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> Bombing of Tokyo, Bombing of Tokyo
Chandernagore
Posted: March 23, 2005 10:09 pm
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QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 23 2005, 04:05 PM)
on the other hand, you have no way to support your opinions, because you have nothing to base those opinions upon.

For the basics I often use commonly accepted interpretation of facts for which there is ample data available. I don't need to put a source each time I refer to anything. Why should I do your homework for you ? If you haven't access to related books, use google and your own sense of criticism. I don't have to put it in your mouth each time.

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I'll reveal you a little fact of studying history: opinions are only as valuable as the facts they are based upon.


Oh, many thanks Your Highness ! Then how do you dare to invoke the airforce own analysis of events to defend the airforce actions ? Don't you detect a little problem here, Majesty ?

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If however you don't like Taylor and the USAF


Nothing personal

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If it so, then you would certainly be able to point out to us some blatant lie of theirs? Some factual mistake? No, you aren't.


Yes I am. The biggest is this one : the attack's concept and execution were that of a terror raid. Taylor tries to disguise it as a valid military target, which it was not, and by so doing to justify the civilian butcher's bill or deny it was a terror operation. The airforce, of course, applauds.

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I showed you how wrong you were with regard to the issue of war-crime trials


You showed nothing. But I would be glad that you dig that out again.

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You want me to go on?


Please, yes.

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If the Allies had wanted to hang Goering for the Blitz, they would have stated it in the counts. They didn't. Apparently this is another thing you are learning now.


Apparently not. If..then... You invent a causal link and present it as historical proof. What a joke. And naturally you end up with your usual comment that the others are ignorant and your are a summum of knowledge and wisdom. Grow up, please.

I'm afraid it's not that simple. Several issues were dropped when it was evident that the allies behaved the same. See some of the charges against Donitz for example. I will give a clue/source : U-Boote - Wolfgang Frank

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Which brings me to the issue of the things you don't know.


Man, this is begining to look truly pathological <_<

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Obviously Dresden was not an objective in the Soviet land advance. What does this prove? Nothing


It is to those who slaughtered ten of thousands of civilians to prove that it was worth the price, not the other way round.

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Obviously Dresden was not an objective in the Soviet land advance. What does this prove? Nothing. Malta was not the objective of a land advance, but the Axis found it a worthy target for sustained bombing.


The analogy is absurd. Malta was a key position for controlling supply transfer to north Africa. Dresden, by feb 45 controlled nothing but a crossing point over the Elba that interested nobody but civilians fleeing from the east.

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Of course I can't prove the Dresden bombing shortened the war. Nor can you prove that it didn't, can you?


If the raid on Dresden produced mesurable effects on the war, it should be easy to show. I'm asking you to prove a claim, a positive element. You ask me to prove a negative, you know, like asking Saddam to "prove" that he doesn't have WMD.
It's intellectually dishonest.

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what do you think it is more likely, that it helped shorten the war or that it didn't


Even the transfer of an 10 year old hitlerjugend with a panzerfaust and two sacs of potatoes through a Dresden bridge could have *some* effect somewhere. Though don't ask me to measure it. Wether it warrants torching a city to death is the matter we are discussing. See what I mean ?

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A final note: if you think there is no Dresden myth, you haven't read Irving on the topic.


And I'm not likely to buy his books. I know enough about this "historian" to avoid him like plague.

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It makes for a long, long list of things you seem not to have read, for someone who wants to talk about the issue.


Curioso, go see a psy.

I'm afraid somebody who feels compelled to repeatedly state "I know, you don't know" like an automaton has some kind of disorder.

This post has been edited by Chandernagore on March 23, 2005 10:50 pm
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Chandernagore
Posted: March 23, 2005 11:48 pm
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War and Accountability

by Jonathan Schell

Few things are harder than an honest, voluntary accounting by a nation of its own crimes. When the crimes are committed by other nations, people know well how to respond. The pictures--those of, say, Serbia's recent atrocities in Kosovo shown in the Western media--are abundant. Investigations are energetic, coverage prompt. The outrage is spontaneous, and the indignation flows easily. Perhaps judicial proceedings will begin, or "humanitarian intervention" will be contemplated, accompanied by a gratifying debate on the limits of decent outsiders' moral obligations. Perhaps in time movies will be made showing--and caricaturing--their evil and contrasting it with our virtue. Maybe museums of the horrors will even be founded.

But how different everything becomes when our own countrymen are the wrongdoers. Investigations move at a snail's pace--perhaps they take decades, if they occur at all. Whereas before we seemed to be looking at the events through a sort of moral telescope, which brought everything near and into sharp focus, now we seem to look through the telescope's other end. The figures are small and indistinct. A kind of mental and emotional fog rolls in. Memories dim. The very acts that before inspired prompt anger now become fascinating philosophical puzzles. The psychological torments of the perpetrators move into the foreground, those of the victims into the background. The man firing the gun becomes more of an object of pity than the child at whom the gun was fired.

...

The Nation - May 21, 2001 issue
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Chandernagore
Posted: March 24, 2005 12:38 am
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Der Spiegel

With a very interesting interactive aerial map of the destruction.
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Chandernagore
Posted: March 24, 2005 12:46 am
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Okay let's go with a source, for the greatest joy of data-thirsty "You don't know shit" Curioso B)


http://img118.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img118&ima...pendix285ky.jpg

Letter from Norman Bottomley to "Bomber" Harris.

The primary goal stated is "cause confusion in the evacuation from the East.
The secondary goal is "...but also hamper the movement of troops from the west".

Bomber Harris targeted civilians as a deliberate strategy, and made no excuses for it. No matter what Taylor says, Dresden had very little military value as a target. It probably got bombed because

1) the USAF & the RAF were running out of targets and the bombers were there, available. Looking for something to flatten.
2) the airforce had to justify its budget and it's position within the US military
3) the need to be seen "doing something" to support the Soviets


So, Curioso you may still want to hang on your critical transportation hub theory, but it is not supported, neither by facts, nor by the results of the raid.

This post has been edited by Chandernagore on March 24, 2005 01:26 am
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Chandernagore
Posted: March 24, 2005 01:52 am
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SPIEGEL ONLINE: Was it a war crime?

Taylor: I really don't know. From a practical point of view, rules of war are something of a gray area. It was pretty borderline stuff in terms of the extent of the raid and the amount of force used. It's comparable with other air attacks in the war such as the German attack on Belgrade or even Stalingrad... These are examples where you get close to saying "you absolutely cannot do this," and I think bombing is the most dubious form of warfare possible. But a war crime is a very specific thing which international lawyers argue about all the time and I would not be prepared to commit myself nor do I see why I should.


This post has been edited by Chandernagore on March 24, 2005 01:53 am
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dragos
Posted: March 24, 2005 07:47 am
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Chandernagore, again you use personal remarks and an attitude that is not welcome on this forum. Your account has been suspended for one week.
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valachus
Posted: March 25, 2005 11:51 pm
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QUOTE (Chandernagore @ Mar 24 2005, 02:46 AM)
Okay let's go with a source, for the greatest joy of data-thirsty "You don't know shit" Curioso   B)


http://img118.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img118&ima...pendix285ky.jpg

Letter from Norman Bottomley to "Bomber" Harris.

The primary goal stated is "cause confusion in the evacuation from the East.
The secondary goal is "...but also hamper the movement of troops from the west".

Bomber Harris targeted civilians as a deliberate strategy, and made no excuses for it. No matter what Taylor says, Dresden had very little military value as a target. It probably got bombed because

1) the USAF & the RAF were running out of targets and the bombers were there, available. Looking for something to flatten.
2) the airforce had to justify its budget and it's position within the US military
3) the need to be seen "doing something" to support the Soviets

Chandernagore, sorry to bring it to you, but either your understanding of the English language leaves somewhat to be desired, or your impression of the rest of the forum members is that they're severely hampered in their understanding of English as a foreign language or completely lazy when suggested to read something by you.

That's why I'll take up the task of writing down the entire phrase you quoted, AS IS, in your scanned page at http://img118.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img118&ima...pendix285ky.jpg - this is something called "the no spin approach".

"He [the Chief of Air Staff, Sir Charles Portal and not Sir Arthur Harris, the Chief of Bomber Command, as I think you were trying to imply] agrees however that subject to the overriding claims of oil and the other approved target systems within the current directive, we should use available effort in one big attack on Berlin and related attacks on Dresden, Leipzig, Chemnitz or any other cities where a severe blitz will not only cause confusion in the evacuation from the East but will also hamper the movement of troops from the West."

What does one make of this?

That an attack on Dresden, Leipzig (already severely bombed in 1943 and february 1944) or Chemnitz (severely bombed in february and march 1945), among other potential targets, was of tertiary importance in the views of strategic air commanders of the Allies, after a ) the "oil and other approved target systems" and b ) Berlin.

That the attack on Dresden would have had as primary goal the hampering of movement of troops from the West (obviously, towards the East) and as a secondary one to create confusion in the evacuation from the East towards the West.

Because, you see, that's what my English teacher told me, way back in the previous millenium: in the English language, the construction "not only A, but also B" is used in order to put the emphasis on B, and not on A. But then again, perhaps both her and I were, and still are, dead wrong. Till proven wrong, however, I'll presumptiously assume that she and I are right, and that you're not only wrong, but spinning like a man possessed.

And, last but not least:

@Imperialist et alii: folks, get over it. The Germans started the war, they invaded the USSR in direct breach of their mutual non-agression pact, they declared war on the USA in the bluntest "bring it on" manner possible, and in the end, when it was brought to them, they lost.

It was not unavoidable, it took years and millions of deaths to defeat them and this unmatched tragedy that was unleashed on the world by this waring nation and its loyal allies (not Romania, thank heavens), could have easily ended very, very differently.

But it did end as it should have, and I'm in the comfortable position to laugh in my armchair at your "sensible", "compassionate" and "fair-play" suggestions to limit at some point or to even stop the strategic bombings (as soon as possible, of course) "because the war had been won anyway". It hadn't been won, but this is a different discussion altogether and I dont have the patience or the time to debate that with you now.

Anyway, as long as a war lasts, it's treason for a commander to consider sparing the enemy at the expense of the life of a single soldier, or an ally, of his. Treason: now, I bet that's a novel concept for you to ponder upon.

This post has been edited by valachus on March 25, 2005 11:55 pm
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Curioso
Posted: March 29, 2005 09:13 am
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QUOTE (Imperialist @ Mar 23 2005, 02:14 PM)
I guess they're already myth. (saying that about the holocaust would be getting into deep s*, but I guess german victims are different)


An interesting remark that deserves a separate reply.

First thing, it isn't so easy to distinguish between the persons killed in WWII by nationality. You tell apart "Germans" from "Jews". The fact is that many of the Jews that the Nazis murdered before and during WWII _were_ German. Many of them even thought of themselves as German first and Jews second; others believed that Ebraism was their religion but Germany their country, like a German Catholic or a German Protestant could believe.
Similarly, not all the persons killed during an act of war against a legitimate military target, Dresden, were Germans. Some were foreigners, who had been enslaved by the Nazis and brought to Dresden as forced labor for the military industries.

Having cleared that, you are of course right that downsizing the figures of the civilian death toll in the military action over Dresden is less controversial than downsizing the figures of the civilian death toll in the Nazi extermination camps. But there is a reason for that. Downsizing the latter has seldom if ever been done with a view to recording historical data; it has virtually always been done with a very explicit neo-Nazi agenda in mind, as a first step to either denying the Holocaust, or at least to emptying it of its significance by reducing it to one of many bad deeds done in war.
Since we are all very aware of these attempts, it is only proper to be wary about the whole issue.
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Curioso
Posted: March 29, 2005 09:19 am
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QUOTE (Chandernagore @ Mar 23 2005, 10:09 PM)

QUOTE
what do you think it is more likely, that it helped shorten the war or that it didn't


Even the transfer of an 10 year old hitlerjugend with a panzerfaust and two sacs of potatoes through a Dresden bridge could have *some* effect somewhere. Though don't ask me to measure it. Wether it warrants torching a city to death is the matter we are discussing. See what I mean ?

I'll reply only to this part, as the rest of the post frankly doesn't deserve any forum reader's time.

Chandernagore mistakes current international law, which provides that the measurable military advantage must be commensurate and reasonably proportionate to the likelihood of collateral damage, with what was the international law of war in force in WWII.
At the time, there was NO such provision. If the Allies wanted to raze a city to kill a combatant Hitlerjugend boy, they could do so as long as the city was defended. That's brutal, but all war is, and that's not against the laws of war.
Rather, we should wonder why a government would risk its own cities' survival in order to move Panzerfaust-armed boys to a useless front.
But that would mean questioning the sanity of Hitler rather than the rights of the Allies to wage war against an enemy that had not surrendered, or the sanity of other forum posters, of course.
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Imperialist
Posted: March 29, 2005 12:50 pm
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QUOTE (valachus @ Mar 25 2005, 11:51 PM)


@Imperialist et alii: folks, get over it. The Germans started the war, they invaded the USSR in direct breach of their mutual non-agression pact, they declared war on the USA in the bluntest "bring it on" manner possible, and in the end, when it was brought to them, they lost.

It was not unavoidable, it took years and millions of deaths to defeat them and this unmatched tragedy that was unleashed on the world by this waring nation and its loyal allies (not Romania, thank heavens), could have easily ended very, very differently.

But it did end as it should have, and I'm in the comfortable position to laugh in my armchair at your "sensible", "compassionate" and "fair-play" suggestions to limit at some point or to even stop the strategic bombings (as soon as possible, of course) "because the war had been won anyway". It hadn't been won, but this is a different discussion altogether and I dont have the patience or the time to debate that with you now.

Anyway, as long as a war lasts, it's treason for a commander to consider sparing the enemy at the expense of the life of a single soldier, or an ally, of his. Treason: now, I bet that's a novel concept for you to ponder upon.

You're one of the few who still think the war in 1945 was far from won, or its outcome far from decided.
I wonder on what you base your assumption.
Churchill already "congratulated" the Germans for losing the war in 1941, when they attacked Russia.
The war was far from clearly decided maybe until Kursk. But afterwards, the Russian superiority in material and people in the East was so crushing that the only thing that kept Germany from immediate defeat was the space/territory it had engulfed in the previous years and some fanatical defense/orders.
In the West the air superiority was categorical, not because the germans were not able to still down some bombers, but because the bombers could be easily replaced by intact US factories thousands of miles away from any damage, working at full speed. Meanwhile, the German factories were continuously bombed, the material eventually had to split between west, east and south, etc.
Saying that in 1945 the war was far from clearly won is strange. Very strange.
And its not hindsight. Politicians of all ages have REAL TIME info. What we read in documents WAS ALREADY READ at the time by the leading statesmen. They were better infromed than you imagine.
Not to mention the famous Lucy and other systems that made German communications open for monitoring...

So, after you get back on the site, I cant wait for you to tell how the war could have seemed to have a different outcome in 1945...

QUOTE
But it did end as it should have, and I'm in the comfortable position to laugh in my armchair at your "sensible", "compassionate" and "fair-play" suggestions to limit at some point or to even stop the strategic bombings (as soon as possible, of course) "because the war had been won anyway". It hadn't been won, but this is a different discussion altogether and I dont have the patience or the time to debate that with you now.


I'm glad you laugh in you armchair when talking about civilian slaughter and how it could have been avoided by adapting tactics to the 1945 context. I wonder if the generals at the time laughed in their armchairs too...

And also, if you dont have the patience and the time, why dont you reply when you do, and so do it with enough crushing data? Nothing personal, but just saying something and then, "sorry but I dont have time and patience to actually debate with you" is rather impolite.

take care

and I;ll wait your reply after your ban expires
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Curioso
Posted: March 29, 2005 03:58 pm
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Imperialist, I can't speak for Valachus, but I can tell you that a clear distinction should be made between what we know now and what the commanders knew at the time.
For instance, sure they had reports that Germany's forces were going down the drain. So what? The Western Allies had had such a report in late 1944 - and then had been surprised by the Ardennes offensive.
What about the wonder weapons? We know, today, what to think of them. You sure the Allied commanders had enough information not to worry about them?
You say the commanders read the documents we can read now. Sure. I, for one, do read both sides' documents. Something the decision-makers couldn't afford. Of course there was espionage. Unfortunately, since at least 50% of the output of espionage is unreliable, actual decision-makers are leery of any of that. Today, we look at the espionage reports that are reliable and say: "it was obvious" - because everyone forgot the unreliable pieces.

But this is the outer layer of the onion. Let's assume for a second that the Allied decision makers knew the war would end in May 1945, as it did.
What is your proposal? That they say "oh, we're going to win in a few months, let's skip a bombing or two?" For instance, we know that by not bombing Dresden, they would have let the Germans use its rail system to reinforce the front, and its industries to continue their military production output. In other words, they would have foregone a small but existent damage to the German war-waging capability. In other words, they would have in all likelihood _posticipated_ the V-E Day.
I know that some hot-headed people argue that the bombing of Dresden did not shorten the war. But in order to support the proposal above, one would need to prove that, on the basis of what the Allied commanders actually knew at the time, it was reasonable to assume that _not_ bombing Dresden would not have _prolonged_ the war. A tall order. Let's just say that for all the complaining and kicking, nobody ever managed to prove that and nobody ever will.

Finally, the core of the onion is: if the war was so clearly won, why didn't the Germans surrender? The Allies knew the enemy had not surrendered. That's enough to warrant the continuation of war. A war is fought until its end. I am sorry for the civilians; but the responsibility rests with their own government, that chose not to surrender.
Tens of thousands of Allied soldiers died in those last months of war. The Allied commanders thought about their own losses first, and, on the basis of the laws of war then in force, had no obligation to worry about German civilians unfortunate enough to have been left by their own government within legitimate military targets.
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Imperialist
Posted: March 29, 2005 05:26 pm
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QUOTE
Let's assume for a second that the Allied decision makers knew the war would end in May 1945, as it did.
What is your proposal? That they say "oh, we're going to win in a few months, let's skip a bombing or two?"


QUOTE
For instance, sure they had reports that Germany's forces were going down the drain. So what? The Western Allies had had such a report in late 1944 - and then had been surprised by the Ardennes offensive.


Having in mind the 2 quotes above, I try to reiterate my main points:

1. I'm not arguing with you on the importance of strategic bombings. I'm arguing about the over-reliance on strategic bombings to win a war, especially in a period when tactical superiority was backed by strategic one, and Germany's strategic assets were already hit hard enough and shrank.

2. Soldiers are trained to fight and yes, die. Obliterating enemy civilian centers in order to save your soldiers a hard fight with enemy soldiers, especially when you have tactical air and ground superiority, and when strategically you have already won the war, is kind of... not worth defending. We can understand it, but I dont think we have to defend it. We can also try to see whether it was really inevitable or it might have been replaced by other strategies.

3. This attitude is very dangerous because it makes any localised conflict errupt into total war.
See the Korean War when MacArthur, faced with tactical difficulties (not the end of the world or the crushing of America, though) proposed bombing chinese cities with nuclear weapons.
If that were to happen, I'd hate to see people defending that decision by over-emphasizing a tactical recoverable mishap. (The Ardennes Offensive was not a matter of defeat either)

4. I'm not saying the Allies knew the war would be over by... May 1945. Thats a silly assumption.
I'm saying it was obvious the war was going to end favourably for them.
Were they in a hurry? The war was laready raging for 6 years, a matter of months was now a big deal?

QUOTE
I know that some hot-headed people argue that the bombing of Dresden did not shorten the war.


No, thats speculative stuff. Time is not whats all about.

QUOTE
Finally, the core of the onion is: if the war was so clearly won, why didn't the Germans surrender? The Allies knew the enemy had not surrendered. That's enough to warrant the continuation of war.


Casablanca. Casablanca. Casablanca.
The Allies knew that the Germans were not going to surrender. The Allies also knew they were in the position to demand unconditional surrender.

QUOTE
The Allied commanders thought about their own losses first, and, on the basis of the laws of war then in force, had no obligation to worry about German civilians unfortunate enough to have been left by their own government within legitimate military targets.


Right. So the cities had to be evacuated and the people accomodated on nearby fields while the cities were pulverised... something is wrong in the picture.

But anyways, people that judge things like that in this age make me more and more reluctant to consider a nuke attack on a major US or other world city a crime.
Hell, its a legitimate target, and the government was silly enough to let the people live inside a military target. <_<


take care

p.s. maybe somebody else can factor in their views, because I think we'd go on and on with this without changing our basic opinions :)

This post has been edited by Imperialist on March 29, 2005 05:30 pm
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Curioso
Posted: March 30, 2005 07:49 am
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You are applying to WWII today's moral and ethical standards concerning the civilian casualties. Those standards, and the international laws we now have that try to enforce those standards, are pretty much a result of the moral revulsion over the nuclear bombs and the strategic bombing campaigns. In other words, you can't apply to WWII what is a result of WWII.

In WWII, the whole argument about soldiers being there to fight and die and the enemy civilian lives to be respected had not had the strength of international laws behind it and had not had the strength of accepted moral standards behind it. So an extremely good reason to hasten the end of the war was the monthly death toll of Allied soldiers.
Finally note that even if there actually were complaints, in the Allied camp, about the issue of civilian casualties in German cities, these could be easily hushed by the extremely obvious fact that the Germans had set the tune of city bombing.

Which brings us to the question of why the Allies waged an unrestricted warfare on an almost defeated enemy. Why did the Germans bomb and bombard with artillery Warsaw? Poland was almost defeated. Why did they bomb Rotterdam? Holland was almost defeated. The Germans set the pace of the closing stages of a campaign. Strangely, most of those who complain about attacks on cities, only look at the German cities. They forget that the Germans were pretty much satisfied with attacks on cities, as long as they were the attackers.

You say that the Germans couldn't evacuate the cities. Well, to a certain extent cities _could_ be evacuated, as the British demonstrated with London. Non-critical members of the population, especially children, could be moved to the countryside. The fact is that the German authorities did not evacuate the cities even to the level that it could have been possible to achieve. Initially they didn't do that for propaganda reasons. Later on, they decided to ignore civilian casualties.

Of course, the Germans had another way to spare their cities, especially once it was clear they were going to lose the war. You set a very high standard for the Allies, whom you demand should have behaved so-and-so because the war was clearly won. I have not read one word from you about the way the Germans should have behaved, once they knew the war was lost. They chose not to surrender, and to keep the cities as legitimate military targets. In other words, the responsibility for what happened to the German cities is the German government's.

Yes, I am aware you are not changing your opinion. If you prefer an opinion that runs contrary to the facts, the laws of war applicable at the time, and simple military logic, you are of course free to do that.
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Imperialist
Posted: March 30, 2005 09:12 am
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QUOTE
Yes, I am aware you are not changing your opinion. If you prefer an opinion that runs contrary to the facts, the laws of war applicable at the time, and simple military logic, you are of course free to do that.


Please, thats a cheap spin.


Last time I checked morality does not change with time, at least not in matter of decades. Killing a man is and was a serious matter, 60 or 6000 years ago. Now, 6,000 years ago, society and beliefs were so different that me judging some mass slaughter thousands of years ago from today's perspective might be utterly preposterous.
Yet, 60 years ago is not that far away. People that fought then are still alive today, the beliefs are still alive, we can comprehend and relate to the societies of the time.
So please, dont repeat over and over that we cannot judge those events from today's moral perspective.

My conclusion would be that both sides, Allies and Axis totally ignored morality during the war.
That seems to be your conclusion also, and this argument could end, but you react strangely when the Allies are accused of amoral/immoral acts during WWII. You try to find military justifications for them, and when I say those military justifications dont change the immorality of it all, you counter by saying we cannot judge WWII from today's moral point of view. (?)
Are you afraid that the Allies are too much criticised and the Germans too little?

I dont know where you got that from, but dont forget this topic is about Allied bombings, not the German ones. Talking here about the Allied bombings doesnt mean we're not aware of the German ones, so, I dont know what your final point is.
WWII is unjudgeable from today perspective but the Germans were the only immoral parties in that war, cause the Allies had military justification, or what...?

Please state your point short and clear, like I did in an above message.
Do you agree both sides endulged in amoral/immoral acts during WWII?

This post has been edited by Imperialist on March 30, 2005 09:14 am
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Curioso
Posted: March 30, 2005 10:40 am
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QUOTE (Imperialist @ Mar 30 2005, 09:12 AM)
Last time I checked morality does not change with time, at least not in matter of decades.

Does this mean you are claiming the Holocaust, the strategic bombing campaigns and the nuclear bombs did not mark a development in human ethics? Interesting point of view - which I don't subscribe to.
Yes, ethics and morals changed with WWII. It was not a war just like any other.

If ethics did not change, why do you think the nations felt like passing new international laws in 1949 and 1977? Wasn't it in order to reflect the new ethics?
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