IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH!! The Bulldog Manifesto Bombing Civilians: A Brief History and Perspective - The Bulldog Manifesto

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Bombing Civilians: A Brief History and Perspective

In 1937, Adolph Hitler's Luftwaffe indiscriminately bombed the Spanish town of Guernica, killing 1,650 civilians. The New York Times reported, "The object of the bombardment seemingly was demoralization of the civilian population....not a military objective." Soon after, America rightfully denounced the bombing as a "monstrous crime".

But this wasn't the first time anybody had bombed civilians. The French, Germans, and British had all partaken in limited civilian bombings in World War I -- killing thousands.

In 1925, France and Spain defeated a Berber uprising in Morocco by use of civilian bombings. American volunteers, under French command, bombed the city of Chechaouen, similar in size to Guernica. And from 1926 through 1928, the US Marines utilized civilian bombing to force regime change in Nicaragua. There was no public outcry within the United States for either of these actions. For some reason, these were not considered crimes.

But when Japan bombed civilians in Shanghai in 1932 and claimed thousands of lives, the New York Times reported that those bombings brought a "literal avalanche of denunciation" upon Japan (and rightfully so!) In fact, it is said that the Shanghai bombing caused Americans "to view the Japanese as 'butchers' and 'murderers'." And again in 1937, when Japan again bombed Shanghai, the bombing was viewed correctly by Americans as "an atrocity of the most appalling kind."

In 1938, as a result of all of these civilian massacres (and others), the League of Nations unanimously passed a resolution outlawing "the intentional bombing of civilian populations." In 1939, nearing the outbreak of World War II, FDR made a public plea that the warring parties refrain from the "inhuman barbarism" of bombing civilian populations, acts which "sicken[ed] the hearts of every civilized man and woman," and "profoundly shock[ed] the conscience of humanity." As a result, Hitler pledged he would limit his air force to attacking only military targets. And British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stated that "Britain will never resort to the deliberate attack on women and children and other civilians for the purpose of mere terrorism."

In 1940, however, the British War Cabinet approved plans for "indiscriminate" bombing of civilian German targets even before the Germans had ever bombed British civilians. But Hitler drew first blood with the bombing of British civilians in August of 1940. Then, in a series of back-and-forths, the Germans and British exchanged civilian bombings in the cities of Munich, Coventry, Mannheim, and London.

By July of 1941, Winston Churchill wrote, "There is one thing that will bring [Hitler] down, and that is an absolutely devastating exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland." (Emphasis Added.) Soon enough, the British exterminated 42,000 people in Hamburg.

It wasn't until 1945 that the United States broke its oath to refrain from the bombing of civilians. With the protest of General Doolittle who went so far as to claim that such a course of conduct would amount to "terrorism," America went ahead with civilian bombings in Berlin. Then Dresden (killing approximately 60,000 civilians). Meanwhile, in the Pacific theater of the war, the US military brass decided that precision bombing of Japanese military targets was having limited success. Thus, tactics were changed.

Between November of 1944 and August of 1945, 160,000 tons of ordinance was dropped on 64 Japanese cities. 83,000 were killed in Tokyo alone! The Japanese condemned the American bombings of civilians (and rightfully so!).

August 6 will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the United States' atomic bombing of Hiroshima. On August 6, 1945, 70,000 lives were taken in the blink of an eye-- almost all were civilians, including a score of American prisoners of war held captive there. Within a few days of the bombing, 90,000 were dead. And the final count is put at about 200,000.

On August 9, 1945, another atomic bomb was dropped, this time on Nagasaki. This second bomb killed about 75,000 people.

While we most certainly must assign guilt to the then-fascist governments of Germany, Italy, and Japan for the indiscriminate killings of civilians, we must also hold the United States and Great Britain accountable. After all, by the end of the war, more than 1 million German and Japanese civlians had been killed, and another 7 million Germans and 8 million Japanese had been bombed out of their homes. Of these victims, it is estimated that twenty percent were children.

Before the outbreak of WWII, America was morally justifiable in its condemnation of the Guernica terror bombings of Spanish civilians. Unfortunately however, within years the US itself had perfected the terror on a much grander scale. Therefore, while Americans rightfully object to the failure of the Japanese to apologize to China for its war crimes or to cite them in the historical record taught to Japanese schoolchildren, Americans should not gloss over their nation's own attendance to terror bombings in WWII (and beyond!).

In fact, the failure of our society to recognize these faults may have impaired our own moral vision to the point where we confuse our reckless interventions abroad as noble and morally righteous endevours. Perhaps many of our fellow citizens fail to pay sufficient attention to the fact that we too have exterminated hundreds of thousands of civilians, be they Japanese, German, Vietnamese, Panamanian, or Iraqi. How could we still be so outraged by civilian attacks when we participate in such attacks in places like Nagasaki, Fallujah, or My Lai? How could we still be so outraged by barbarism when we participate in it?

Civilians are civilians.

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War is cruel, and wouldn't it just be great if it was totally necessary?

Again good thoughts, mr. bulldog,

my fears reading all this and other "conspiracy scenario's" may not be so much of what they are trying to do, but like before WWII
a lot of this people manipulation was conceiled by non information and it is in a way understandable that people beleived their governments being ignorants ( in the litteral sense of not knowing).
But nowadays where so much (still not all!!) information is available people are not critical and simply beleive all that is said to them.
if us economy is ruled by weapons and oil, and it's government has so many PRIVATE interests, it looks to me as 1+1=2 that middle east invasions are merely for the oil.
and then.. a gun doesn't kill a man, only the person using it does. how can a sane person accept such crap? excuse my ignorance but is it thrue that in the united states of america a (wo)man has a right to cary a gun but has no right to medical care? the government let people die on the streets because of no work or no house? an example of christianity?
as long as the real problems are not adressed, we can blog untill we want but the only thing obtained is that we have said our opinion and therefor feel we have done something for world peace. how many of these conspiracy doubts have been questioned in your parliament?
I live in a country where the priminister owns media, both private and public, banks, insurance companies, construction comps., the govenment, and is trying to bring the justice under his power aswell. Tell a new lie every day and adapts law to his own convenience and when critisized says he has been misunderstood.
How can can people be awakened?

This was a useful and enlightening piece. Many thanks.

Whether it is justified or not, the allied bombing of Germany during the second world war, was a war winning move. The targeting systems of the day made bombing of industrial sites pointless, carpet bombing was the only method that showed results.
The amount of aluminium and other rare metals that had to be used to produce fuses for anti-aircraft shells and gun barrels would, if put to other military uses, have allowed the Nazi government to rebuild it's shattered luftwaffe and perfect it's guided missile and jet fighter programmes, perhaps allowing Hitler the opportunity to finish his final solution for the Jewish people. But that is by the by.
As for the bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I do genuinely feel for those who dies, but yet again it was a war winning move. US Army estimates for a successful Operation Olympic (The Japan Invasion plan) saw between 15-20 Million Japanese Civilian dead and 750k-1.5m Allied troop deaths, in part due to pre existing food shortages in Japan and in part due to the high liklihood that the Japanese, would as they had so far, refuse to surrender. Presifdent Truman took a tough decision, and probably made the right one, given the circumstances. And after seeing the effects took great care to prevent the regularisation of their use, removing MacArthur when he suggested that atom bombs should be used against China during the Korean War.
In the modern era there have been, thankfully, few examples of deliberate targeting of civilians for aerial bombardment. And as far as I know in the recent Gulf War, the Allied military made no attempt to engage in terror bombing, in fact the modern Western nations have moved away from the concept altogether, instead focusing on developing weapons which can be precisely targeted against the enemies military and hard targets, such as power stations and command and control. But you do have to realise that modern militaries do have the weapons to destroy entire cites and millions of people in moments, but it is interesting that no one alive today has ever authorised their use and I think that is because in a democracy the people will not accept deliberate genocidal acts unless they are involved in a war for survival.
When you consider that just under 100 years ago, the head of the British Royal Navy said that 'moderation in war is imbecility' I would say that we have come a long way. I may not agree with your angle, but I do agree with the direction of your article. Keep up the work and well done with the blog.

John H.

http://valisk.blogspot.com

So, I guess Roosevelt and Churchill are the moral equals of Hitler and Tojo?

The problem is, we continue to live under a few myths. One is that you can wage war without involving innocent bystanders, another is war can be fought with one's hands tied.

Long gone are the days when battle occured in neat lines and a drummerboys, fife players, flag bearers and officers on horseback were not considered targets.

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people..." to take up arms against another, to think that civilians will be left out is equally as delusional as expecting the enemy to live up to any agreements or treaties made beforehand.

Let's hope that someday, the only place war exists is in the myths about which the children laugh because "that never could have happened!"

It's better to be the bombers than the bombed. If terrorist only removed the heads of liberals I would not be concered. I can only hope that the enemies of the U.S. take away from you something your willing to fight and k___! for. Until then when I pass by you on 'BE' I will only pity you.

Robert Thomasan,

Your logic is flawed. Churchill and FDR do not have to be moral equals to Hitler and Tojo to be open to critique and analysis. My point was merely that we have partaken in the very same acts for which we now rightfully object, in fact we have done so on a grander scale.

And yes, our actions may have won us wars, but that in and of itself does not justify actions per se. If bombing civilians is an immoral act, it is immoral in every case, not merely in the cases that go against our national interest.

I leave you to freely choose what position you wish to take on this. If you believe immoral actions are justified if they provide success, then that is within your right. If you believe those actions are not even immoral simply because they were done under our flag, that is also your choice.

You do not have to weigh the moral conscience of the respective leaders in order to assess whether independent actions are, in and of themselves, moral.

Bobby Shattsboro,

You speak without any compassion. It sounds like you are now ready to cast liberals in with the terrorists as your enemy du jour. I can only wonder where your anger takes you next. I surmise it wouldn't be long, if you had your way, before you were seeing the evil in your own brother's eye.

Float on, my friend.

War is cruel. War results in death. Compared with wars of the past, modern warfare kills less innocent bystanders than in years past.

We keep a body count of people and soldiers killed in the Iraq war, just as we did in the Vietnam War. The numbers from the Iraq war are a lot less than the Vietnam War.

I don't know the solution to end warfare. People will always want to fight. There is something evil within mankind that compels some people to be predators.

Just as we need police officers, and prosecutors, and judges to enforce the peace within our country, we will always need to have a military force. When that military force is used, innocent people will likely be caught up in battles.

The one saving grace is that our military is likely to "wipe out" an area today than they were under the Johnson adminstration with its "free-fire zones" or under FDR in WWII.

Deliberate Chaos

I'm not that impressed with your article because all you typed in for Dresden was. "An then Dresden..."

It did not kill just 60,000 people. That was the estimate of the number of people registered as Dresden citizens. Dresden was once known to be a free city so there were millions of soldiers from four fronts who flocked there for safety. After the horrible bombing, there literally was nothing left.

necro angel,

You are right. I was rather brief in my report of Dresden, but I was also brief elsewhere. This blog entry was not an exhaustive look at civilian bombings, it was merely offered as a brief overview.

In truth, there is nothing I could write that could possibly portray the destruction of Dresden. Howard Zinn has written a lot about Dresden. I suggest anybody who wants to learn more about the Dreseden bombings look to his writing.

To Face Our Own Reflection in the Mirror of... Bikini Atoll:

Some of you may have already seen the movie, 'The Atomic Cafe'.
"http://www.docurama.com/
productdetail.html?
productid=NV-NVG-5560-NVG-9496"

The Bikini Atoll website
http://www.bikiniatoll.com/home.html

features a lot of historical facts, most of which are drawn from the book, 'For the Good of Mankind'.
"http://www.peacecorpswriters.org/
pages/2004/0401/401rvforgood.html"

The Bikini Atoll Nuclear Testing represents one of the most unexplainable events in history. After learning of this event and its history, one can hardly even begin to ask 'why?', for surely there is no good answer...

"As soon as the war ended, we located the one spot on earth that hadn't been touched by the war and blew it to hell." --Comedian Bob Hope commenting on Operation Crossroads

Awesome Awesome Site. You are blogrolled!

well written, and very important history that i think not enough people know. i am glad to see that someone is trying to help educate people about all of the autrocities committed by all of the countries (or atleast the world powers at present)

do the two of you know each other?

http://www.juancole.com/

anonymous--

Who are you referring to to? The "two of you"? Whom?

anonymous--

Who are you referring to to? The "two of you"? Whom?

I mean professor Juan Cole.
just as some one else who has something to say and seems to collect reliable information and sources, nothing else.
i didn't mean anything negative. on the contrairy, another critical mind sticking to facts.
and speaking out.

Nope. I've never even heard of Juan Cole until now.

It is a noble endeavor to bring light upon atrocities brought upon the innocents of the world by the powers that be, who ever they may be. It is, though, kind of like trying to bring down the Great Wall of China by urination, (if you know what I mean.) Unfortunately, for the most part people are sheep (as is evident thru out human history). We are led to war under guise of lofty idealism, but those whom cast the lots of war are generally self serving and are often driven my mechanisms that they neither see nor understand. War is the ultimate human predator. The more prey there is, the more predators will abound.
Here is a link for you to check out. A good introspect on civilian targets. (July 19 "The Smell of Fear")
http://beartotheright.blogspot.com/

Student Credit Cards uwaz.am tym (to) dostosowanie [url=http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/credit-cards/]cc[/url] *prussiate* na kto'rym witac' *Douglases* i Parazwroty Indii, w uczczeniu pamie;ci *exalted* zadanie student cards potem uroczys'cie *sequestrated*. urzeczenie *beplastering* *fern-shaded* *squealed* *soustenez* w obre;bie tamtych *press-agented* s'ciany, jednak, chory *wassails* te (te) *sac-de* odbicia, albo mys'li o *crevasse-like* finanse (finansowac'; finansowy) kredyt (udzielac' kredytu; kredytowy), i wyrabiam z.adnego *incense-party* o *swaging* do bramy.

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War is cruel, and wouldn't it just be great if it was totally necessary?

Again good thoughts, mr. bulldog,

my fears reading all this and other "conspiracy scenario's" may not be so much of what they are trying to do, but like before WWII
a lot of this people manipulation was conceiled by non information and it is in a way understandable that people beleived their governments being ignorants ( in the litteral sense of not knowing).
But nowadays where so much (still not all!!) information is available people are not critical and simply beleive all that is said to them.
if us economy is ruled by weapons and oil, and it's government has so many PRIVATE interests, it looks to me as 1+1=2 that middle east invasions are merely for the oil.
and then.. a gun doesn't kill a man, only the person using it does. how can a sane person accept such crap? excuse my ignorance but is it thrue that in the united states of america a (wo)man has a right to cary a gun but has no right to medical care? the government let people die on the streets because of no work or no house? an example of christianity?
as long as the real problems are not adressed, we can blog untill we want but the only thing obtained is that we have said our opinion and therefor feel we have done something for world peace. how many of these conspiracy doubts have been questioned in your parliament?
I live in a country where the priminister owns media, both private and public, banks, insurance companies, construction comps., the govenment, and is trying to bring the justice under his power aswell. Tell a new lie every day and adapts law to his own convenience and when critisized says he has been misunderstood.
How can can people be awakened?

This was a useful and enlightening piece. Many thanks.

Whether it is justified or not, the allied bombing of Germany during the second world war, was a war winning move. The targeting systems of the day made bombing of industrial sites pointless, carpet bombing was the only method that showed results.
The amount of aluminium and other rare metals that had to be used to produce fuses for anti-aircraft shells and gun barrels would, if put to other military uses, have allowed the Nazi government to rebuild it's shattered luftwaffe and perfect it's guided missile and jet fighter programmes, perhaps allowing Hitler the opportunity to finish his final solution for the Jewish people. But that is by the by.
As for the bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I do genuinely feel for those who dies, but yet again it was a war winning move. US Army estimates for a successful Operation Olympic (The Japan Invasion plan) saw between 15-20 Million Japanese Civilian dead and 750k-1.5m Allied troop deaths, in part due to pre existing food shortages in Japan and in part due to the high liklihood that the Japanese, would as they had so far, refuse to surrender. Presifdent Truman took a tough decision, and probably made the right one, given the circumstances. And after seeing the effects took great care to prevent the regularisation of their use, removing MacArthur when he suggested that atom bombs should be used against China during the Korean War.
In the modern era there have been, thankfully, few examples of deliberate targeting of civilians for aerial bombardment. And as far as I know in the recent Gulf War, the Allied military made no attempt to engage in terror bombing, in fact the modern Western nations have moved away from the concept altogether, instead focusing on developing weapons which can be precisely targeted against the enemies military and hard targets, such as power stations and command and control. But you do have to realise that modern militaries do have the weapons to destroy entire cites and millions of people in moments, but it is interesting that no one alive today has ever authorised their use and I think that is because in a democracy the people will not accept deliberate genocidal acts unless they are involved in a war for survival.
When you consider that just under 100 years ago, the head of the British Royal Navy said that 'moderation in war is imbecility' I would say that we have come a long way. I may not agree with your angle, but I do agree with the direction of your article. Keep up the work and well done with the blog.

John H.

http://valisk.blogspot.com

So, I guess Roosevelt and Churchill are the moral equals of Hitler and Tojo?

The problem is, we continue to live under a few myths. One is that you can wage war without involving innocent bystanders, another is war can be fought with one's hands tied.

Long gone are the days when battle occured in neat lines and a drummerboys, fife players, flag bearers and officers on horseback were not considered targets.

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people..." to take up arms against another, to think that civilians will be left out is equally as delusional as expecting the enemy to live up to any agreements or treaties made beforehand.

Let's hope that someday, the only place war exists is in the myths about which the children laugh because "that never could have happened!"

It's better to be the bombers than the bombed. If terrorist only removed the heads of liberals I would not be concered. I can only hope that the enemies of the U.S. take away from you something your willing to fight and k___! for. Until then when I pass by you on 'BE' I will only pity you.

Robert Thomasan,

Your logic is flawed. Churchill and FDR do not have to be moral equals to Hitler and Tojo to be open to critique and analysis. My point was merely that we have partaken in the very same acts for which we now rightfully object, in fact we have done so on a grander scale.

And yes, our actions may have won us wars, but that in and of itself does not justify actions per se. If bombing civilians is an immoral act, it is immoral in every case, not merely in the cases that go against our national interest.

I leave you to freely choose what position you wish to take on this. If you believe immoral actions are justified if they provide success, then that is within your right. If you believe those actions are not even immoral simply because they were done under our flag, that is also your choice.

You do not have to weigh the moral conscience of the respective leaders in order to assess whether independent actions are, in and of themselves, moral.

Bobby Shattsboro,

You speak without any compassion. It sounds like you are now ready to cast liberals in with the terrorists as your enemy du jour. I can only wonder where your anger takes you next. I surmise it wouldn't be long, if you had your way, before you were seeing the evil in your own brother's eye.

Float on, my friend.

War is cruel. War results in death. Compared with wars of the past, modern warfare kills less innocent bystanders than in years past.

We keep a body count of people and soldiers killed in the Iraq war, just as we did in the Vietnam War. The numbers from the Iraq war are a lot less than the Vietnam War.

I don't know the solution to end warfare. People will always want to fight. There is something evil within mankind that compels some people to be predators.

Just as we need police officers, and prosecutors, and judges to enforce the peace within our country, we will always need to have a military force. When that military force is used, innocent people will likely be caught up in battles.

The one saving grace is that our military is likely to "wipe out" an area today than they were under the Johnson adminstration with its "free-fire zones" or under FDR in WWII.

Deliberate Chaos

I'm not that impressed with your article because all you typed in for Dresden was. "An then Dresden..."

It did not kill just 60,000 people. That was the estimate of the number of people registered as Dresden citizens. Dresden was once known to be a free city so there were millions of soldiers from four fronts who flocked there for safety. After the horrible bombing, there literally was nothing left.

necro angel,

You are right. I was rather brief in my report of Dresden, but I was also brief elsewhere. This blog entry was not an exhaustive look at civilian bombings, it was merely offered as a brief overview.

In truth, there is nothing I could write that could possibly portray the destruction of Dresden. Howard Zinn has written a lot about Dresden. I suggest anybody who wants to learn more about the Dreseden bombings look to his writing.

To Face Our Own Reflection in the Mirror of... Bikini Atoll:

Some of you may have already seen the movie, 'The Atomic Cafe'.
"http://www.docurama.com/
productdetail.html?
productid=NV-NVG-5560-NVG-9496"

The Bikini Atoll website
http://www.bikiniatoll.com/home.html

features a lot of historical facts, most of which are drawn from the book, 'For the Good of Mankind'.
"http://www.peacecorpswriters.org/
pages/2004/0401/401rvforgood.html"

The Bikini Atoll Nuclear Testing represents one of the most unexplainable events in history. After learning of this event and its history, one can hardly even begin to ask 'why?', for surely there is no good answer...

"As soon as the war ended, we located the one spot on earth that hadn't been touched by the war and blew it to hell." --Comedian Bob Hope commenting on Operation Crossroads

Awesome Awesome Site. You are blogrolled!

well written, and very important history that i think not enough people know. i am glad to see that someone is trying to help educate people about all of the autrocities committed by all of the countries (or atleast the world powers at present)

do the two of you know each other?

http://www.juancole.com/

anonymous--

Who are you referring to to? The "two of you"? Whom?

anonymous--

Who are you referring to to? The "two of you"? Whom?

I mean professor Juan Cole.
just as some one else who has something to say and seems to collect reliable information and sources, nothing else.
i didn't mean anything negative. on the contrairy, another critical mind sticking to facts.
and speaking out.

Nope. I've never even heard of Juan Cole until now.

It is a noble endeavor to bring light upon atrocities brought upon the innocents of the world by the powers that be, who ever they may be. It is, though, kind of like trying to bring down the Great Wall of China by urination, (if you know what I mean.) Unfortunately, for the most part people are sheep (as is evident thru out human history). We are led to war under guise of lofty idealism, but those whom cast the lots of war are generally self serving and are often driven my mechanisms that they neither see nor understand. War is the ultimate human predator. The more prey there is, the more predators will abound.
Here is a link for you to check out. A good introspect on civilian targets. (July 19 "The Smell of Fear")
http://beartotheright.blogspot.com/

Student Credit Cards uwaz.am tym (to) dostosowanie [url=http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/credit-cards/]cc[/url] *prussiate* na kto'rym witac' *Douglases* i Parazwroty Indii, w uczczeniu pamie;ci *exalted* zadanie student cards potem uroczys'cie *sequestrated*. urzeczenie *beplastering* *fern-shaded* *squealed* *soustenez* w obre;bie tamtych *press-agented* s'ciany, jednak, chory *wassails* te (te) *sac-de* odbicia, albo mys'li o *crevasse-like* finanse (finansowac'; finansowy) kredyt (udzielac' kredytu; kredytowy), i wyrabiam z.adnego *incense-party* o *swaging* do bramy.

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