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

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Old 7th April 2016, 12:36 PM   #201
Giz
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Are you suggesting that the Mongols piling up mountains of skulls, burning cities and slaughtering their residents had no detrimental impact on the Chinese economy and war effort?

It did? Then we can't criticise Genghis, khan we?
Oh! oh! False equivalence fun!!

Here, I'll play too:


Are you suggesting that the Allies invading France, destroying cities and killing thousands of French civilians, was OK?

It was? Then we can't criticise Germany, can we?
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Old 7th April 2016, 12:46 PM   #202
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Your attempted analogy fails in that the situation in your comment is not a state of declared total war between two relatively equally powerful industrialized nation-states. Circumstances matter and make for an important distinction.
... almost every substantial building in North Korea was destroyed. The war's highest-ranking American POW, U.S. Major General William F. Dean,reported that most of the North Korean cities and villages he saw were either rubble or snow-covered wastelands. North Korean factories, schools, hospitals, and government offices were forced to move underground, and air defenses were "virtually non-existent." In November 1950, the North Korean leadership instructed their population to build dugouts and mud huts, as well as dig underground tunnels, in order to solve the acute housing problem. U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay commented, "we went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, some way or another, and some in South Korea, too." Pyongyang, which saw 75 percent of its area destroyed, was so devastated that bombing was halted as there were no longer any worthy targets.
Wiki. So that was an outrage, because "not a state of declared total war between two relatively equally powerful industrialized nation-states"?

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Old 7th April 2016, 01:03 PM   #203
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Oh! oh! False equivalence fun!!

Here, I'll play too:


Are you suggesting that the Allies invading France, destroying cities and killing thousands of French civilians, was OK?

It was? Then we can't criticise Germany, can we?
Its not my "equivalence". Are you suggesting that if "destroying cities and killing thousands of French civilians" had a detrimental effect on the French war effort, then it was reasonable for the Nazis - at war with France - to resort to such measures?
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Old 7th April 2016, 01:38 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Its not my "equivalence". Are you suggesting that if "destroying cities and killing thousands of French civilians" had a detrimental effect on the French war effort, then it was reasonable for the Nazis - at war with France - to resort to such measures?
No, that would not be reasonable of the Nazis as they are not equivalent. You keep trying to draw false equivalence between just and unjust belligerents. Or between actions taken in enemy territory and controlled territory.

Here is a quote from Churchill (he is talking specifically about the UK violating Norwegian neutrality, but it is useful to consider in a wider context):

“We are fighting to re-establish the reign of law and to protect the liberties of small countries. Our defeat would mean an age of barbaric violence and would be fatal, not only to ourselves, but to the independent life of every small country in Europe. … We have a right, indeed are bound in duty, to abrogate for a space some of the conventions of the very laws we seek to consolidate and re-affirm. Small nations must not tie our hands when we are fighting for their rights and freedoms. The letter of the law must not in supreme emergency obstruct those who are charged with its protection and enforcement. It would not be right or rational that the aggressive power should gain one set of advantages by tearing up all laws, and another set by sheltering behind the innate respect for law of its opponents. “
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Old 7th April 2016, 02:21 PM   #205
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
The entire world could say the sky is green. That does not make the world correct.
I would think that on ethical matters it kinda does. Unless you want to claim there's an absolute morality to base such judgments upon.

And in which case please explain why can we condemn most other war criminals, if there is some absolute morality that says it's ok to target civilians if it helps with the war.

Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Because the civilized world is somewhat foolish on the subject. It wants war to be clean and nice by fighting by a strict set of rules. Wonderful in theory, perhaps, but in practice, stark reality intercedes and changes things. If WWIII had happened, and the nukes had started flying, all those wonderful Geneva rules were out the window.
Well, fair enough, you're entitled to that opinion, but again, unless you can argue some kind of absolute morality, I fail to see on what base you can pretend that your personal views trump the majority ones.

Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Whether the world realizes it or not, it wants war to become acceptable by trying to "civilize" it. I am unconvinced this is the correct path. War is nothing more than mass murder on an vast scale. Perhaps we need that reminder of how destructive and terrible war is so war of any kind becomes an abhorrent thought, rather than, "Well, war is fine, because me, the civilian, whose work makes possible the war in the first place, is safe and sound and untouchable, while all those poor suckers, er, I mean soldiers, are out there dying."
That's kinda.... intersting, and wrong, considering that the first treaties that started the whole thing were about granting medical assistance to wounded soldiers. Or that over half the rules still are about such things as accepting surrender, not using poison gas on soldiers, not forcing someone to keep playing a role in the fighting after they surrendered to you (e.g., by using them as hostages), etc.

Plus, you're trying to tell me that in the 19'th century, when the first Geneva and Hague conventions were signed, war was NOT acceptable? As far as I know history, it really wasn't until WW1 that people even started to really realize that humans aren't made for mass-murdering each other with glee. But as soon as war became a mass sport, people started to get ideas about containing the destruction of human life to those actually in combat.

Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Hindsight. It all looks so simple in hindsight. It is easy to sit in our armchairs here in the early 21st century and say how terrible it was they conducted the war this way or that seven decades ago. Being there, being in that time, under those circumstances, in that situation, knowing only what was known at the time, was something very different.
Maybe. But I can still think someone was, you know, a dick for doing certain things, when there's plenty of evidence that thinking otherwise didn't start out of nowhere after their time.

I mean, equally I wasn't there when Vlad The Impaler decided to burn the beggars alive, or to enslave his own population to make them build him a fortress. Maybe that's the only way he knew how to make it work. But since there were plently of other people around who DID have a notion of proportionate punishment or showing some basic empathy and charity, I have no problem saying that he was an outlier even as dicks went in that century.
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Old 7th April 2016, 02:32 PM   #206
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
The entire world could say the sky is green. That does not make the world correct.
False equivalence. The sky is objectively blue, but what we consider to be a 'war crime' is not. If the World decides that something is a crime, then it is correct. It doesn't matter whether you think it should be a crime or not - there is no objective measure for what is a crime and what isn't.

Churchill wasn't committing a war crime by bombing Dresden because it wasn't a crime at the time. Now it is, but since the law wasn't applied retroactively we can't accuse him of war crimes. All we can say is that if he tried it today then he would be a war criminal.
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Old 7th April 2016, 02:54 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
No, that would not be reasonable of the Nazis as they are not equivalent. You keep trying to draw false equivalence between just and unjust belligerents. Or between actions taken in enemy territory and controlled territory.

Here is a quote from Churchill (he is talking specifically about the UK violating Norwegian neutrality, but it is useful to consider in a wider context):

“We are fighting to re-establish the reign of law and to protect the liberties of small countries. Our defeat would mean an age of barbaric violence and would be fatal, not only to ourselves, but to the independent life of every small country in Europe. … We have a right, indeed are bound in duty, to abrogate for a space some of the conventions of the very laws we seek to consolidate and re-affirm. Small nations must not tie our hands when we are fighting for their rights and freedoms. The letter of the law must not in supreme emergency obstruct those who are charged with its protection and enforcement. It would not be right or rational that the aggressive power should gain one set of advantages by tearing up all laws, and another set by sheltering behind the innate respect for law of its opponents. “
The violation of Norwegian neutrality is not the same as the destruction of civilian populations. In any case I do not strive to draw an equivalence between Churchill and Hitler, or between the UK and Nazi Germany. Far from it. I have recently stated in an another post that I believe Churchill to have been a scoundrel, but when he came to power he was confronted with a million times worse scoundrel. What I am attempting to establish is that the targeting of civilians is wrong. It is wrong no matter who does it, governments or militant groups. Wrong without distinction, in declared war or insurgency - or simple criminal enterprises, for that matter.

It is not my view that the war against Germany necessitated such criminal acts, hideous though the Nazi regime was. It has been argued here that the intentional killing of German civilians shortened the war, and that the strategic bombing campaign was "another front". But it absorbed a huge proportion of the allied war effort. Of course it shortened the war, but the use of such a massive amount of material and money would have shortened the war no matter how it was used; and civilian people and their homes were not the most effective targets for this
The amount of resources dedicated to the combined bomber offensive was immense. As much as 40 to 50 per cent of the British war effort went into the RAF and the USAAF consumed as much as 25-35 per cent of US industrial output. The USAAF grew to 2.4 million men in June 1944, or over a third of the U.S. Army.
Of course the deployment of all this shortened the war. It would have shortened it more effectively if it had not been targeted at civilian lives and homes, in my view.

Moreover, we are now being told that the killing of civilians is the right thing to do, as nobody is innocent. This outrageous suggestion is impossible to justify.
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Old 7th April 2016, 03:05 PM   #208
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
The amount of resources dedicated to the combined bomber offensive was immense. As much as 40 to 50 per cent of the British war effort went into the RAF and the USAAF consumed as much as 25-35 per cent of US industrial output. The USAAF grew to 2.4 million men in June 1944, or over a third of the U.S. Army.
Wow. Where did you get that figure?

The figure I have seen is 7% of the western Allied war effort went on the strategic bombing campaign. 40 to 50 per cent of British war effort went on the RAF? Even if that includes non strategic bombing forces (i.e. fighter command), that still sounds very high.
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Old 7th April 2016, 11:46 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Then genocide is justified.

By all means, leap to fanciful conclusions.


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Not only of the population of the enemy country, but of the population of countries occupied and exploited by the enemy. Like the Czech civilians in my last example. Fine. If that's the argument, good and well. I wonder how many posters here will ascribe to it.

Have we forgotten again the difference between a side having direct control over a territory and the population within it as opposed to not having direct control over the territory? Yes, it seems we have forgotten that distinction.


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Of course if nobody is innocent, and all must die, then nobody - not Goering or Heydrich - is any more guilty than the child of a factory worker in Hamburg or Essen. I really will not be brought by any argument to accept the validity of such a concept.

That you refuse to see how total war between powerful industrialized nation-states is a specific thing is not my problem.

Perhaps we should familiarize ourselves with the sheer industrial scale of the Second World War, as it seems it is being severely underestimated or disregarded. Some rounded figures for 1939-45 for Germany and its territories that give a taste of the vast industrial scale involved:
  • 67,000 tanks and self-propelled guns
  • 345,000 armoured vehicles
  • 73,000 artillery pieces
  • 674,000 mortars
  • 1 million machine guns
  • 16.5 million men in the land forces
  • 95,000 combat aircraft
  • 3.4 million men in the air forces
  • 1,100 submarines
  • 1.5 million men in the naval forces
All that, over a six-year period.

Now let's look at some of the raw resources involved:
  • 2.4 trillion tonnes of coal
  • 240 million tonnes of iron ore
  • 172 million tonnes of steel
  • 33 million tonnes of crude oil
  • 1.9 million tonnes of aluminium
  • 2.1 million tons of zinc
All that, over a six-year period.

This is what an industrialized nation-state of the time was capable of producing. This is what it looked like when the vast economic engine of an industrialized nation-state was turned to war.

And what made all that possible was the civilian workforce.

If the civilian population of Germany had collectively decided to stop their efforts, the war would have ground to a literal halt in a short period of time. Militaries without supplies cannot fight for very long. (One of the reasons the Luftwaffe was broken as an effective daytime force was because it was starved of aviation fuel, which made it next-to-impossible to properly train new pilots—and untrained pilots were always easy targets for experienced aircrews.)


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Are you suggesting that the Mongols piling up mountains of skulls, burning cities and slaughtering their residents had no detrimental impact on the Chinese economy and war effort?

Armies back then relied on civilians too. When Alexander the Great was invading Persia, Darius was advised that one way to defeat Alexander was to raze all the towns along his path, burn the crops in the fields, and poison the wells. This would deny Alexander's army the vital supplies it needed and force it to withdraw. Darius refused this advice, as it would have meant doing this inside his own territory and thus inflicting suffering on some of his own subjects. The rest, as they say, is history.

Armies, even ancient ones, need vast quantities of supplies to fight effectively. When deprived of those supplies, their combat effectiveness quickly declines. (Or, in other words: logistics, logistics, logistics.)
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Old 7th April 2016, 11:49 PM   #210
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
... almost every substantial building in North Korea was destroyed. The war's highest-ranking American POW, U.S. Major General William F. Dean,reported that most of the North Korean cities and villages he saw were either rubble or snow-covered wastelands. North Korean factories, schools, hospitals, and government offices were forced to move underground, and air defenses were "virtually non-existent." In November 1950, the North Korean leadership instructed their population to build dugouts and mud huts, as well as dig underground tunnels, in order to solve the acute housing problem. U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay commented, "we went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, some way or another, and some in South Korea, too." Pyongyang, which saw 75 percent of its area destroyed, was so devastated that bombing was halted as there were no longer any worthy targets.
Wiki. So that was an outrage, because "not a state of declared total war between two relatively equally powerful industrialized nation-states"?

Huh. That's quite the trip you've made there, to that example from your previous one. I wonder why...
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Old 8th April 2016, 12:35 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
It has been argued here that the intentional killing of German civilians shortened the war, and that the strategic bombing campaign was "another front".

It most certainly was. The Oil and Transportation Plans in particular were quite effective in ultimately crippling the German economy—the post-war examination using the German's own records detail the effects.

But as a massive strategic bombing campaign had never been conducted prior to WWII, no one knew with any certainty what worked and what didn't. That resulted in a lot of mistakes and wasted effort.

No one understood until bloody experience taught them that unescorted heavy bombers, regardless of how many guns they carried, were easy prey for enemy fighters. "The bomber will always get through" was the mantra from before the war, and, while strictly speaking true, if you lose half your force in getting through it's pretty clear the effort is not sustainable. (Even an average loss rate of only 5% per mission was a huge amount—at that rate of loss, after just 9 missions, a 100-plane force is down to 63 aircraft.) No one really predicted the need for long-range escort fighters for daylight operations.

It took the air forces some time to realize that hitting a target once did not mean it was put out of action. Bomb damage assessment was a continual problem; what looked like ruinous damage from a recon photo taken from 40,000 feet was often not the case on the ground. Keeping a target out of action meant hitting it repeatedly.

The size of force needed to wage an effective bombing campaign was underestimated. It took a lot more aircraft than first expected, partly due to the issues mentioned in the previous two paragraphs. The Allied didn't really have the striking power needed to wage an effective campaign until the middle of 1944.

Targets were often left off the target lists that could have made a big difference. The German electrical supply was never seriously attacked, even though a campaign against it could have proved as damaging as the Oil and Transportation Plans. The reason the electrical supply was never put on the list was because of the tendency to view the enemy's weaknesses as being similar to one's own. The U.S. had plenty of electrical capacity during the war, and assumed Germany did too. That wasn't actually the case. (That's also why oil was a low priority target for a long time—despite the war the U.S. had plenty of oil, and didn't realize until Ultra intercepts came along indicated the German oil situation was more precarious.)

If the war was fought again with the benefit of this hindsight, the bombing campaign would undoubtedly be waged far more effectively. (Of course, if we grant this hindsight to the Allies, we must also grant it to the Axis, and that means they know in what manner to concentrate their aerial defences.)


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
But it absorbed a huge proportion of the allied war effort. Of course it shortened the war, but the use of such a massive amount of material and money would have shortened the war no matter how it was used...

You've just now said that material would have shortened the war anyway if used in another way, so by all means, please support your claim with some alternate strategies and military production.

Keeping in mind that, without strategic bombing, Germany's economy does not all but collapse in 1945; its railways, bridges, roads, and canal traffic are all intact; the Luftwaffe is not broken as a daytime force by mid-1945 because there is no impetus to develop a long-range escort, drop tanks, or strike at German aircraft manufacturing. The 5/6ths of German dual-purpose artillery which had been pointed skywards is now pointed at Allied troops and tanks.


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
...and civilian people and their homes were not the most effective targets for this[indent]The amount of resources dedicated to the combined bomber offensive was immense.

No, they weren't. But bombing at night, for much of the war, didn't allow for many other feasible options, and you are still discounting the fact that such bombing did general damaged and caused general economic disruption. That indirectly impacts the war effort. That damage contributes to the degradation of the German economy, even if such contribution is not as efficient as directly targetting key economic nodes. It all counts.


Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Moreover, we are now being told that the killing of civilians is the right thing to do, as nobody is innocent. This outrageous suggestion is impossible to justify.

It's not the "right" thing to do. Rather, it's an acceptable tactic towards the goal of disrupting the enemy's economy and functioning given the technological and operational realities which existed at the time.

If you have a better, and plausible, alternative, then by all means please present it. It's all well and good to say, "They should have done something different" from the comfortable position of seventy-plus years later. The hard part is saying what that something different should have been. If you can't come up with one now, with the benefit of decades of hindsight and second-guessing, then why should those of the time have come up with one?

I will ask you, as a reply to your apparent moral outrage, to consider the following: one man gives another man a gun, and that second man then proceeds to rob and kill a person. Does the man who gave the second man the gun bear some responsibility for the crime? Does he bear some guilt, seeing as if the second man had not been given a gun there would have been no robbery or murder? Is that first man morally culpable in some way for his act, especially if he knew what the second man was likely to do with that gun?

The civilian in an industrialized nation-state was the one arming the state with a gun, a gun with which his nation-state could go and attack other nation-states.
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Old 8th April 2016, 12:48 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
And what made all that possible was the civilian workforce.

If the civilian population of Germany had collectively decided to stop their efforts, the war would have ground to a literal halt in a short period of time. Militaries without supplies cannot fight for very long. (One of the reasons the Luftwaffe was broken as an effective daytime force was because it was starved of aviation fuel, which made it next-to-impossible to properly train new pilots—and untrained pilots were always easy targets for experienced aircrews.)
Except... did it even work to THAT end? I mean, at least the argument about diverting industrial power to make FLAK guns is based in fact, but the idea that you can just make civilians stop wanting to fight, just didn't work.

I mean, if it actually worked, then the UK would have surrendered during the Blitz. But what actually happened was that, far from breaking the UK's will to fight, it actually strengthened it. And it's actually widely accepted that switching from pounding the RAF airfields and such, to bombing houses was actually a huge mistake for Germany.

But just making the population stop wanting a war? Exactly which of the Axis powers surrendered because of THAT? Germany kept fighting until Berlin fell and Adolf blew his brains out. And Japan sure as hell didn't surrender because of burning down their cities. It took the scare of nukes to get the Emperor to surrender, and even then most of the population still wasn't exactly for an unconditional surrender.

And even looking at those figures of yours, exactly what industrial shortages did bombing civilian workers create? Which factories were closed because of that?

Especially in Germany's case, which more than made up with slave labour anyway.

As you say, what actually did make a difference was bombing the refineries and oil supplies. As in actually bombing THOSE, not the scaring of their workers, which just didn't do squat.

And if you look at more than just the grounding of the Luftwaffe, wherever factory production did grind down, sometimes to a halt, was due to material shortages, not due to workers deciding not to work there any more. And if you wanted to create such shortages, attacking the infrastructure was a far more effective way to do that, than burning down civilian homes. A bunch of burned down houses lining the road didn't do anything to stop the cargo trains and trucks.
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Old 8th April 2016, 01:29 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Huh. That's quite the trip you've made there, to that example from your previous one. I wonder why...
I'm surprised that you wonder why. I almost can't believe you wonder why. It has been suggested that destruction of civilians is justifiable in
a state of declared total war between two relatively equally powerful industrialized nation-states.
But the Korean War was not that kind of conflict, yet the targeting of civilians took place. You will therefore wish to condemn that strategic bombing campaign, won't you?
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Old 8th April 2016, 04:12 PM   #214
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I fight it amusing that a couple of people here who are on the political left are buying into right wing revisionist drivel.
I'm sure there are many things that you and I can agree with the Nazis about. I seem to remember that Nazi scientists discovered a causal link between smoking and lung cancer and had policies which discouraged smoking as a result. They were literally health Nazis in that sense. Were the Nazis, right?

Similarly, even if it is true that Nazis object to area bombing of German cities, it doesn't mean that non-Nazis such as myself cannot make our own judgments about the morality of specifically targeting civilians as part of a war strategy.

In the case of the Nazis their motivations for their own "revisionist history" is likely tainted by their interests and it is likely to be hypocritical as they probably don't object to the bombings of civilians that they carried out let alone the much larger and unforgivable atrocities such as the Holocaust.

But you and I are not similarly burdened by having to rationalize or deny those atrocities, so we can ask ourselves if the targeting of civilians through area bombing is morally just.
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Old 9th April 2016, 12:40 AM   #215
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Oh! oh! False equivalence fun!!

Here, I'll play too:


Are you suggesting that the Allies invading France, destroying cities and killing thousands of French civilians, was OK?

It was? Then we can't criticise Germany, can we?
The Allies destruction of civilians was a by-product of fighting intended not to destroy, but to liberate French people. The strategic bombing of German cities was intended to kill civilians, and destroy their homes. That was its purpose, as I have shown. What then is the relevance of the example of casualties in France? These were inadvertently and unwillingly inflicted. Nobody here is referring to such civilian deaths, but to the intentional targeting of civilians as a war strategy.

In France, the SS Second Panzer Division behaved very deliberately at Oradour Are you really saying we can't condemn this atrocity, because French civilians were unintentionally killed by the Allies, during and after the D-Day landings? How absurd!

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Old 9th April 2016, 02:46 AM   #216
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I think there is some confusion among those that argue that the area bombing should not be questioned.

Some posters seem to be denying that civilians were ever targeted at all. They argue that the only reason why civilians were ever bombed was because the evil Nazis deliberately put war making materials in cities to use civilians as human shields. This is fuelair's position, and it is emphatically wrong.

Another argument is that, sure, the allies targeted civilians, but it doesn't matter because they were German (or Japanese) and by virtue of their governments being the same nationality, all moral costs lie with Berlin or Tokyo because these governments led a war of aggression. This is theprestige's position. This to me is highly dubious unless you are inclined to accept any behaviour whatsoever by any player that can plead self-defence as the Soviet Union did. Could we therefore argue that absolutely anything they did in defence could be absolved on the basis that they weren't the aggressor? I would argue no.

Another argument is that while the allies definitely did target civilians they did so for very good reasons that can be shown to have had a measurable effect on the Axis Powers' ability to wage war and which hastened the end of the war. I think this is Corsair's position. I am slightly more persuaded by this if it can be shown to be true, although even in such a case it leaves the door open to all kinds of atrocities that we would usually want to avoid.

Other arguments that are not really worth giving much consideration are:

You live Hitler!
You are a poo poo head!
Blah blah blah, bluster, bluster, bluster!
You're a fascist!
Orwell said therefore I'm right!
You're Neville Chamberlain; I'm Winston Churchill; hear me roar!
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Old 9th April 2016, 05:26 AM   #217
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
... Another argument is that while the allies definitely did target civilians they did so for very good reasons that can be shown to have had a measurable effect on the Axis Powers' ability to wage war and which hastened the end of the war. I think this is Corsair's position. I am slightly more persuaded by this if it can be shown to be true, although even in such a case it leaves the door open to all kinds of atrocities that we would usually want to avoid.
Thank you for this very informative post. I also think that the last argument you describe is the most plausible, out of a rather bad bunch, and I don't dismiss it out of hand, though I agree with your point that it could be made to justify anything whatsoever. If atrocities against civilians - even horrible ones like those the Germans committed at Lidice and Oradour - if the equivalent of these (nothing like them was in fact perpetrated by the Allies) might have shortened the war, should we have resorted to them? I think not.

Also, the justification
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
can be shown to have had a measurable effect on the Axis Powers' ability to wage war and which hastened the end of the war
is not adequate, let alone conclusive. In addition, it would have to be shown not merely that the Strategic Bombing Offensive shortened the War, but that it did so more effectively than any other possible use of the resources invested in it. Did killing civilians and destroying their homes shorten the war more than use of the weapons in better convoy protection, more attacks on industrial and transport infrastructure, or any one of many other possible activities might have done? That is the question, and its answer is not at all clear.

Churchill's most extreme proposal in this domain is quoted in wiki.
I should be prepared to do anything [Churchill's emphasis] that would hit the enemy in a murderous place. I may certainly have to ask you to support me in using poison gas. We could drench the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany ..., We could stop all work at the flying bombs starting points.... and if we do it, let us do it one hundred per cent.— Prime Minister's personal minute to the Chiefs of Staff, 6 July 1944
This suggestion was vigorously opposed by those military and religious advisers to whom Churchill confided it. He yielded, but not on grounds of distaste for the proposed mass destruction. "I cannot make head against the parsons and the warriors at the same time," he sulked.

Wiki explains the "warriors'" very sound objections.
The Chiefs of Staff ... warned that the Nazis would have no particular "difficulty in holding down the cowed German population, if they were subjected to gas attack ... "
Of course that is so; nor did they have any greater difficulty in holding down the population when it was subjected to aerial bombing. That is what invalidated Harris's plan. So it simply did not work as proposed, and to justify it we have to say, "Well, even if it didn't do what it was meant to do, destruction on that scale (including bombing the rubble of already-devastated cities again and again) must have shortened the war one way or another." That's morally very dubious; and even if it's true (I think it is) then it's still not justifiable, even amorally, in terms of "best use of resources".

Consider this. The charge of the Light Brigade really did silence the Russian guns! That's not a conclusive argument in its favour.

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Old 9th April 2016, 09:34 AM   #218
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Did killing civilians and destroying their homes shorten the war more than use of the weapons in better convoy protection, more attacks on industrial and transport infrastructure, or any one of many other possible activities might have done? That is the question, and its answer is not at all clear.
This is where your argument is weakest.

Is it possible to attack (using World War 2 bombing accuracy) industrial and transport infrastructure, which are overwhelmingly concentrated in cities, without also destroying homes and killing civilians?
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Old 9th April 2016, 11:24 AM   #219
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
This is where your argument is weakest.

Is it possible to attack (using World War 2 bombing accuracy) industrial and transport infrastructure, which are overwhelmingly concentrated in cities, without also destroying homes and killing civilians?
Please read post #117 to see the background to this argument.

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Old 9th April 2016, 05:08 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
This is where your argument is weakest.

Is it possible to attack (using World War 2 bombing accuracy) industrial and transport infrastructure, which are overwhelmingly concentrated in cities, without also destroying homes and killing civilians?
It might not be. But the argument is that destroying homes and killing civilians was the purpose of area bombing.
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Old 9th April 2016, 11:46 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Please read post #117 to see the background to this argument.
OK, a quote from Bomber Harris.

The point I was raising was about which was the most effective way to shorten the war. I'm questioning whether it was possible to make effective attacks against transport or industrial infrastructure without killing large numbers of civilians.

It is arguable that the most effective attack on industrial targets was the bombing of Hamburg, which also killed very large number of civilians, but also seriously worried German leaders.
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Old 10th April 2016, 02:13 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
OK, a quote from Bomber Harris.

The point I was raising was about which was the most effective way to shorten the war. I'm questioning whether it was possible to make effective attacks against transport or industrial infrastructure without killing large numbers of civilians.

It is arguable that the most effective attack on industrial targets was the bombing of Hamburg, which also killed very large number of civilians, but also seriously worried German leaders.
It's even more arguable that it was the majority view at the time.
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Old 10th April 2016, 03:19 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
It's even more arguable that it was the majority view at the time.
It was the view of the person in charge of the campaign.
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Old 10th April 2016, 03:20 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
OK, a quote from Bomber Harris.
Well spotted.
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Old 10th April 2016, 03:27 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Well spotted.
Thank you.

Since you raised the question about whether more attacks on industrial and transport infrastructure would do more to shorten the war, are you going to discuss it?
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Old 10th April 2016, 04:48 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Its not my "equivalence". Are you suggesting that if "destroying cities and killing thousands of French civilians" had a detrimental effect on the French war effort, then it was reasonable for the Nazis - at war with France - to resort to such measures?
I visited the Norwegian airforce museum, and was struck by a comment about one of their squadrons (interestingly most squadrons bear their 'RAF' squadron numbers still). There was a bombing mission in WW2 that would lead to significant deaths of norwegian civilians. The Norwegian government in exile insisted that it be led by a Norwegian bomber squadron because if there were going to be Norwegians killed it should be by Norwegians.

Given that the French government in exile was one of the Allies and thus party to decision making does it make any difference that it was the countries own government as opposed to external belligerents carrying this out? (For the sake of this discussion assume de gaulle was fully informed and agreeable - I accept that the actual commitment of the Free French was not a 100% historically).
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Old 10th April 2016, 04:56 AM   #227
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FWIW i read an article about atrocities by US forces in France and Germany towards the end of the war which the writer claimed should have been regarded as war crimes. Part of his argument was that British forces (who would have had more justification for being beastly to the Germans) by and large did not behave in the same way. This may have been a belief from the top that German forces may have been needed to fight the Russians, a belief not shared by the US leadership, thus a need for the British to keep Germans 'on side'.

The conclusion being that war crimes by American troops upto and including General Officer level (if not directly the President), were not prosecuted or investigated.

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Old 10th April 2016, 05:58 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
Thank you.

Since you raised the question about whether more attacks on industrial and transport infrastructure would do more to shorten the war, are you going to discuss it?
If you have a contribution to make about the questions raised here, why don't you go ahead?
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Old 10th April 2016, 10:49 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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."
I trust that a genuine belief has no bearing re:ROW. If it involves violating those rules.
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Old 11th April 2016, 01:25 AM   #230
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
If you have a contribution to make about the questions raised here, why don't you go ahead?
The most effective way to destroy Germany's industrial capacity and ability to wage war would have been a dozen raids with a similar effects to Hamburg. As long as the targets were not declared open cities then perfectly legal during WW2, and as I understand it for a long time afterwards.
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Old 11th April 2016, 02:52 AM   #231
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
I trust that a genuine belief has no bearing re:ROW. If it involves violating those rules.
Well, yes, because laws tend to not be based on the omniscience required to grant exemptions to the good guys versus the bad guys. The moment you were to grant an exception like, 'it's not murder if the victim is a mass murderer', you've essentially either required omniscience or it does become a matter of belief. If I killed Max, was it with criminal intent, or was I believing genuinely that he is a mass murderer?

Which is why laws don't grant such exemptions. And why the international laws don't contain clauses to the effect of 'you can target civilians, if you're fighting a really bad guy.'

Basically I was just illustrating the absurdity of the proposition that it's not an atrocity if you're fighting Hitler, so to speak.
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Old 11th April 2016, 02:57 AM   #232
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
OK, a quote from Bomber Harris.

The point I was raising was about which was the most effective way to shorten the war. I'm questioning whether it was possible to make effective attacks against transport or industrial infrastructure without killing large numbers of civilians.

It is arguable that the most effective attack on industrial targets was the bombing of Hamburg, which also killed very large number of civilians, but also seriously worried German leaders.
In fact, it was possible, since since the beginning of 1943, RAF bombers were equipped with the ground-scanning H2S radar. Which made it possible to bomb with extreme accuracy (for the time) even through fog or smoke or just about anything. Especially large structures like factories were extremely easy to target with H2S radar.

While of course that doesn't guarantee that you'll have NO civilian casualties, it's a bit different and arguably more effective than the idiotic idea that you can just terrorize civilian workers into stopping working.
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Old 11th April 2016, 03:02 AM   #233
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
The most effective way to destroy Germany's industrial capacity and ability to wage war would have been a dozen raids with a similar effects to Hamburg. As long as the targets were not declared open cities then perfectly legal during WW2, and as I understand it for a long time afterwards.
And if it's perfectly legal then no moral considerations arise? Assuming indeed that such destruction would have had the effect you suggest.

What about Churchill's very similar poison gas proposal mentioned above? Was it in your view unfortunate that the Warriors and parsons objected to it, causing its cancellation?

When you hear about mass destruction of civilians, is your first thought: was that legal? Well then, nothing else counts. We can't be done for war crimes.
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Old 11th April 2016, 05:58 AM   #234
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Really? Just talking out the ass is somehow official if you throw in "objectively"?
It's a little different in context, Blair was speaking in 1942.
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Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security. Mr Savage remarks that ‘according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”.’ But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious ‘freedom’ station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U. They would stimulate pacifism in Russia as well if they could, but in that case they have tougher babies to deal with. In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.
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Old 11th April 2016, 06:01 AM   #235
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Your ignoring the fact the Manhattan Projects majority of scientists signed a petition warning of the scale and asked for it to be first observed by the prez before using them
1. It wasn't a majority, it was seventy lead by Szillard.
2. The actual request was not as you stated:
Quote:
In view of the foregoing, we, the undersigned, respectfully petition: first, that you exercise your power as Commander-in-Chief, to rule that the United States shall not resort to the use of atomic bombs in this war unless the terms which will be imposed upon Japan have been made public in detail and Japan knowing these terms has refused to surrender; second, that in such an event the question whether or not to use atomic bombs be decided by you in light of the considerations presented in this petition as well as all the other moral responsibilities which are involved.
The petition was never seen by Truman.
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Old 11th April 2016, 06:46 AM   #236
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
It's a little different in context, Blair was speaking in 1942.
Really? Let me quote:

Originally Posted by Giz View Post
I think we can add to that:
People who wished the Allies had fought a limited war, against fascist powers fighting a total war, are objectively pro-fascist.
I don't see any indication in there -- like, oh, I dunno, maybe using the PAST tense in the verb? -- that it's only about 1942. Or even, oh, I dunno, only before 1949, when those things were classified as atrocities.

At any rate, if one wants to claim X is OBJECTIVELY so, they'll have to do better as a primary source than just some polemicist writing a bunch of sophistry. Well written sophistry, to be sure, but nevertheless not exactly a study or anything.

Plus, as I mentioned before, Orwell is basically just illustrating how to do a "rule of so" case without actually writing a "so". When you're talking belief or intent, it's an automatic intensional content, and saying that someone is pro-X is both. Treating an intensional context as extensional, in that you connect your own dots and basically act as if that's also the conclusion, or even INTENT of the other party, is fundamentally a strawman.

Even the piece he wrote actually shows that he was actually aware that people's intentions weren't exactly wanting the fascists to win, and in fact addressing such arguments, but he chooses to build his own polemic strawman anyway.
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Old 11th April 2016, 06:53 AM   #237
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
And why the international laws don't contain clauses to the effect of 'you can target civilians, if you're fighting a really bad guy.'
Except, of course, that they do. The principles of proportionality and military necessity are well established.
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Old 11th April 2016, 07:07 AM   #238
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Except, of course, that they do. The principles of proportionality and military necessity are well established.
I'm not aware of any that allow directly and deliberately targeting civilians. But perhaps you'll educate me.

What is permited is essentially colateral damage, if it can't be avoided. But that's a different thing.
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Old 11th April 2016, 09:02 AM   #239
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post

Even the piece he wrote actually shows that he was actually aware that people's intentions weren't exactly wanting the fascists to win, and in fact addressing such arguments, but he chooses to build his own polemic strawman anyway.
Orwell's point was that, whether or not they really wanted the fascists to win, some idealists were in effect aiding the fascists by their agitation against the allied war effort. (Doubtless this, justified observation, was unpalatable to the high-minded useful idiots of the day).
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Old 11th April 2016, 09:56 AM   #240
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
And if it's perfectly legal then no moral considerations arise? Assuming indeed that such destruction would have had the effect you suggest.

When you hear about mass destruction of civilians, is your first thought: was that legal? Well then, nothing else counts. We can't be done for war crimes.
Main considerations, will it help us win the war, and is it legal?

Moral considerations would only come in when it was clear that the war was won; before then they are subordinated to making sure that you will win.

Quote:
What about Churchill's very similar poison gas proposal mentioned above? Was it in your view unfortunate that the Warriors and parsons objected to it, causing its cancellation?
I'm not sure that you posted the context; which was at the start of the expected V1 and V2 campaign. At that point Churchill did not know how bad it was going to get - IIRC some of the more alarmist predictions were that it would make London unlivable. In that context looking at all possibilities is what a political leader has to do. It was cancelled because it was shown that it would not be effective in ending the war faster.
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