War crimes WWII?


Active member
There's a discussion on my TV set right now, and I was wondering what you people would think.
The statement is roughly: only the losers are war criminals, the winners are judges.
The massive bombing of Berlin and other german cities are war crimes, but because the UK and the USA won that war, nobody was ever charged with them.
By the way, I don't understand that if they call the bombardments in Germany war crimes, they don't mention Heroshima.

Now I'm not saying this is my opinion, just asking for yours for now.
I dont think it counts as a war crime because we didnt: commit genocide, mistreat POWs, or violate any conventions of warfare.
Im just wondering but with the Germans bombing London did we ever charge them on that as war crimes? Or the Japanese technically "bombing" Pearl Harbor? Because if we didn't then the UK and USA shouldnt be charged for bombing Berlin.

Firstly, 1217, your are partially right. The winners usually are the judges. However, I dont see the bombing of Berlin as a war crime. As to the A-bomb, theres a issue with that, but it's still not jenocide. To remind you the Germans did things "a bit" worse then bombing a city....
Hm, difficult but interesting question..

One of the problems after WW2 was that the rules of what was war crimes or not hadn't been clearly defined yet..
The fourth Geneva Convention which handles the protection of civilians in time of war wasn't signed until August 1949.

If a bombing of a city on that scale had happened today, it would have been classified as a war crime, but back then the cities was regarded as military targets since the breaking of the German morale was considered a deceicive(?) point.
Civlian industrial workers was also considered military targets.
I seem to remember that about 600,000 German civilians were killed by allied bombing of german cities, about 45,000 were killed in just one night alone in Hamburg July 1943....
Here's an interesting article about this topic:
I haven't seen this site before, so I can't guarantee for it's credibility..

and another link:
It wasn't a war crime no, but it would be for sure today.

The firebombings of Berlin and Dresden were terrible events, but most of what happened in WW2 was terrible.
If a bombing was a crime then it was the bombing on Dresden , beginning in the night from 13. to 14. of Feb in 1945.
Dresden had at this time only rudimentary military units. It was a designated ambulance city with over 300.000 refugees who fled from the eastern front and lots of injured soldiers.
I lived there for 6 months and people who survived the bombings told me that there were so many planes that they almost couldnt see the sky anymore.
My grandma told that they could hear something that sounded like thunder and they could see a red shine on the sky, and she lived 350km away from Dresden...
The US is innocent of all charges, and the idiotic saying, "All's fair in love and war." actually applies here.
The reason the gave in the program was that the bombing of Berlin and Dresden was aimed at the civilian population, not at military targets.

The opposition in the program claimed that that was only because of the inaccuracy of the bombers those days, and that the Americans and Brits weren't aiming at the civilians.
Of course the Germans (and Japanese) were worse in WWII but that's no argument against the alleged war crimes of the USA and the UK.

Oh btw, the way the German POW's were treated wasn't to good either. I've seen images of fields filled with them, standing there without food for a couple of days. As I recall more then one German POW died waiting for allied soldiers to get them food.

I know it's a long time ago, but I think thinking about it wont hurt.
Don't get me wrong, there's a good chance of me speaking German right now when those bombings hadn't occurred. Or even worse, I wouldn't have been born at all, because of my grandfather being held by the Germans right before the end of the war.
So I can't state that those bombings were wrong, but I do wonder about a double standard.

Oh and Darkmb 101, if you’re statement were true, then the Germans, the Taliban, the Japanese, the ...(fill in the blanks) were all falsely accused.
I think in war....crap happens. If everyone involved was in the mood for being amiable...there wouldn't be a reason for the war in the first place.

Until I read it here, I've never thought about the concept of War Crimes through history. This probably isn't the best link around....but quite interesting.

Towards the end of WWII after 4-6 years in the bloodiest and most decisive war in the history of the world everyone was exasperated, to put it in a gross understatement. There were major atrocities on both sides, but they were justified. In a war of that magnitude the people too were seen as the enemy.

As to Hiroshima and Nagisaki (spl?), theres no way that was a war crime. It saved countless lives (million+) on both sides and allowed Japan to exist. They would have fought to end and been totally destroyed and removed from existence had we not dropping the atomic bombs.

My 2 cents.
I see your point.

But what if someone thought that killing everyone in the US gouverment incl. the president would save lives in Iraq. Would that mean it would be justified to asassinate Bush?
I mean, where's the limit? You'll have to draw the line somewere, but it seems that it comes down to who's drawing that line.

edit: grammar :oops:
You can't really compare WW2 with what's happening today.
The "rules" of war is much more defined today.

Please don't start another USA/IRAQ/Bush-is-bad thread here now.
Stay on topic!!
This isn't really about Bush spefically.

You're talking about something along the lines of a coup. The difference is that the government and President are not the enemies. Removing them is not a valid way of ending the war by any stretch of the imagination. I don't even see how that's a comparable point.

Sorry bout the off-topic post Redleg.
Redleg said:
Please don't start another USA/IRAQ/Bush-is-bad thread here now.
Stay on topic!!
I don't think I was off-topic, I was trying to compare the two. Maybe I didn't succeed in doing that, I'll try again;

Several posts stated that the bombings weren’t war crimes because they saved lives in the end, by forcing the Germans to surrender.
Now my question is: If we now think that killing a number op (innocent) people makes sure that a larger number of (maybe less innocent) people survives, that’s ok?
Or does it only work if we (allies) are doing the killing?
Because then an enemy of ours could think the same way and we would see it as a crime.
I don’t feel that the WWII bombing are war crimes either, but I’m not sure if I’m biased or not. I still see the bombardment of Rotterdam, which made the Dutch surrender in 1940, as a war crime, and I’m wondering what’s the difference.

I only used Bush as an example, nothing personal. I have a couple of other examples, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to state those in a way that nobody will be offended, so I won’t use them.