About How innocent are civilians in wartime?
|June 29th, 2012||#1|
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How innocent are civilians in wartime? info
What do you think?
|June 29th, 2012||#2|
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The moral question is this: is it ever acceptable to deliberately bomb civilian populations? There are essentially four answers to this question.
An absolutist answer holds that civilians are never just objects of war, since this position would violate both international law and the demands of morality. By this logic, the deliberate death of one civilian would not be justified even if it shortened the war drastically and saved many lives. Consequently, in this view, the city bombing of Germany was thoroughly unjustified.
An extreme relativist answer holds that in conditions of total war (as some say existed during World War II), there is little distinction between a soldier and a civilian, and any civilian whose efforts somehow contribute to his country’s war effort is a legitimate target for war. According to this standard, a campaign that ignored an enemy’s armies and targeted only its citizen would be just. Therefore, the entire World War II bombing campaign – including the destruction of Dresden – was wholly justified.
Between these two extremes, there are two positions that relate the morality of the bombing to the reasons for its adoption and/or to its consequences.
An instrumental or utilitarian approach argues that bombing civilians is just if it saves other people’s lives (both civilian and soldier). This is often the justification invoked for bombing Hiroshima: it saved up to a million or more soldiers and civilians who would have been killed in battle or through conventional American bombing of cities. The difficulty with this theory is that it favours some people’s right to live (those who are spared the invasion) over that of others (those who are killed by the atomic bomb).
The final approach relates bombing to necessity. In this view, bombing civilians is only acceptable if there is no alternative: that is, if it was the only way to wage war against Nazi Germany. Based on this last view, the area bombing of German cities was only justified when there was no other way of hitting Germany: at the start of the war, before the United States and the Soviet Union entered the war.
One´s view about the ethics of bombing civilians depends largely on one´s moral point of view. That said, only the first and most extreme version would justify the bombing of civilians right through to the last year of the war. By any other standard, area bombing was, after some point in the war´s evolution, immoral.
Yes. It was War and the Germans started the bombing of cities but when one stoops to the same questionable moral values as ones enemy, then one must be prepared to be judge by that same set of moral values. Disliking your enemies political policies doesn´t give one the right to kill non policy-making and innocent civilians.
No one in this war came out smelling like roses, least of all the Germans.
|June 29th, 2012||#3|
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@ least part is British retaliation for the German tactic of bombing/burning down enemy cities, the other part was the decision that the RAF bombers wern't up to taking on German defences in daylight startigic bombing. The US took heavy casulties with daylight bombing, but witch contributed more to Germany's defeat? and.. Would the Allies have done better, shortened the War if the RAF had bought/built B-17s & B-24s & threw their bomb weight into strategic bombing of specific targets.
|June 30th, 2012||#4|
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If they had wanted to bring the war to an end sooner they could have achieved it by putting more emphasis on the destruction of fuel plants, oil installations and the power grid.
However the goal Harris had in mind was:
“That aim is the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers and the disruption of civilised community life throughout Germany.The unfortunate side in all this is that the men who served in Bomber Command during the war were left largely ignored after the war because of Harris so they never really got the recognition due and as you can see even today it is a touchy subject. Had Harris sat down and investigated the result of the German bombing of Britain on civilian morale he would have discovered that after a while terror bombing is relatively ineffective as it only serves to harden peoples attitudes towards fighting back.
In my opinion recognition of those who served in Bomber Command is long over due but Harris himself should have been in the docks next to Goering.
We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation. ~Francois De La Rochefoucauld
Last edited by MontyB; June 30th, 2012 at 06:36..
|June 30th, 2012||#5|
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The B24 was a brilliant aircraft when the RAF used her in Coastal Command with her long range on anti submarine patrols which the Lancaster didn't have.
Britain tried daylight bombing but because the casualty rates were so high the idea was scrapped in favour of night bombing. Even with the heavier armament of the B17 and B24, US bomber crews suffered terrible losses during daylight operations until the P51 came on line.
There was also some rivalry and a lot of disagreement between the RAF and the US Air Force as to which targets should be attacked.
Adversus solem ne loquitor
Last edited by BritinAfrica; June 30th, 2012 at 07:14..
|June 30th, 2012||#6|
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|June 30th, 2012||#7|
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If a 4000 pound bomb load is sufficient if dropped with precision why use either the B17 or B24 when the Mosquito carried the same weight payload as the B17 with only a crew of two? Besides which there were a number of operations carried out that could only be carried out by the Lancaster such as the Dams raid and the 12000 pounders dropped on Tirpitz, the raids on the U boat pens then there is the Bielefeld viaduct collapsed through the 'earthquake effect' of the Grand Slams and Tallboys dropped by Lancaster's. A special long range version of the Lancaster was even considered for dropping of the A bombs on Japan because of her payload capabilities.
The Mosquito carried out precision attacks that no heavy bomber squadrons would even consider carrying out such as Operation Jericho attack on Amiens Prison, 18th February 1944.
Harris was more concerned about killing Germans then anything else, which is why I agree whole heartedly with Monty that Harris should have been nailed for war crimes.
As I mentioned previously there was a lot of disagreement between the US Air Force and the RAF as to which targets to attack.
Last edited by BritinAfrica; June 30th, 2012 at 14:20..
|June 30th, 2012||#8|
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International law forbids the direct killing of civilians. But if a civilian works in a factory that makes guns used to kill the enemy can that make the civilian a legitimate target?
Hitler came to power because he had enough support of the people. In fact he was very popular in the beginning of his political power, even abroad. He still got a lot of support when he started the war. So one could say that the German population was at least complicit at waging war. On the other hand they were not able to reverse their decision. Another problem is, not everyone voted for Hitler.
Civilians and soldiers are both human beings. The soldier knows what to do in wartime and the civilians will back their soldier's actions as long as they themselves are not put in harms way. So, as long as everyting goes well they (most) don't care. If on the other hand things go bad they stop backing their soldiers.
There is no comparison between the bombing of Dresden and the use of the A-bombs. There is a comparison though between the bombing of Dresden and Tokyo. Dresden and Tokyo destruction didn't shorten the war, the A-bombs did.
My opinion is that the bombing of Dresden is not a war crime but it comes very close and that monument should have been build soon after the war not now.
|June 30th, 2012||#9|
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To me that one falls under the **** happens rule, if you put yourself in danger you pay the price.
Dresden at that stage in the war was nothing more than a giant refugee camp and the British knew it, they also knew that the war was over there was no coming back even had Dresden been left standing so if anything Dresden is closer to a war crime than say the bombing of London or Berlin because they were being bombed to achieve something.
I think the biggest indication of just how wrong the bombing of Dresden was is that not even Churchill (a man who supported the shooting down of Luftwaffe rescue aircraft painted with the red cross) could support it afterwards.
Two Weeks after Dresden Churchill drafted the following memo to the British Chiefs of Staff :
It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land . . . The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing . . . I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives, such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.As for the monument yes it should have been built sooner but it should never be too late to recognise the bravery and sacrifice of those who served with the command or any other for that matter.
Last edited by MontyB; July 1st, 2012 at 07:13..
|July 1st, 2012||#10|
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Dresden was a hospital city for wounded soldiers. Not one military unit, not one anti-aircraft battery was deployed in the city. Together with the 600.000 refugees from Breslau, Dresden was filled with nearly 1.2 million people. More than 700.000 phosphorus bombs were dropped on 1.2 million people. One bomb for every 2 people. The temperature in the centre of the city reached 1600 o centigrade. More than 260.000 bodies and residues of bodies were counted. But those who perished in the centre of the city can't be traced. Approximately 500.000 children, women, the elderly, wounded soldiers and the animals of the zoo were slaughtered in one night.
Allied apologists for the massacre have often "twinned" Dresden with the English city of Coventry. But the 380 killed in Coventry during the entire war cannot begin to compare with over 1,000 times that number who were slaughtered in 14 hours at Dresden. Moreover, Coventry was a munitions center, a legitimate military target. Dresden, on the other hand, produced only china--and cups and saucers can hardly be considered military hardware! In one ironic note, Dresden's only conceivable military target, its railroad yards, was ignored by Allied bombers.
If ever there was a Allied war crime, then certainly the Dresden Holocaust ranks as the most sordid one of all time.
Kurt Vonnegut was a POW in Dresden when it was bombed in 1945. In 1969, he tackled the subject of war, recounting his experiences as a POW in Dresden, forced to dig corpses from the rubble. The resulting novel was Slaughterhouse Five.
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