a populous city cannot be justified as aimed at military targets whilst taking care not to obliterate civilians. I don't find these cases ambiguous at all. In the same vein, my father's concern - that when the Japanese couldn't mount defense, we struck civilian centers with napalm bombs.

Jeffk 1970 wrote: some degree I will argue cause and effect. Without the German invasion of Poland and the subsequent declaration of war by Britain and France, we wouldn't be having this discussion. No targeting of civilians by either side, no mass destruction and loss of life. Germany also started bombing civilian targets on the first day of the invasion of Poland, so, in a sense they broke the moral barrier.

Does that excuse the subsequent mass campaign carried out by the US and Britain?

No. The law of war doesn't allow you to commit war crimes, target civilians, wreak maximum casualties on civilians, etc because the other side did. But also on practical grounds it isn't even shown that this type of violence is effective militarily or in winning wars.


I agree with this type of violence isn't particularly effective. By moving many industries underground or surrounding them with anti-aircraft batteries Albert Speer actually produced more war material during the height of the bombing campaign. In fact, if memory serves, he produced more guns, tanks, etc. in 1944.

My belief is that this violence is self-perpetuating. Germans bombed civilians, the allies retaliated. The allies bombed civilians, the Germans retaliated.

Look at the Blitz, for example.
A Luftwaffe pilot strayed off course and drops bombs on London. Churchill bombs Berlin in retaliation, which caused Hitler to order reprisal attacks (this was actually a detriment to the Luftwaffe. At that point Goering refocused his attacks away from radar stations, which was actually damaging the RAF's ability to intercept German bombers, to attacks on British cities.).

The British and US bombing campaign did assist the Soviets. The campaign forced the Germans to keep large Luftwaffe squadrons in Germany for defense and it forced the Germans to devote valuable resources that would otherwise been used against the Soviet Union.
So, in essence, this helped an ally.
What are the thoughts on this aspect?

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeff_36 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:38 pm

I think Balsamo might have a few things to say....

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby ElectricMonk » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:41 pm

I think it is clear in hindsight that the Allied bombing of Germany and Japan went on for much longer and was much more brutal than was necessary to end the war. I say in hindsight because it probably wasn't clear even to military commanders at the time.
But there is no doubt that the bombing campaigns were partially done for the benefit of the homefront: anti-German feelings were high in Britain, of course, as were anti-Japanese ones in the US.
To this day Germany is digging out a few unexploded bombs each year.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby psychiatry is a scam » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:02 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:The morale issue isn't at all clear, though, is it?

"Necessity" is a debatable point: there are different ways to accomplish military ends. Nor does the Dresden firebombing fit into the "necessity" time line you've laid out for the Allies. My concern - and there are all sorts of shades of grey here - isn't exactly with bombing military positions or industrial/communication installations of an adversary - it is with bombing that is directed at civilian populations, precisely out of a view of necessity - or bombing that is done in such a way that "collateral" wreckage is guaranteed. The minute you say "to affect morale" you've stepped outside bombing of military positions or infrastructure/industry that is war related.


Dresden is tricky, however it was an industrial center and a railway center. Plus, Germany hardly showed any signs of quiting.

This is why I wanted to bring this topic up.

To me the bombing campaign is morally ambiguous for both sides.

To some degree I will argue cause and effect. Without the German invasion of Poland and the subsequent declaration of war by Britain and France, we wouldn't be having this discussion. No targeting of civilians by either side, no mass destruction and loss of life. Germany also started bombing civilian targets on the first day of the invasion of Poland, so, in a sense they broke the moral barrier.

Does that excuse the subsequent mass campaign carried out by the US and Britain?


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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:09 pm

So.......Jeff: what point or issue about civilian and/or/versus military targeted bombing is of interest to you? I suppose....some statement to the effect that it should or should not be done??

It always cracks me up: "Rules of War." Mostly just BS. Seems to me, such rules or laws before, during, and after War are for the purpose of maintaining homeland support for War. Things trickle down and ooze out from there.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:37 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:So.......Jeff: what point or issue about civilian and/or/versus military targeted bombing is of interest to you? I suppose....some statement to the effect that it should or should not be done??

It always cracks me up: "Rules of War." Mostly just BS. Seems to me, such rules or laws before, during, and after War are for the purpose of maintaining homeland support for War. Things trickle down and ooze out from there.


"suppose....some statement to the effect that it should or should not be done??"

I wanted to hear what others think about this.


What interests me is the various sides I've seen regarding this.

HD emphasize the Allied Bombing Campaign but neglect what the Luftwaffe did.

The various authors I read, Michael Burleigh and Max Hastings, to name a few, are taking a much more critical view of the bombing of Germany.

SM brought interesting points to this, I've named a few as well.

BTW I agree with you regarding the "Rules of War." So-called "rules" last until one side breaks them.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:11 pm

I don't want to repeat prior discussions - re: rules of war - so instead of re-stating earlier arguments I have to ask: on what basis, without customary rules of war and international law, would trials, like those before the IMT and NMT or the ICC , be held? Or is the viewpoint here that the IMT and NMT were not legitimate and should not have held trials after WWII?
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:13 pm

Good points. Rules of War is a brand new concept. To my knowledge: never have been followed. Leaving me to wonder about what is being promoted by those who try to act as if they had any "real" usefulness OTHER THAN to make constant warfare more acceptable.

There is nothing more violent and disgusting than to be a young boy and drafted into a military and told to go kill and be killed other people you have absolutely no beef with. I'm in mind of this given the passing of Muhammad Ali last week. He was right. When civilians are killed in war...at least they didn't have to join the military.

Its contextual.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:15 pm

SM--different rules. ............... or all the same rules that are expressly recognized as applied by the winner against the loser, rather than having Losers executed while the winners hold an investigation that is inconclusive.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:33 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I don't want to repeat prior discussions - re: rules of war - so instead of re-stating earlier arguments I have to ask: on what basis, without customary rules of war and international law, would trials, like those before the IMT and NMT or the ICC , be held? Or is the viewpoint here that the IMT and NMT were not legitimate and should not have held trials after WWII?


The IMT and NMT were perfectly legitimate. They were certainly better than executing the German prisoners out of hand....and that was an option that was bandied about.

Were they flawed?
Sure. However, what the IMT legitimized is the concept that sovereign nations are not immune and there are certain rules that you have to abide by, even during wartime.
As far as I know no Luftwaffe commander was prosecuted for purely bombing a civilian target.

What the Germans did, the systematic killing of Jews and others, the deliberate starvation of 2 million Soviet POWs, the genocidal actions against the Poles (which the Soviets also did but it pays to be on the winning side) and other things are beyond even any loose interpretation of the Rules of War.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:17 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:I don't want to repeat prior discussions - re: rules of war - so instead of re-stating earlier arguments I have to ask: on what basis, without customary rules of war and international law, would trials, like those before the IMT and NMT or the ICC , be held? Or is the viewpoint here that the IMT and NMT were not legitimate and should not have held trials after WWII?


The IMT and NMT were perfectly legitimate. They were certainly better than executing the German prisoners out of hand....and that was an option that was bandied about.

Were they flawed?
Sure. However, what the IMT legitimized is the concept that sovereign nations are not immune and there are certain rules that you have to abide by, even during wartime.
As far as I know no Luftwaffe commander was prosecuted for purely bombing a civilian target.

What the Germans did, the systematic killing of Jews and others, the deliberate starvation of 2 million Soviet POWs, the genocidal actions against the Poles (which the Soviets also did but it pays to be on the winning side) and other things are beyond even any loose interpretation of the Rules of War.

Leaving aside the mass murder of the Jews, which was a crime against humanity, on what basis, without "rules of war," can various countries say that the German destruction of 3.3 million POWs was prosecutable and punishable?

Maybe I misread an earlier post where I took that you were agreeing that "so-called rules of war" are basically BS . . . ?
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Balsamo » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:29 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Don't you think you should start it?


I wanted to get some ideas of what other people thought.

Just in a general way, my own feelings are this:

To a large extent the Allied Bombing Campaign was driven by necessity. The Germans drove the British out of Europe in June of 1940 and except for Greece the British didn't return to Europe until 1943 and France until 1944. Their only option to stay in the war was to bomb Germany. The US operated in the same manner, it was the only thing they could do.

There were other considerations. One was strictly military, to prevent the movement of German troops material and to destroy Germay's industrial ability to make war by bombing her factories. This entailed bombing cities because these were assembly points and this is where the industries were located. Also, the technology available at the time prevented pin-point targeting.

There was also the psychological aspect. Mass bombing destroyed housing, killed civilians (undermining their faith in Hitler and the government) causes morale issues with civilians and military and so on.

To some extent the Luftwaffe operated in the same fashion but lacked the materials and resources to develop a true strategic bomber. The Luftwaffe also was more of a tactical force, supporting the Wehrmacht in attack. They engaged in "frightfulness," strafing civilians to damage morale and also attacked undefended cities in places like Poland, Yugoslavia, the USSR, etc.

Thoughts?


Well, in my original post, i have tried to summarize the existent norms regarding Aerial warfare, motivated by the reading of Taylor's book on Dresden i consider as really bad.
The first text represent the spirit, but in regard to the start of bombing outside the norms, the two text- by the League of Nation of which Britain was still a member, as well as the "Roosevelt pact" signed both the Britain, France and Germany, is very important.
We all are aware that Deniers love to point out "to quoque" and to profit from moral equivalence of crimes committed, but reading many reactions by non deniers, i can only observe that there is a similar tendency, that is to introduce vague concepts like "values", and the famous "who started first"...taking Poland as an example. Taylor does that.

This is why i wanted to insist on some important point:
1./ the killing of civilians

It is not that simple though. International laws never intended to protect civilian population 100%, and during a war, killing civilians does not constitute a crime. I have often mention the example of the siege of La Rochelle which killed half the population in those days. To siege - that is to press a fortress to surrender by starving it - belongs to customary law. The naval blockage by the Royal Navy during both WW1 and WW2 followed the same logic, and both killed as many civilians as tens of deadly strategic bombings. Still, both blockade were not illegal.
The idea and spirit behind legal definitions were to limit those civilian deaths and to prevent "targeting civilians" to become a strategy or an accepted tactics and a military doctrine as envisioned by Douhet.

By 1940, given that no specific treaty were handling with Aerial Warfare, the rules regarding the siege and the use of artillery were to be observe, bombers being considered as flying artillery.

2./the precedents:
In this above perspective, what does matter is this article:
“The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.”
“The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities.”

If those conditions are fulfilled, well then the attacking army can destroy the city, legally.
In the famous case of Warsaw, the city was under siege and the Poles were warned of the bombing and given a chance to surrender without fighting. The city was defended.

Mostly the same applies also for the bombing of Rotterdam. It was defended, took place within a global assault, the city was warned and asked to surrender prior the air attack. The military objective was to seize the city It seems that bad communication was responsible.

Another important point to notice is that in both cases, the destructive mission could have been given to the artillery.

The use of air Force as a flying artillery is called "tactical bombing".

I remember Nessie mentioning the destruction of small Polish town - Frampol IIRC- located at strategic crossroad, and indeed killing many civilians, while making the movements of the Polish Army more difficult. In this case it was not a siege, so it is better to have a look on the specific articles which were not ratified and which are:

(1) Aerial bombardment is legitimate only when directed at a military objective, that is to say, an object of which the destruction or injury would constitute a distinct military advantage to the belligerent.
(2) Such bombardment (as defined in point 1) is legitimate only when directed exclusively at the following objectives: military forces; military works; military establishments or depots; factories constituting important and well-known centers engaged in the manufacture of arms, ammunition or distinctively military supplies; lines of communication or transportation used for military purposes.
(3) The bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings not in the immediate neighborhood of the operations of land forces is prohibited. In cases where the objectives specified in paragraph 2 are so situated, that they cannot be bombarded without the indiscriminate bombardment of the civilian population, the aircraft must abstain from bombardment.
(4) In the immediate neighborhood of the operations of land forces, the bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings is legitimate provided that there exists a reasonable presumption that the military concentration is sufficiently important to justify such bombardment, having regard to the danger thus posed to the civilian population.


Point 1 is clearly respected. Again it is clear that the concept of "military objective" is to be understood as being part of a larger military operation, and that a distinct military advantage is easily to see within such operations....in the case of Poland, it was "lines of communication"

None of those German precedent can be considered as Strategic Bombing.
Again, it is not the fact that civilians dies that constitute the criminal basis.

3./ Strategic Bombings:

Strategic bombing did not appear all of a sudden as a consequence of some military situation. it was a revolutionary war doctrine thought by some personalities after world war 1. It was inspired by the new possibilities offered by the evolution of aviation. From the start the destruction of "a people's will to fight" is found in the strategic objectives of the doctrine. Civilians would not just face the risk of being the victim of bombing of military objectives, civilians were to become ONE Objective.

My opinion is that this perspective was the motor of the effort to regulate aerial warfare as soon as 1923, and inspired Roosevelt to make the belligerents promise not to use this military doctrine. It was agreed by Great Britain, France and Germany (after the campaign of Poland).
Here is the promise:

The ruthless bombing from the air of civilians in unfortified centers of population during the course of the hostilities which have raged in various quarters of the earth during the past few years, which has resulted in the maiming and in the death of thousands of defenseless men, women, and children,
has sickened the hearts of every civilized man and woman
, and has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity.
If resort is had to this form of inhuman barbarism during the period of the tragic conflagration with which the world is now confronted, hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings who have no responsibility for, and who are not even remotely participating in, the hostilities which have now broken out, will lose their lives.
I am therefore addressing this urgent appeal to every government which may be engaged in hostilities publicly to affirm its determination that its armed forces shall in no event, and under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities, upon the understanding that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all of their opponents. I request an immediate reply.


It is clearly the doctrine of Strategic Bombing which is targeted by this call. And the three belligerents agreed not to use it.

As a matter of fact, it is Great Britain which broke his word the first, using Rotterdam as a justification - claiming 30.000 civilians had been killed (actually it was around 800)- a started using the strategic bombing doctrine - that is bombings that are strategy on their own (outside any military operation), by targeting cities east of the Rhine as soon as May 40.
It was not very effective, and only few civilians died, but the word was broken nevertheless. Germany will file official complains, and France will be very critical toward its ally as it felt the more at risk of retaliation.

By June 40, The RAF will send bombers on the undefended Italian cities of Genoa, Torino and Milan...objectives far behind enemy lines outside any military operation...again few victims but Strategic bombing nevertheless. They were costly for the RAF and insignificant strategically.
Other German cities will be targeted in August, until finally Hitler renounce to his word and launched what is known as the "Blitz" a purely Strategic bombing operation. Since that date, one can consider all potential previous norms as dead.

4./ the limits of international laws:

As mentioned in the last sentence of Roosevelt's call, a international law to exist has to be based on reciprocity, like a treaty, a convention. It also has to be in each of the participants (signatories) interest. The main motivation for a belligerent to respect the Geneva convention is to protect his own PoW held in the enemy camp. The same way, the Nazi signed the Roosevelt paper in order to protect his own population not for some humanistic sympathy toward the British population. France opposed Britain's first bombings not because they liked the Germans but because they feared for their own cities behind the front.

Given the situation faced by Great Britain after May 1940, Churchill did not care about International laws, and was absolutely ready to commit authentic crime, the most obvious being Mers el Kebir and the destruction of the French fleet (killing over 3000 former allies). However one tries to justify that, it was a war crime, against a former ally who was not in a state of war against Great Britain.
It broke his word on Strategic bombing for two reason: 1./ because the doctrine was quite advanced and had partisans there, 2./ because it was obvious that it would be the only mean to pretend continue a war. Once the British army withdrawn from the continent, there were only two things Britain could do: a continental blockade and sporadic strategic bombings. Once the doctrine adopted, it led to further research into producing bigger and bigger heavy bombers, bigger and more deadly bombs, a logic on its own...a dynamic which will lead to unprecedented death rate among civilians.
This doctrine described by Roosevelt as "sickening the hearts of any civilized man" had been adopted in May 1940.

Whether it does constitute a war crime or not, well it is a bit complicated, and i will leave that for a next post, but there was a jurisprudence as Germany was indeed condemned by an international court for having bombed a city behind enemy lines after World War 1 (i think the city was in Romania), the verdict was based on the the Hague Convention, kind of assimilating aerial warfare to the use of artillery.

Personally, i think that Great Britain was very aware of the "illegality" of its decision, but took it nevertheless. And it is quite obvious that had the Nazi won the war, there would have been a trial to condemn the British government.

I am not judging the decision in anyway, i think that judging is not part of the job of historians. States act according to their interests, not on values or principles. Roosevelt's call was sincere no doubt, but was expressed during peace time. Once at war, it became obvious even to those american well-hearted people that there was no much other way to strike Japan.

Japan by the way was the first power to use Strategic bombing in China, so it chose not to be covered by customary laws in the first place.
By launching the Blitz, Hitler accepted the new rules - and beside the decision being one of his worst mistake - the German population ended paying a hefty price for it.

But we have to admit that there is no such thing as "retaliation" at play here. It is not retaliation that inspired the British adoption of the Douhet doctrine, it was adopted months before the first bomb fell on London. They did it because they were already researching the doctrine and because it was the only thing they could do. The Blitz was a consequence of this choice, and despite the high number of innocent victims, it was essential in pushing the USA into the war, saved the RAF from annihilation, so pushed Hitler into making one of his worst mistake.

PS: That being said, there is noway it can be used to exonerate any crime committed by the Nazi regime. Things should just not be mixed, otherwise we fell in the "moral equivalency pit". Nazi Germany had committed numerous crimes in regards of the laws of war, like invading countries without declaration of war, killing civilians in Poland, mass killing Jews, ghettoization of those not killed, etc.

But it goes both ways, those crimes should not serve as a shield regarding the Allies behavior, especially when there are no connection between them. I mean by that, that German cities were not bombed because Hitler was killing Jews, starving Russian PoWs, etc.
Last edited by Balsamo on Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Denying-History » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:38 am

psychiatry is a scam wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:The morale issue isn't at all clear, though, is it?

"Necessity" is a debatable point: there are different ways to accomplish military ends. Nor does the Dresden firebombing fit into the "necessity" time line you've laid out for the Allies. My concern - and there are all sorts of shades of grey here - isn't exactly with bombing military positions or industrial/communication installations of an adversary - it is with bombing that is directed at civilian populations, precisely out of a view of necessity - or bombing that is done in such a way that "collateral" wreckage is guaranteed. The minute you say "to affect morale" you've stepped outside bombing of military positions or infrastructure/industry that is war related.


Dresden is tricky, however it was an industrial center and a railway center. Plus, Germany hardly showed any signs of quiting.

This is why I wanted to bring this topic up.

To me the bombing campaign is morally ambiguous for both sides.

To some degree I will argue cause and effect. Without the German invasion of Poland and the subsequent declaration of war by Britain and France, we wouldn't be having this discussion. No targeting of civilians by either side, no mass destruction and loss of life. Germany also started bombing civilian targets on the first day of the invasion of Poland, so, in a sense they broke the moral barrier.

Does that excuse the subsequent mass campaign carried out by the US and Britain?


Curtis Lemay - if we'd lost the war , we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals .

shood start a thread for this - allworldwars.com/Paulus-in-Captivity
amazing conversation - if its too absurd to be true , its probably not ???


Robert McNamara said:

I don't fault Truman for dropping the nuclear bomb. The U.S.—Japanese War was one of the most brutal wars in all of human history ? kamikaze pilots, suicide, unbelievable. What one can criticize is that the human race prior to that time ? and today ? has not really grappled with what are, I'll call it, "the rules of war." Was there a rule then that said you shouldn't bomb, shouldn't kill, shouldn't burn to death 100,000 civilians in one night?


http://www.errolmorris.com/film/fow_transcript.html

It depends on what what one calls the rules of war, as Lesson #11 goes, you cannot change human nature.
« Lies written in ink cannot disguise facts written in blood. »
- Lu Xun

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:50 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:I don't want to repeat prior discussions - re: rules of war - so instead of re-stating earlier arguments I have to ask: on what basis, without customary rules of war and international law, would trials, like those before the IMT and NMT or the ICC , be held? Or is the viewpoint here that the IMT and NMT were not legitimate and should not have held trials after WWII?


The IMT and NMT were perfectly legitimate. They were certainly better than executing the German prisoners out of hand....and that was an option that was bandied about.

Were they flawed?
Sure. However, what the IMT legitimized is the concept that sovereign nations are not immune and there are certain rules that you have to abide by, even during wartime.
As far as I know no Luftwaffe commander was prosecuted for purely bombing a civilian target.

What the Germans did, the systematic killing of Jews and others, the deliberate starvation of 2 million Soviet POWs, the genocidal actions against the Poles (which the Soviets also did but it pays to be on the winning side) and other things are beyond even any loose interpretation of the Rules of War.

Leaving aside the mass murder of the Jews, which was a crime against humanity, on what basis, without "rules of war," can various countries say that the German destruction of 3.3 million POWs was prosecutable and punishable?

Maybe I misread an earlier post where I took that you were agreeing that "so-called rules of war" are basically BS . . . ?


My point is that rules only work as long as both sides adhere to them.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:52 am

Balsamo wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Don't you think you should start it?


I wanted to get some ideas of what other people thought.

Just in a general way, my own feelings are this:

To a large extent the Allied Bombing Campaign was driven by necessity. The Germans drove the British out of Europe in June of 1940 and except for Greece the British didn't return to Europe until 1943 and France until 1944. Their only option to stay in the war was to bomb Germany. The US operated in the same manner, it was the only thing they could do.

There were other considerations. One was strictly military, to prevent the movement of German troops material and to destroy Germay's industrial ability to make war by bombing her factories. This entailed bombing cities because these were assembly points and this is where the industries were located. Also, the technology available at the time prevented pin-point targeting.

There was also the psychological aspect. Mass bombing destroyed housing, killed civilians (undermining their faith in Hitler and the government) causes morale issues with civilians and military and so on.

To some extent the Luftwaffe operated in the same fashion but lacked the materials and resources to develop a true strategic bomber. The Luftwaffe also was more of a tactical force, supporting the Wehrmacht in attack. They engaged in "frightfulness," strafing civilians to damage morale and also attacked undefended cities in places like Poland, Yugoslavia, the USSR, etc.

Thoughts?


Well, in my original post, i have tried to summarize the existent norms regarding Aerial warfare, motivated by the reading of Taylor's book on Dresden i consider as really bad.
The first text represent the spirit, but in regard to the start of bombing outside the norms, the two text- by the League of Nation of which Britain was still a member, as well as the "Roosevelt pact" signed both the Britain, France and Germany, is very important.
We all are aware that Deniers love to point out "to quoque" and to profit from moral equivalence of crimes committed, but reading many reactions by non deniers, i can only observe that there is a similar tendency, that is to introduce vague concepts like "values", and the famous "who started first"...taking Poland as an example. Taylor does that.

This is why i wanted to insist on some important point:
1./ the killing of civilians

It is not that simple though. International laws never intended to protect civilian population 100%, and during a war, killing civilians does not constitute a crime. I have often mention the example of the siege of La Rochelle which killed half the population in those days. To siege - that is to press a fortress to surrender by starving it - belongs to customary law. The naval blockage by the Royal Navy during both WW1 and WW2 followed the same logic, and both killed as many civilians as tens of deadly strategic bombings. Still, both blockade were not illegal.
The idea and spirit behind legal definitions were to limit those civilian deaths and to prevent "targeting civilians" to become a strategy or an accepted tactics and a military doctrine as envisioned by Douhet.

By 1940, given that no specific treaty were handling with Aerial Warfare, the rules regarding the siege and the use of artillery were to be observe, bombers being considered as flying artillery.

2./the precedents:
In this above perspective, what does matter is this article:
“The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.”
“The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities.”

If those conditions are fulfilled, well then the attacking army can destroy the city, legally.
In the famous case of Warsaw, the city was under siege and the Poles were warned of the bombing and given a chance to surrender without fighting. The city was defended.

Mostly the same applies also for the bombing of Rotterdam. It was defended, took place within a global assault, the city was warned and asked to surrender prior the air attack. The military objective was to seize the city It seems that bad communication was responsible.

Another important point to notice is that in both cases, the destructive mission could have been given to the artillery.

The use of air Force as a flying artillery is called "tactical bombing".

I remember Nessie mentioning the destruction of small Polish town - Frampol IIRC- located at strategic crossroad, and indeed killing many civilians, while making the movements of the Polish Army more difficult. In this case it was not a siege, so it is better to have a look on the specific articles which were not ratified and which are:

(1) Aerial bombardment is legitimate only when directed at a military objective, that is to say, an object of which the destruction or injury would constitute a distinct military advantage to the belligerent.
(2) Such bombardment (as defined in point 1) is legitimate only when directed exclusively at the following objectives: military forces; military works; military establishments or depots; factories constituting important and well-known centers engaged in the manufacture of arms, ammunition or distinctively military supplies; lines of communication or transportation used for military purposes.
(3) The bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings not in the immediate neighborhood of the operations of land forces is prohibited. In cases where the objectives specified in paragraph 2 are so situated, that they cannot be bombarded without the indiscriminate bombardment of the civilian population, the aircraft must abstain from bombardment.
(4) In the immediate neighborhood of the operations of land forces, the bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings is legitimate provided that there exists a reasonable presumption that the military concentration is sufficiently important to justify such bombardment, having regard to the danger thus posed to the civilian population.


Point 1 is clearly respected. Again it is clear that the concept of "military objective" is to be understood as being part of a larger military operation, and that a distinct military advantage is easily to see within such operations....in the case of Poland, it was "lines of communication"

None of those German precedent can be considered as Strategic Bombing.
Again, it is not the fact that civilians dies that constitute the criminal basis.

3./ Strategic Bombings:

Strategic bombing did not appear all of a sudden as a consequence of some military situation. it was a revolutionary war doctrine thought by some personalities after world war 1. It was inspired by the new possibilities offered by the evolution of aviation. From the start the destruction of "a people's will to fight" is found in the strategic objectives of the doctrine. Civilians would not just face the risk of being the victim of bombing of military objectives, civilians were to become ONE Objective.

My opinion is that this perspective was the motor of the effort to regulate aerial warfare as soon as 1923, and inspired Roosevelt to make the belligerents promise not to use this military doctrine. It was agreed by Great Britain, France and Germany (after the campaign of Poland).
Here is the promise:

The ruthless bombing from the air of civilians in unfortified centers of population during the course of the hostilities which have raged in various quarters of the earth during the past few years, which has resulted in the maiming and in the death of thousands of defenseless men, women, and children,
has sickened the hearts of every civilized man and woman
, and has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity.
If resort is had to this form of inhuman barbarism during the period of the tragic conflagration with which the world is now confronted, hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings who have no responsibility for, and who are not even remotely participating in, the hostilities which have now broken out, will lose their lives.
I am therefore addressing this urgent appeal to every government which may be engaged in hostilities publicly to affirm its determination that its armed forces shall in no event, and under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities, upon the understanding that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all of their opponents. I request an immediate reply.


It is clearly the doctrine of Strategic Bombing which is targeted by this call. And the three belligerents agreed not to use it.

As a matter of fact, it is Great Britain which broke his word the first, using Rotterdam as a justification - claiming 30.000 civilians had been killed (actually it was around 800)- a started using the strategic bombing doctrine - that is bombings that are strategy on their own (outside any military operation), by targeting cities east of the Rhine as soon as May 40.
It was not very effective, and only few civilians died, but the word was broken nevertheless. Germany will file official complains, and France will be very critical toward its ally as it felt the more at risk of retaliation.

By June 40, The RAF will send bombers on the undefended Italian cities of Genoa, Torino and Milan...objectives far behind enemy lines outside any military operation...again few victims but Strategic bombing nevertheless. They were costly for the RAF and insignificant strategically.
Other German cities will be targeted in August, until finally Hitler renounce to his word and launched what is known as the "Blitz" a purely Strategic bombing operation. Since that date, one can consider all potential previous norms as dead.

4./ the limits of international laws:

As mentioned in the last sentence of Roosevelt's call, a international law to exist has to be based on reciprocity, like a treaty, a convention. It also has to be in each of the participants (signatories) interest. The main motivation for a belligerent to respect the Geneva convention is to protect his own PoW held in the enemy camp. The same way, the Nazi signed the Roosevelt paper in order to protect his own population not for some humanistic sympathy toward the British population. France opposed Britain's first bombings not because they liked the Germans but because they feared for their own cities behind the front.

Given the situation faced by Great Britain after May 1940, Churchill did not care about International laws, and was absolutely ready to commit authentic crime, the most obvious being Mers el Kebir and the destruction of the French fleet (killing over 3000 former allies). However one tries to justify that, it was a war crime, against a former ally who was not in a state of war against Great Britain.
It broke his word on Strategic bombing for two reason: 1./ because the doctrine was quite advanced and had partisans there, 2./ because it was obvious that it would be the only mean to pretend continue a war. Once the British army withdrawn from the continent, there were only two things Britain could do: a continental blockade and sporadic strategic bombings. Once the doctrine adopted, it led to further research into producing bigger and bigger heavy bombers, bigger and more deadly bombs, a logic on its own...a dynamic which will lead to unprecedented death rate among civilians.
This doctrine described by Roosevelt as "sickening the hearts of any civilized man" had been adopted in May 1940.

Whether it does constitute a war crime or not, well it is a bit complicated, and i will leave that for a next post, but there was a jurisprudence as Germany was indeed condemned by an international court for having bombed a city behind enemy lines after World War 1 (i think the city was in Romania), the verdict was based on the the Hague Convention, kind of assimilating aerial warfare to the use of artillery.

Personally, i think that Great Britain was very aware of the "illegality" of its decision, but took it nevertheless. And it is quite obvious that had the Nazi won the war, there would have been a trial to condemn the British government.

I am not judging the decision in anyway, i think that judging is not part of the job of historians. States act according to their interests, not on values or principles. Roosevelt's call was sincere no doubt, but was expressed during peace time. Once at war, it became obvious even to those american well-hearted people that there was no much other way to strike Japan.

Japan by the way was the first power to use Strategic bombing in China, so it chose not to be covered by customary laws in the first place.
By launching the Blitz, Hitler accepted the new rules - and beside the decision being one of his worst mistake - the German population ended paying a hefty price for it.

But we have to admit that there is no such thing as "retaliation" at play here. It is not retaliation that inspired the British adoption of the Douhet doctrine, it was adopted months before the first bomb fell on London. They did it because they were already researching the doctrine and because it was the only thing they could do. The Blitz was a consequence of this choice, and despite the high number of innocent victims, it was essential in pushing the USA into the war, saved the RAF from annihilation, so pushed Hitler into making one of his worst mistake.

PS: That being said, there is noway it can be used to exonerate any crime committed by the Nazi regime. Things should just not be mixed, otherwise we fell in the "moral equivalency pit". Nazi Germany had committed numerous crimes in regards of the laws of war, like invading countries without declaration of war, killing civilians in Poland, mass killing Jews, ghettoization of those not killed, etc.

But it goes both ways, those crimes should not serve as a shield regarding the Allies behavior, especially when there are no connection between them. I mean by that, that German cities were not bombed because Hitler was killing Jews, starving Russian PoWs, etc.



Wow, great post. Thank you.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:54 am

Nice video re McNamara..... except...war is not that complex. It might be as simple as it gets. Whoever kills enough of the other guy...wins. Rules of War sets up a huge hypocrisy...which is ok if you settle for hypocrisy. If one side actually followed the Rules of War "too" closely...it would be harder to win any war fought whether on offense or defense.

I see the benefit of Rules of War for a country: keep your own troops in line so that their/your own atrocities don't encourage a counter movement....but short of that...WAR is about killing other side every opportunity you get. The dividing line between civilians and military is too often too artificial...and even when not artificial...its ....too difficult for the troops in the field to "honor" if you want to win asap.

SM==you disagree. Will you agree the dropping the Nukes on Japan did shorten the war? Or more importantly....that had the Nukes not been dropped that X number of Allies would have died before the war would have ground to a halt? How many Allied Lives would have been worth following the Rules of War?
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Balsamo » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:05 am

Jeff_36 wrote:I think Balsamo might have a few things to say....

:lol:

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:27 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:My point is that rules only work as long as both sides adhere to them.

Well, to disagree a bit: first, the rules are not BS because they pressure countries not to do certain things - the idea of restraint.

Second, they are not BS because when a country violates the conventions, these rules of war - customary or explicit - make possible actions like the IMT and NMT.

Third, I am not well versed in this but I am aware that in modern international law a humanitarian obligation has eroded the strict application of an older view of reciprocity and that this development is codified in Article I of the 1949 Geneva Convention, that is, "in all circumstances" - a learning from WWII (e.g., a US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) "The most important relevant treaties, the 1949 Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims, are not formally conditioned on reciprocity. Parties to each Convention 'undertake to respect and ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances'' under Article 1 common to the Conventions. . . . The UN Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions set forth standards regardless of whether observance is reciprocated.")
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Xcalibur » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:03 am

Okay, I'll be the {!#%@}: You fight a war to win or not at all. That's how this game is played: All in or all out. And you use whatever means available and necessary at the time to do so. The object here is to close with an enemy by any means annihilate it. Nuanced convo about legals and morals, while intellectually stimulating, not going to change much. Best way to prevent this, don't start one.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:05 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:My point is that rules only work as long as both sides adhere to them.

Well, to disagree a bit: first, the rules are not BS because they pressure countries not to do certain things - the idea of restraint.

Second, they are not BS because when a country violates the conventions, these rules of war - customary or explicit - make possible actions like the IMT and NMT.

Third, I am not well versed in this but I am aware that in modern international law a humanitarian obligation has eroded the strict application of an older view of reciprocity and that this development is codified in Article I of the 1949 Geneva Convention, that is, "in all circumstances" - a learning from WWII (e.g., a US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) "The most important relevant treaties, the 1949 Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims, are not formally conditioned on reciprocity. Parties to each Convention 'undertake to respect and ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances'' under Article 1 common to the Conventions. . . . The UN Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions set forth standards regardless of whether observance is reciprocated.")



I don't think "Rules of War" are BS, I just think that at people have a hard time adhering to them. Atrocities beget atrocities.

Both sides were guilty of wrongdoing. The Germans lost a great many POWs in the USSR, Red Army soldiers committed mass rapes, the French forced German POWs to clear minefields, the US did the same, the US imprisoned German POWs in the Rhineland under very poor conditions, the German people were forced to live on starvation rations after the war.
We also need to consider the forced deportations of ethnic Germans from Poland, The Sudetenland and other places from Eastern Europe.
So, I understand what you are saying.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:45 am

Ah, got it, I thought you were agreeing with bobbo. The question then arises, and it was implicitly raised by Bloxham, whether, without equating the wrongdoing of the countries on both sides, should Allied wrongdoing have been prosecuted? Say Katyn.

Although it sounds like Xcalibur and I are saying diametrically opposed things, I agree with him, and you, that when countries go to war, hell will break loose. Which maybe should but doesn't make me pacifist either.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Balsamo » Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:46 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Ah, got it, I thought you were agreeing with bobbo. The question then arises, and it was implicitly raised by Bloxham, whether, without equating the wrongdoing of the countries on both sides, should Allied wrongdoing have been prosecuted? Say Katyn.

Although it sounds like Xcalibur and I are saying diametrically opposed things, I agree with him, and you, that when countries go to war, hell will break loose. Which maybe should but doesn't make me pacifist either.


No, you don't sounds like the "holy sword" at all,... Who does? :lol:
But you does not agree with him as far as what i have read from you in this thread is concerned. Sorry for being presumptuous on that one.
There were two dynamic at play here: one which wanted to "civilized war", and later - two world wars after- to "criminalize it", when it become clear that technological advances permitted a surge of barbarism in how war could be led. Remember the Red cross was founded because there was a time when wounded soldiers- considered incurable- were left dying on the battlefield.
This initiative led to others which led to the The Hague Convention, and later the Geneva Convention.
I consider those initiatives as progress!
And things worked as long as all participants/belligerents agreed with those concepts. And there still does, more or less.

On the opposite side, one meets people like Hitler, Stalin or...Trump...

So when Xcalibur writes:
Okay, I'll be the {!#%@}: You fight a war to win or not at all. That's how this game is played: All in or all out. And you use whatever means available and necessary at the time to do so. The object here is to close with an enemy by any means annihilate it. Nuanced convo about legals and morals, while intellectually stimulating, not going to change much. Best way to prevent this, don't start one.


well, ok, but then why the Hague Convention? Why the Geneva Convention? Would it not be best to assure the final victory to kill all prisoner who could escape or being freed - great risks - and turn back to a Ghengis Kahn way of doing war? If one accept the concept of "the aim justifies the means", why put a court like the IMT in place?
One could have followed Stalin advise and just kill all those Nazi and turned the rest of the German population into slavery, and by doing this turning into the same barbarism than the one of the enemy one were fighting against.
Instead, under the pressure of the USA, we had this IMT - which i agree with Jeffk1970 was flawed - but was conceived as a mean to prevent any such tragedy to take place in the future.
Well that spirit is kind of {!#%@} up today, is it a good thing?

Tragedies forced the world leaders to think of how to limit barbarism, three times in the row. The Hague convention as well as the red cross initiatives were inspired by the deadly wars of the nineteenth century, the league of Nations as well as other initiatives were inspired by the deadly first world war, the UN, and more solid International laws were inspired by the inhumanity of the second world war?

What should we do now? erase everything and go back to the nineteenth century or trying to save what can be, and go further on the same road of progress?

will be back tomorrow, good night...

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Xcalibur » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:19 am

Balsamo wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:Ah, got it, I thought you were agreeing with bobbo. The question then arises, and it was implicitly raised by Bloxham, whether, without equating the wrongdoing of the countries on both sides, should Allied wrongdoing have been prosecuted? Say Katyn.

Although it sounds like Xcalibur and I are saying diametrically opposed things, I agree with him, and you, that when countries go to war, hell will break loose. Which maybe should but doesn't make me pacifist either.


No, you don't sounds like the "holy sword" at all,... Who does? :lol:
But you does not agree with him as far as what i have read from you in this thread is concerned. Sorry for being presumptuous on that one.
There were two dynamic at play here: one which wanted to "civilized war", and later - two world wars after- to "criminalize it", when it become clear that technological advances permitted a surge of barbarism in how war could be led. Remember the Red cross was founded because there was a time when wounded soldiers- considered incurable- were left dying on the battlefield.
This initiative led to others which led to the The Hague Convention, and later the Geneva Convention.
I consider those initiatives as progress!
And things worked as long as all participants/belligerents agreed with those concepts. And there still does, more or less.

On the opposite side, one meets people like Hitler, Stalin or...Trump...

So when Xcalibur writes:
Okay, I'll be the {!#%@}: You fight a war to win or not at all. That's how this game is played: All in or all out. And you use whatever means available and necessary at the time to do so. The object here is to close with an enemy by any means annihilate it. Nuanced convo about legals and morals, while intellectually stimulating, not going to change much. Best way to prevent this, don't start one.


well, ok, but then why the Hague Convention? Why the Geneva Convention? Would it not be best to assure the final victory to kill all prisoner who could escape or being freed - great risks - and turn back to a Ghengis Kahn way of doing war? If one accept the concept of "the aim justifies the means", why put a court like the IMT in place?
One could have followed Stalin advise and just kill all those Nazi and turned the rest of the German population into slavery, and by doing this turning into the same barbarism than the one of the enemy one were fighting against.
Instead, under the pressure of the USA, we had this IMT - which i agree with Jeffk1970 was flawed - but was conceived as a mean to prevent any such tragedy to take place in the future.
Well that spirit is kind of {!#%@} up today, is it a good thing?

Tragedies forced the world leaders to think of how to limit barbarism, three times in the row. The Hague convention as well as the red cross initiatives were inspired by the deadly wars of the nineteenth century, the league of Nations as well as other initiatives were inspired by the deadly first world war, the UN, and more solid International laws were inspired by the inhumanity of the second world war?

What should we do now? erase everything and go back to the nineteenth century or trying to save what can be, and go further on the same road of progress?

will be back tomorrow, good night...


Would that folk would beat weapons into plowshares, yes .

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:19 am

I see a bifurcation. Rules of War as they pertain to civilian casualties either intentionally or by collateral damage....and Rules of War as they pertain to certain other activities...like using poison gas or biologicals. Although....ha, ha...every side seems to violate those as well.

Looks like we could profit by identifying a few more bifurcations? How about: the need to be adroitly hypocritical when it comes to Rules of War? But I said that at the start: the Rules of War "sell" continuous Warfare to the homeland. Atrocities when they can't be covered up to be prosecuted to keep the sheep grazing. What else could possibly be a rational justification for Rule of War when THE SUBJECT IS WAR!!!!!! Rules of War to be applied against the losers? Of course....that totally makes sense.

Another rule that is total BS: no assassination of foreign leaders...IE: even during times of war....or hostilities. I remember the several complaints during the multiple failures to take Qaddafi out. Killed a few wives and relatives but we were after the Generals??? Have we ever admitted to going after Castro?

Does such a rule make any sense at all other than to protect your own leaders?...Ie==maintain what you think is an advantage?

WAR is about killing people. Once that is "allowed"....everything else is a dither.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:05 am

Balsamo wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:Ah, got it, I thought you were agreeing with bobbo. The question then arises, and it was implicitly raised by Bloxham, whether, without equating the wrongdoing of the countries on both sides, should Allied wrongdoing have been prosecuted? Say Katyn.

Although it sounds like Xcalibur and I are saying diametrically opposed things, I agree with him, and you, that when countries go to war, hell will break loose. Which maybe should but doesn't make me pacifist either.


No, you don't sounds like the "holy sword" at all,... Who does? :lol:
But you does not agree with him as far as what i have read from you in this thread is concerned. Sorry for being presumptuous on that one.

You're not being presumptuous, and you are right. I agreed on one point, that realistically war will be hell. But even hell, at least in this case, is not an all or nothing proposition, so I see the value in the continuing development of frameworks, attempts to encourage restraint, and accountability processes, yes. Probably I also agree a bit in spirit, being rather pessimistic, but, even so, you are right that I think removing the conventions, laws, and legal processes would bring a further retrogression. So with your post I agree with all of it! :)

And, in that vein, to answer my own question, yes, Allied war crimes should have been prosecuted. But then you'd have had Stalin, Truman, and Churchill in the dock, so, here's where a bit of my pessimism or realism creeps in, that wasn't going to happen. But, flash forward, Kiissinger and Cheney . . . I mean, Kissinger and Cheney walk free? Wouldn't it have helped promote democracy in the US had people with records like theirs been brought to justice? I think so.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby Balsamo » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:13 pm

Xcalibur wrote:
Balsamo wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:Ah, got it, I thought you were agreeing with bobbo. The question then arises, and it was implicitly raised by Bloxham, whether, without equating the wrongdoing of the countries on both sides, should Allied wrongdoing have been prosecuted? Say Katyn.

Although it sounds like Xcalibur and I are saying diametrically opposed things, I agree with him, and you, that when countries go to war, hell will break loose. Which maybe should but doesn't make me pacifist either.


No, you don't sounds like the "holy sword" at all,... Who does? :lol:
But you does not agree with him as far as what i have read from you in this thread is concerned. Sorry for being presumptuous on that one.
There were two dynamic at play here: one which wanted to "civilized war", and later - two world wars after- to "criminalize it", when it become clear that technological advances permitted a surge of barbarism in how war could be led. Remember the Red cross was founded because there was a time when wounded soldiers- considered incurable- were left dying on the battlefield.
This initiative led to others which led to the The Hague Convention, and later the Geneva Convention.
I consider those initiatives as progress!
And things worked as long as all participants/belligerents agreed with those concepts. And there still does, more or less.

On the opposite side, one meets people like Hitler, Stalin or...Trump...

So when Xcalibur writes:
Okay, I'll be the {!#%@}: You fight a war to win or not at all. That's how this game is played: All in or all out. And you use whatever means available and necessary at the time to do so. The object here is to close with an enemy by any means annihilate it. Nuanced convo about legals and morals, while intellectually stimulating, not going to change much. Best way to prevent this, don't start one.


well, ok, but then why the Hague Convention? Why the Geneva Convention? Would it not be best to assure the final victory to kill all prisoner who could escape or being freed - great risks - and turn back to a Ghengis Kahn way of doing war? If one accept the concept of "the aim justifies the means", why put a court like the IMT in place?
One could have followed Stalin advise and just kill all those Nazi and turned the rest of the German population into slavery, and by doing this turning into the same barbarism than the one of the enemy one were fighting against.
Instead, under the pressure of the USA, we had this IMT - which i agree with Jeffk1970 was flawed - but was conceived as a mean to prevent any such tragedy to take place in the future.
Well that spirit is kind of {!#%@} up today, is it a good thing?

Tragedies forced the world leaders to think of how to limit barbarism, three times in the row. The Hague convention as well as the red cross initiatives were inspired by the deadly wars of the nineteenth century, the league of Nations as well as other initiatives were inspired by the deadly first world war, the UN, and more solid International laws were inspired by the inhumanity of the second world war?

What should we do now? erase everything and go back to the nineteenth century or trying to save what can be, and go further on the same road of progress?

will be back tomorrow, good night...


Would that folk would beat weapons into plowshares, yes .




:?: :?: :?: :?: :?:

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:28 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I agreed on one point, that realistically war will be hell. But even hell, at least in this case, is not an all or nothing proposition, so I see the value in the continuing development of frameworks, attempts to encourage restraint, and accountability processes, yes.

Throughout History, War was an all or nothing proposition.....all or nothing "to the benefit" of the Victor....and if that meant not killing everyone they could find in order to recruit sword fodder or slaves or tax payers...that was the judgment made.

Its only in the last 1-2 Hundred Years that the general Hypocrisy of Politics has been extended to War. To "stabilize" it. Make it more decent, more civilized...more subject to business profits.

What is "the value" you see in continuing development of frameworks that is not counter productive to the notion of an issue worth going to WAR over that does not demonstrate the Hypocrisy I am complaining of?
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Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?


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