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Tags war crime charges , winston churchill , World War II history

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Old 4th April 2016, 07:54 AM   #121
sackett
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Duh on me

Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Wasn't there also a dig-em-up and try them after death event with Pope Formosus?
Come to that, somebody suggested the Cromwell treatment for Winnie on this thread back in 2008. Teach me to dig in a crypt.
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Old 4th April 2016, 10:00 AM   #122
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One has to be very, very annoyed with someone to want to dig them up to insult "them." Or be very stuck on a literal interpretation of the legal requirements to undermine the positions the decease took in life.

One could just pee on their grave. Or dance next to the grave singing "The Wicked Witch is Dead." Or simply repeat to one's self, "I outlived that piece of..."

As to Churchill- I value the good he did, which was quite impressive. In other ways he had shortcomings, some serious. But must all our heros have led lives filled only with virtue in all ways? FDR was probably an adulterer- I admire him for other things, even if I would not recommend him as a loyal spouse.

As to "war criminal." Hardly. There are certainly serious moral questions as to bombing large civilian populations in a war. But this concept was not even applied to the Nazis- like it or not, it is not itself considered a war crime even now under most circumstances. And given the circumstances with Churchill, I suspect whatever one might feel "morally" as to large scale bombings that include nominally civilian populations, the concept was hardly limited to, nor introduced by, the Allies.

Given the OP(s) this is really an attempt to state, "Well the Nazis (and Japanese Imperialists) were really no worse than the Allies." Well, my own dead relatives who were rounded up and gassed by the Nazis in the 1930s, the Chinese and Koreans killed, raped, and tortured by the Japanese at the same time, and many, many others viciously harmed by these evil groups, disagree very strongly.

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Old 4th April 2016, 02:56 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Irrelevant. Here is Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris enunciating the principles on which the bombing campaign was based.
The aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive...should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.

... the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.
If true then I accept he was a war criminal by intent.
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Old 4th April 2016, 03:37 PM   #124
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If he was a criminal then that makes the US and their 2 big toys tyrannical
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Old 4th April 2016, 05:17 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Given the OP(s) this is really an attempt to state, "Well the Nazis (and Japanese Imperialists) were really no worse than the Allies." Well, my own dead relatives who were rounded up and gassed by the Nazis in the 1930s, the Chinese and Koreans killed, raped, and tortured by the Japanese at the same time, and many, many others viciously harmed by these evil groups, disagree very strongly.
I'm in full agreement.

WWII casualties broken down by country: civilian vs. military:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

Countries invaded by the Allies lost more soldiers than civilians.

Countries invaded by Japan / Germany lost more civilians than soldiers.

That pretty much says it all.
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Old 4th April 2016, 07:01 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Irrelevant. Here is Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris enunciating the principles on which the bombing campaign was based.
The aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive...should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.

... the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.

And yet area attacks constituted only a portion of Bomber Command's efforts. As much as Harris didn't like it, his bombing force also conducted attacks against 'precision' targets: V-1 sites, oil refineries, German airfields, etc.

ETA: Incidentally, Bomber Command attacks against German steel production caused such production to be, on average, 8% below what it would have otherwise been. An 8% reduction in steel production sounds fairly significant to me, and Bomber Command was the force which made a sustained and repeated effort against such steel production (the USAAf for the most part didn't consider it a worthwhile target as compared to other economic nodes).


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I would also like to point out that in firebombing and generally terror bombing, civilians were not colateral damage -- which is accepted when attacking a military objective -- but the MAIN targets of the RAF attacks, and for that matter of the USAAF later in Japan. It's not like they attacked a factory, and the city just got the side effect. Burning down cities was the purpose. And the bomb mix and the whole bombing tactic also wasn't even all that good against factories or anything. It was something designed for one purpose only: to burn down civilian houses.

Except that such attacks did cause general economic dislocation, including industrial damage. There was also the reaction by Germany to such assaults, which aided the Allied ground effort by siphoning off otherwise effective anti-tank artillery into the anti-air role, having large number of workers engaged in repairing general bomb damage who might otherwise have been involved in more direct war production, and keeping considerable numbers of men in the flak arm of the Luftwaffe who might otherwise have fought against Allied ground forces. Then there's the good percentage of the Luftwaffe's fighter strength which was kept as night-fighters, aircraft which otherwise could have played a most useful role in tactical attacks on Allied ground units.
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Old 4th April 2016, 07:06 PM   #127
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Also, what is forgotten is that the 'morale' portion of Bomber Command's efforts could well have achieved its aims, had it been able to quickly repeat the success it had at Hamburg in July 1943. The devastation caused by that attacked shocked the Reich, and no less an authority than Albert Speer said that another half-dozen or so German cities hit in a similar fashion in short order would have caused Germany's war production to collapse.

But Bomber Command could not create firestorms at will; they were unpredictable, freak events. So the damage done to Hamburg could not be duplicated, and the city and German morale in general was able to recover.
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Old 4th April 2016, 07:42 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
Using the general definition from Wiki, or

"Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity can be committed during peace or war.[1] They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; massacres; dehumanization; extermination; human experimentation; extrajudicial punishments; death squads; forced disappearances; military use of children; kidnappings; unjust imprisonment; slavery; cannibalism, torture; rape; political, racial, or religious persecution that may include the use of blasphemy laws or laws against defamation of religion or other similar wording, or inappropriate hate speech laws; and other inhumane acts may reach the threshold of crimes against humanity if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice."

Not for his conduct during WWII.
I don't think so either, but let me play Devil's Advocate.

By 1945, it was clear Germany was going to be defeated. It was still government policy to target civilians (or at least ignore massive civilian casualties) in bombing raids (e.g., Dresden) and to try to bring about firestorms, the effect of which is to kill masses of civilians.

So, by 1945, when it was clearly not militarily necessary, it was still government policy to massacre German civilians in bombing raids (and the U.S. did it by day, but we tried to be a little more precise in our targeting, but we killed a lot of civilians as well).

Was that a crime against humanity?
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Old 4th April 2016, 07:55 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
So, by 1945, when it was clearly not militarily necessary,
Interesting phrase.

"Military necessary". I guess that means that German defeat was inevitable, with or without the city bombing, so it was unnecessary.

Of course, a lot of the politicians and generals who supported that policy had children who were in the military. If they didn't, their friends did. They might have a different standard for "necessity".

A lot of military people have had to decide how many people, civilian or military, it is ok to kill in order to save the life of one of their own soldiers. People from all sorts of armies all over the world have tended to say that it's ok to kill lots of them.
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Old 4th April 2016, 08:10 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Interesting phrase.

"Military necessary". I guess that means that German defeat was inevitable, with or without the city bombing, so it was unnecessary.

Of course, a lot of the politicians and generals who supported that policy had children who were in the military. If they didn't, their friends did. They might have a different standard for "necessity".

A lot of military people have had to decide how many people, civilian or military, it is ok to kill in order to save the life of one of their own soldiers. People from all sorts of armies all over the world have tended to say that it's ok to kill lots of them.
Well, the rationale at the time was to end the war as quickly as possibly by sapping German morale, which is a good rationale to have. Spares your guys and German soldiers. But by 1945, the Russians were steamrolling through Poland, the Battle of the Bulge had been decided, and we were outracing our supply lines, so we could have ended strategic bombing entirely without affecting our chances of winning.
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Old 4th April 2016, 08:21 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
If he was a criminal then that makes the US and their 2 big toys tyrannical
Nope, you are missing the big point, both cities were being used for major war production - that was not nearly as it was in Germany. The Japanese did that expressly because while they were torturing and murdering our troops in their internment camps, we guarded and fed theirs so they assumed we were pushovers and would overfollow the ROW so they would be free to do their stuff in the cities. They were wrong.

And the requirement is not no civilians it is minimize harm to civilians as much as possible while carrying out actions of reasonable/recognizable military necessity and as carefully as possible with what you have to work with. The bomb changed what was had and how much civilian area it could be kept from harming. You are free to believe otherwise, but you would be wrong.
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Old 4th April 2016, 08:23 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Nope, you are missing the big point, both cities were being used for major war production - that was not nearly as it was in Germany. The Japanese did that expressly because while they were torturing and murdering our troops in their internment camps, we guarded and fed theirs so they assumed we were pushovers and would overfollow the ROW so they would be free to do their stuff in the cities. They were wrong.

And the requirement is not no civilians it is minimize harm to civilians as much as possible while carrying out actions of reasonable/recognizable military necessity and as carefully as possible with what you have to work with. The bomb changed what was had and how much civilian area it could be kept from harming. You are free to believe otherwise, but you would be wrong.
Wrong only in your view
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Old 4th April 2016, 09:51 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
By 1945, it was clear Germany was going to be defeated. It was still government policy to target civilians (or at least ignore massive civilian casualties) in bombing raids (e.g., Dresden) and to try to bring about firestorms, the effect of which is to kill masses of civilians.

(1) The casualty count at Dresden was the result of a firestorm. Had that firestorm not happened, the Dresden raid would be but a footnote in history. (Another German city was hit shortly after Dresden by a nearly identically-sized bomber force, yet no one knows or talks about that raid because no firestorm happened, and thus there were no mass casualties.) Firestorms were freak events and could not be produced on demand; there were perhaps only a dozen firestorms created during the entire course of WWII.

(2) Dresden was a military target for a number of reasons. It had a variety of military production firms within it, for example.

(3) Bomber Command conducted plenty of attacks against 'precision' targets, in addition to its 'area' raids.

(4) The Luftwaffe night-fighter force (in contrast to the day fighter force) was able to, on occasion, offer effective resistance pretty might right through to the end of the war.

(5) If it was clear to the Allies that Germany's defeat was inevitable, then it was likewise clear to the German leadership that its defeat was inevitable. In which case, does not the blame for continuing casualties and destruction lie at the feet of the German leadership, which could have ended hostilities (and consequently spared lives) rather than pointlessly prolonging the fighting?
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Old 4th April 2016, 09:59 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
But by 1945, the Russians were steamrolling through Poland, the Battle of the Bulge had been decided, and we were outracing our supply lines, so we could have ended strategic bombing entirely without affecting our chances of winning.

To some extent this is hindsight. At the time, with limited intelligence, it was not so easy to see just when German resistance would stop, and know how much production capacity remained in the German economy. It wasn't until after the war that the Allies were able to thoroughly investigate what had really gone on within the German economy, and find out just what did and did not work in their bombing efforts. Certain target nodes, for example, were, for various reasons, left as low priority that, had a sustained effort been made against them earlier, could have had a significant detrimental impact on the German war economy.
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Old 4th April 2016, 10:07 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
If he was a criminal then that makes the US and their 2 big toys tyrannical

Once again, what about the responsibility of the Japanese leadership to recognize the hopelessness of its situation and surrender? Any rational person could have seen that Japan's position in August 1945 was utterly hopeless. (Indeed, it was clearly hopeless many months before then. Privately, many Japanese admitted as much, yet publicly the face was presented to fight on no matter what.)

Note that even after two atomic bombings, the Japanese still fought on. And even after the Emperor had decided on capitulation, there was a coup by hardliners to prevent the surrender recording from being broadcast.
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Old 4th April 2016, 10:11 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Once again, what about the responsibility of the Japanese leadership to recognize the hopelessness of its situation and surrender? Any rational person could have seen that Japan's position in August 1945 was utterly hopeless. (Indeed, it was clearly hopeless many months before then. Privately, many Japanese admitted as much, yet publicly the face was presented to fight on no matter what.)

Note that even after two atomic bombings, the Japanese still fought on. And even after the Emperor had decided on capitulation, there was a coup by hardliners to prevent the surrender recording from being broadcast.
Doesn't change how many innocent civilians were wiped off the earth and the generations following of health issues
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Old 4th April 2016, 10:41 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Doesn't change how many innocent civilians were wiped off the earth and the generations following of health issues
Deaths that are caused in the process of defeating an aggressor are laid at the feet of the aggressor, not those who defeated him.
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Old 4th April 2016, 10:44 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Deaths that are caused in the process of defeating an aggressor are laid at the feet of the aggressor, not those who defeated him.
Only if you have little to no conscience
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Old 5th April 2016, 12:19 AM   #139
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@Corsair:
While actually creating a firestorm was hit and miss, nevertheless the whole intent, and very explicitly stated by Harris, was to burn down as many civilian houses as possible by overwhelming the possibilities of any imaginable fire departments. Furthermore he explicitly states the intent to hamper such firefighting efforts by basically terrorizing the firefighters -- which were civilians -- by throwing some delayed explosives in the incendiary mix.

The technology not being reliably able to reach outright apocalyptic proportions with the massacre of civilians every time, is hardly an excuse in my mind. We don't excuse the 9/11 guys because, ah, see, but they couldn't raze every building whenever they wanted; the Pentagon still stands, after all. The murderous intent is still there, even if the results may not always be spectacular.

The fact that they ALSO attacked military targets in addition to terrorizing civilian workers is also hardly an excuse ever. After all the SS too also fought real soldiers, in addition to doing pogroms, but the former doesn't erase the fact of the latter.

@Cullenz
If you want to talk US, I would focus less on the nukes, and more on their too switching almost completely from precision bombing to burning down Japanese cities. The firebombing of Tokyo suburbs for example probably killed more civilians than the two nukes COMBINED.
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Old 5th April 2016, 12:53 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Wrong only in your view
Not really, but then I have read the ROW and quoted them rather thoroughly in threads on Israel/Palestine some time back.
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Old 5th April 2016, 12:57 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Deaths that are caused in the process of defeating an aggressor are laid at the feet of the aggressor, not those who defeated him.
C. has a problem with the concept of doing one's best to A) preserve one's own life/safety and B) making sure the initial instigator(s)/attacker(s) do not.
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Old 5th April 2016, 12:58 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@Corsair:
While actually creating a firestorm was hit and miss, nevertheless the whole intent, and very explicitly stated by Harris, was to burn down as many civilian houses as possible by overwhelming the possibilities of any imaginable fire departments. Furthermore he explicitly states the intent to hamper such firefighting efforts by basically terrorizing the firefighters -- which were civilians -- by throwing some delayed explosives in the incendiary mix.

The technology not being reliably able to reach outright apocalyptic proportions with the massacre of civilians every time, is hardly an excuse in my mind. We don't excuse the 9/11 guys because, ah, see, but they couldn't raze every building whenever they wanted; the Pentagon still stands, after all. The murderous intent is still there, even if the results may not always be spectacular.

The fact that they ALSO attacked military targets in addition to terrorizing civilian workers is also hardly an excuse ever. After all the SS too also fought real soldiers, in addition to doing pogroms, but the former doesn't erase the fact of the latter.

@Cullenz
If you want to talk US, I would focus less on the nukes, and more on their too switching almost completely from precision bombing to burning down Japanese cities. The firebombing of Tokyo suburbs for example probably killed more civilians than the two nukes COMBINED.
Fair call

Nothing like a bit of wooden building burning to death
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Old 5th April 2016, 12:59 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Not really, but then I have read the ROW and quoted them rather thoroughly in threads on Israel/Palestine some time back.
Awesome

And?
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Old 5th April 2016, 01:11 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
And yet area attacks constituted only a portion of Bomber Command's efforts. As much as Harris didn't like it, his bombing force also conducted attacks against 'precision' targets: V-1 sites, oil refineries, German airfields, etc.
Therefore not all of Bomber Command's warlike activities could possibly be categorised as criminal. I gratefully accept that, of course, but it's not a decisive argument.

It is argued - I think rightly - that if BC had concentrated more of its efforts on the targets you enumerate, it would have contributed more to the destruction of the Nazi regime, than it did by carpet bombing large cities.
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Old 5th April 2016, 02:12 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Deaths that are caused in the process of defeating an aggressor are laid at the feet of the aggressor, not those who defeated him.
What a strange concept. I hope you realize that if that were generally true, then there is no basis for condemning the SS Einsatzgruppen, most of whom believed the party line that Poland is the aggressor who attacked Germany and the UK and France only joined in the aggression, or the Japanese, who again, were told that China is the one who started the aggression with the infamous bridge incident. Nor for that matter, ISIS, or at least the ones who genuinely believe that the West is waging a war on the Islam.

I think that you'll find that in practice, regardless of who you think started it, if you decide to take it out on noncombatants, you still bear the responsibility.

And the western courts do recognize that. E.g., in the My Lai massacre nobody went, "eh, the Viet Cong are the aggressors, it's their fault that our troops massacred hundreds of civilians."
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Old 5th April 2016, 02:40 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
Come to that, somebody suggested the Cromwell treatment for Winnie on this thread back in 2008. Teach me to dig in a crypt.
Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
One has to be very, very annoyed with someone to want to dig them up to insult "them." Or be very stuck on a literal interpretation of the legal requirements to undermine the positions the decease took in life.
[OT]In 1876 there was an attempt to kidnap the corpse of Abraham Lincoln. Indirectly it lead to the US Secret Service getting the job of presidential protection.
[/OT]
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Old 5th April 2016, 02:41 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Doesn't change how many innocent civilians were wiped off the earth and the generations following of health issues
Purely by body count, the two nukes were by far the most merciful way of forcing Japan to surrender. Likely even if you only count Japanese "innocent" civilians, an invasion would have cost more civilian lives alone than the 100,000 or so who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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Old 5th April 2016, 02:47 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
[OT]In 1876 there was an attempt to kidnap the corpse of Abraham Lincoln. Indirectly it lead to the US Secret Service getting the job of presidential protection.
[/OT]
And another OT: I found on wiki a posthumous execution in the Dutch Republic, in 1618. It shows that you can try to be sort-of civil about it, I guess. He was already on trial and then:
Quote:
He had left a suicide note in French with his son which indicated that he hoped to prevent forfeiture of his possessions in this way, because he expected his trial to end with his death.

However, his death did not prevent the judicial commission that tried the other "conspirators" to convict him, together with Oldenbarnevelt, on 12 May 1619. Like Oldenbarnevelt he was sentenced to death, and forfeiture, and the sentence was executed posthumously by hanging his embalmed body, in its coffin, from a gibbet. It was left hanging for 21 days, and after it was taken down, it was buried in the churchyard of the church at Voorburg. However, the same night a mob disinterred the corpse and threw it in a ditch. This caused sufficient revulsion to cause the Hof van Holland (the main Dutch court) to issue an injunction against further depredations.
The wiki page has a contemporary drawing of the scene.
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Old 5th April 2016, 02:47 AM   #149
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And the next generations?
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Old 5th April 2016, 02:51 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
And the next generations?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic...ack_casualties:
Quote:
Around 1,900 cancer deaths can be attributed to the after-effects of the bombs. An epidemiology study by the RERF states that from 1950 to 2000, 46% of leukemia deaths and 11% of solid cancer deaths among the bomb survivors were due to radiation from the bombs, the statistical excess being estimated at 200 leukemia and 1,700 solid cancers.
Seems pretty limited.

Apart from that, I don't think you should count them in as those effects were really not understood at the time.
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Old 5th April 2016, 02:56 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Purely by body count, the two nukes were by far the most merciful way of forcing Japan to surrender. Likely even if you only count Japanese "innocent" civilians, an invasion would have cost more civilian lives alone than the 100,000 or so who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
If it be argued that the bombing of Rotterdam was conducive to the capitulation of the Netherlands army in 1940, thereby saving lives; would that justify the attack? Wiki.
The psychological and physical success of the raid, from the German perspective, led the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) to threaten to destroy the city of Utrecht if the Dutch Government did not surrender. The Dutch capitulated early the next morning.
That may well have saved lives.
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Old 5th April 2016, 05:10 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
If it be argued that the bombing of Rotterdam was conducive to the capitulation of the Netherlands army in 1940, thereby saving lives; would that justify the attack? Wiki.
The psychological and physical success of the raid, from the German perspective, led the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) to threaten to destroy the city of Utrecht if the Dutch Government did not surrender. The Dutch capitulated early the next morning.
That may well have saved lives.
No, that doesn't justify it.

You're glossing over a crucial difference. Nazi Germany started an aggressive, unprovoked war against the Netherlands, a country that had no intention at all to wage aggression against Nazi Germany. The German invasion of the Netherlands (and that of rump-Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg) was against the Briand-Kellog pact.

In the case of the nukes, the US was not the aggressor. It led a coalition of states - France, UK, Australia, Netherlands, China - that had been attacked and (partially) occupied by the aggressor Japan and sought to end that war. At the time the nukes were dropped, Japan still controlled vast swathes of China, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, French Indochina and Burma.

(sorry if I forgot some country or another in one of those lists).
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Old 5th April 2016, 05:22 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
No, that doesn't justify it.

You're glossing over a crucial difference. Nazi Germany started an aggressive, unprovoked war against the Netherlands, a country that had no intention at all to wage aggression against Nazi Germany. The German invasion of the Netherlands (and that of rump-Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg) was against the Briand-Kellog pact.

In the case of the nukes, the US was not the aggressor. It led a coalition of states - France, UK, Australia, Netherlands, China - that had been attacked and (partially) occupied by the aggressor Japan and sought to end that war. At the time the nukes were dropped, Japan still controlled vast swathes of China, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, French Indochina and Burma.

(sorry if I forgot some country or another in one of those lists).
The Nazi regime committed many crimes against civilians. The bombing of Rotterdam was one of these crimes.
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Old 5th April 2016, 05:41 AM   #154
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The whole argumentation that you can commit attrocities if you're not the aggressor seems... fishy to me. It ultimately boils down to "we can do bad stuff because we're the good guys", which has the obvious problem.

Besides, again, then on what basis can one justify trying war criminals or plain terrorists, who also thought they're fighting an aggressor? You can't base establishing the Mens Rea, the criminal intent, on requiring the omniscience to know who's REALLY the aggressor.

See the infamous Goering quote. Germans were told that Poland attacked Germany in that fabricated border incident, and that France and England joined on the side of the aggressor. The Japanese were told that China attacked them in that famous bridge incident.

If, for all they knew, they were fighting an aggressor, and you want to argue that fighting an aggressor excuses any atrocities, then how do you establish criminal intent for the SS Einsatzgruppen? Or for the Japanese biological attacks?

And if not just any collateral damage of non-combatants is ok, but even directly targeting non-combatants is ok, if it helps achieve military goals faster, then what's so different about non-combatants in another country? Going through Belgium and the Netherlands sure helped shorten the war and save a bunch of lives on both sides, compared to going against the Maginot line, after all.

And again, "oh, but it only counts if it's against an aggressor" isn't helping either. One thing the Nazi propaganda hammered upon was the invasion of the Ruhr valley in 1923 by France and Belgium. That was an act of war by any reasonable definition, and well outside any stipulations of the Treaty Of Versailles.

Now I'm not saying that the Nazis were right or were the good guys, but just saying that surely you can't either give carte blanche to anyone believing they're fighting an aggressor, nor base criminal intent on requiring omniscience.
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Old 5th April 2016, 05:59 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Deaths that are caused in the process of defeating an aggressor are laid at the feet of the aggressor, not those who defeated him.
Hmmm...the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany, and in the process of the Soviet Union's defeat of Germany, many atrocities including rape and murder of German women were carried out.

Are all the rapes and murders also laid at the feet of Germany?

I would say, no, and I expect you would too. Why? Because there are some things which cross a line.
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Old 5th April 2016, 08:42 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Hmmm...the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany, and in the process of the Soviet Union's defeat of Germany, many atrocities including rape and murder of German women were carried out.

Are all the rapes and murders also laid at the feet of Germany?

I would say, no, and I expect you would too. Why? Because there are some things which cross a line.
The Red Army was fighting for an admirable motive - to resist an invasion - and committing crimes while doing so.
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Old 5th April 2016, 09:12 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Doesn't change how many innocent civilians were wiped off the earth and the generations following of health issues

And the blame for that should be attributed to who?


Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Only if you have little to no conscience

The lives you are talking about would have been spared had the Japanese leadership been sensible and acknowledged the hopelessness of their situation. Instead, they decided to fight on. (Indeed, some of the leadership was quite willing to see the entire nation utterly destroyed rather than surrender.)

So, if you want to blame someone, blame the Japanese leadership. It could have chosen to save the lives of its own citizens. Instead, it decided to squander them in a pointless continuation of hostilities.



Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
While actually creating a firestorm was hit and miss, nevertheless the whole intent, and very explicitly stated by Harris, was to burn down as many civilian houses as possible by overwhelming the possibilities of any imaginable fire departments. Furthermore he explicitly states the intent to hamper such firefighting efforts by basically terrorizing the firefighters -- which were civilians -- by throwing some delayed explosives in the incendiary mix.

The point was to dehouse as much of the population as possible, as well as causing the largest amount of physical damage as possible. Fire was a very effective means of doing so, and Bomber Command refined this method of attack as the war progressed.

Again, I will point out that such general damage caused general economic damage which impacted the German war economy. To say the only effect was on the civilian population is not accurate.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The technology not being reliably able to reach outright apocalyptic proportions with the massacre of civilians every time, is hardly an excuse in my mind.

The RAF was driven to nighttime bombing by technological and operational limitations. It was either bomb Germany by night, or do nothing at all to damage the enemy.

Let us remember as well that the cost in the lives of the bombing crews was high; it wasn't as if Germany was undefended. It was strongly defended, with many fighters, radar stations, anti-aircraft artillery, bomb shelters, various air raid countermeasures, etc. The bombing forces had to overcome those defences, sometimes at enormous cost.

Let us remember too that without those German civilians the German war effort would have been impossible. No civilians, no economy; no economy, no military; no military, no war. It's that simple. However much us standing in the early 21st century may find it unpleasant, that equation was the reality of total war between industrialized nation-states of the 1940s.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
We don't excuse the 9/11 guys because, ah, see, but they couldn't raze every building whenever they wanted; the Pentagon still stands, after all.

The incident to which you refer was not something which occurred during a state of declared war between two industrialized nation-states in the first half of the 20th century.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The fact that they ALSO attacked military targets in addition to terrorizing civilian workers is also hardly an excuse ever.

The point is that it counters the myth that all Bomber Command did during its campaign was area raids. The force in fact did other types of attacks, often with important results, yet this seems neither remembered nor credited.

Furthermore, it's war. Contrary to what many current-day armchair analysts might think, war is nasty, brutal, ugly, and destructive. Arguably, the most humane and moral thing to do is to end the war as quickly as possible. And to achieve that end one wields the tools one has and applies them.

I'll point out again (since it seems to be willfully overlooked) is that the area raids did indeed cause damage to the German war economy, though obviously not to the same degree as the more focused U.S. efforts. There were also the important indirect effects the area attacks caused, some of which I have already mentioned.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If you want to talk US, I would focus less on the nukes, and more on their too switching almost completely from precision bombing to burning down Japanese cities.

The U.S. was forced to change tactics because the type of strategic bombing it had done over Europe simply did not work over Japan, for various technological and operational reasons. That change in tactics, however unpleasant, did indeed produce results, including a notable impact on the Japanese war economy.
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Old 5th April 2016, 09:30 AM   #158
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In terms of the indirect effects of the bombing efforts, I will repeat what was offered back in post #49.

Quoting from The Crucible of War 1939-1945 - The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force - Volume III by Brereton Greenhous, Stephen J. Harris, William C. Johnston, and William G.P. Rawling:

Quote:
Of much greater significance ... was the extent to which the bomber offensive against Germany constituted a 'Second Front' long before the Allied invasion of Northwest Europe, and even when only Bomber Command was heavily involved in it. In terms of manpower alone, the Germans used between 500,000 to 800,000 workers to repair bomb damage and organize the dispersal of vital industries, labourers who could otherwise have been involved in the direct production of war material, while the Flak arm required some 900,000 men in 1943 and was still 656,000 strong in April 1945 — many of whom might otherwise have played a significant part in the ground war.

The enemy was also forced to allocate considerable equipment to air defence. In March 1942, as the German army was fighting critical battles in Russia and Bomber Command had not yet launched its first 'thousand' raid or its initial battle of the Ruhr, there were already 3,970 heavy Flak guns deployed around German cities which could have been made into mobile artillery or bolstered anti-tank defences in the east. By September 1944 that number had grown to 10,225. Indeed, according to Albert Speer, of the 19,713 88-millimetre and 128-millimetre dual-purpose Flak/anti-tank artillery pieces produced between 1942 and 1944, only 3,172 could be allocated to the army for use in the anti-armour role because of the pressure from air attack. Similarly, the threat posed by Bomber Command's night raids meant that the German night fighter force accounted for a consistently increasing percentage of Luftwaffe front-line strength — more than 20 per cent of the total by December 1944. Several hundred of those on strength in late 1943 and 1944 were machines which could have been used to great advantage in other roles on other fronts.

Only 16% (one-sixth) of the 88mm and 128mm dual-purpose artillery produced by Germany from 1942-44 went to the army for anti-tank use; the rest went to anti-aircraft work. That's a huge number of very effective artillery pieces not being pointed at Allied tanks and soldiers. Without the bombing campaign, all those artillery pieces are being used against Allied ground forces. How much might have that slowed the ground campaign?
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Old 5th April 2016, 09:40 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
... That's a huge number of very effective artillery pieces not being pointed at Allied tanks and soldiers. Without the bombing campaign, all those artillery pieces are being used against Allied ground forces. How much might have that slowed the ground campaign?
If you want to use that argument, fine. Then atrocities against civilians are justified if they create inconvenience or cost to the war effort of the country with which one is at war.

I have no doubt that the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis in the USSR was the cause of many costs and inconveniences to the Soviet regime. Think how many Jewish teenagers would soon have been in the Red Army, and Jewish women in the Soviet arms factories making T34s if they had not been murdered. Does that justify the slaughter of these people?
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Old 5th April 2016, 10:33 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I have no doubt that the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis in the USSR was the cause of many costs and inconveniences to the Soviet regime. Think how many Jewish teenagers would soon have been in the Red Army, and Jewish women in the Soviet arms factories making T34s if they had not been murdered. Does that justify the slaughter of these people?
What? How would people in territory occupied by the Nazis end up in the Red Army or in Russian factories?

A better parallel would be to ask if the Luftwaffe bombing of the UK was considered a war crime or not (IIRC: not).
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