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Dresden 1945

  1. Feb 13, 2005 #1
    So..what do you think about bombing of Dresden in 1945, was it justified or was that a war crime ?
     
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  3. Feb 13, 2005 #2

    PerennialII

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    A plain war crime, it'll be interesting if someone will twist even this the other way around.
     
  4. Feb 13, 2005 #3

    russ_watters

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    Well, here's something you may consider a twist: consider the context of WWII.


    spender, the way your question is worded, its actually pretty complex, and a multi-part question, with one part being a question of history:
    Simply put, no, it was not a war crime. This is simply historical fact. In 1945, that's how wars were fought, all sides agreed on that, and all sides did similar acts.

    Today, such actions are considered wrong, if not specifically war crimes (I'm not sure what, specifically, the Geneva conventions say about it).
    Bombing civilian populaces was justified by those who did it (everyone) as being designed to break the will to fight of the nation being bombed. In a world war, the economy is a combatant, and the national will to fight is essential to the war effort. As a practical matter, carpet-bombing of cities did little to break the "will to fight" - the one exception to that is the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan.
    Practically, it didn't work, morally it is wrong (and people should have accepted that at the time), and it should not have been done.
     
  5. Feb 13, 2005 #4

    dextercioby

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    There's no difference between the bombing of Dresden and Tokyo.Killing civilians is a war crime...

    Daniel.
     
  6. Feb 13, 2005 #5

    PerennialII

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    I can appreciate the context, however, we're able to apply moral reasoning on historical events even though they were a practical matter and a way to do things at the time (I'd formulate it rather seeing all sides committing war crimes than saying there was an "agreement" of sorts, total war as a concept is one big war crime). And war crimes are a tough matter where such argumentation is applied, making the division between moral - criminal vague at best. I see this opening up quite a can of worms if no general construct is applied to evaluate legality or morality.
     
  7. Feb 13, 2005 #6

    selfAdjoint

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    Originally in WWII only the Axis attacked civilians, and there was a debate in the UK over "reciprocal brutality", justified or not? After the brutal bombing of Coventry, the debate was over and the RAF began to bomb civilian targets. When the US came into the war our air generals were followers of Douhet's theory of total war; Disney even made a movie to sell the concept to the public: Victory through Air Power it was called; I remember it well. So as soon as our B-29s could reach the Japanese homeland we attacked Tokyo. The Firestorm technique discovered at Dresden worked very well in the heavily flammable domestic architecture of Japan and single raids were soon killing civilians in the hundreds of thousands. Interestingly I don't believe the Japanese government of the time ever protested this; of course they had their own history with attacking civilians (Nanking, anybody?). When the A-bomb came along it was an improvement in efficiency but not an increase in death rate. One plane could now do the same as a hundred plane raid could, but not more.
     
  8. Feb 13, 2005 #7

    russ_watters

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    But that is, in fact, the point of the Geneva Conventions.
     
  9. Feb 14, 2005 #8
    the savage & highly gratuitous destruction of dresden is/was not a war crime because the allies did more of it than the germans. (not that i agree with it) although dresden did produce some military stuff it was hardly a military/industrial powerhouse. dresden really had only cultural significance and no meaningful military/industrial value. obviously there was no need to raze 29 square kilometres of the centre of the city, drop 100s of tons of napalm, so much that the water in the river boiled & civilians were sucked up in the air by updrafts & either suffocated to death or were incinerated alive. i was extremely embarrassed & horrified to read a thing in a local paper that a couple was celebrating it, saying that we "had to" do it to get this freedom we've got now.

    edit: let's not forget that the US air force went back on valentine's day & dropped ~155000 more bombes on what was left of the city.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2005
  10. Feb 14, 2005 #9

    dextercioby

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    What's that supposed to mean...? :bugeye: :mad: It certainly was a war crime.Period.And if the Germans would have eventually won the war,the US+UK leaders would have been executed for warcrimes,and not the other way around.
    Period.

    Daniel.
     
  11. Feb 14, 2005 #10
    it's supposed to mean that the people who win determine what a war crime is. the germans could have shown that the allies did much more bombing of urban concentrations, so that didn't count as a war crime. (not that I think it's right). at the tokyo trial, the only independent asian justice (an indian named radhabinod pal) used the existing international law when he said that the only crime in the pacific that compared with the nazi holocaust was the dropping of the 2 atom bombs. that didn't happen at nuremburg; the allies made things up as they went along. there was a german submarine commander (gernetz or something) who was on trial for attacking civilian ships & got off because he said that the allies did just as much of that as the germans did. i think he even used admiral nimitz as a defence witness.

    also, that the tokyo trial, the japanese prime minister also asked why anything he did was worse than the dropping of the 2 atom bombs. the proceedings stopped & his comment was stricken from the record.

    so the criteria for a war crime is made up by the people who win. that's why savagely razing 29 square kilometres of an 800-year-old city with primarily cultural value (rather than military/industrial) isn't a war crime.
     
  12. Feb 14, 2005 #11

    dextercioby

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    I do not agree.This is not about history and its subjectivity,it's about what's good and what's not...

    Daniel.
     
  13. Feb 14, 2005 #12

    PerennialII

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    I don't think the question is whether it is factually written in the books as a war crime (perhaps some day when enough time has passed) ... no contest or question there (by definition), but whether we can try to perceive history objectively.
     
  14. Feb 14, 2005 #13

    dextercioby

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    I think the winners (of wars) will never include MORALITY in their writing of history:"Sure,we nuked the Japs,because it was the only way to end the horrible war"...Digusting...

    Daniel.

    P.S."If they didn't get it after us having killed 100.000 of them in Tokyo,it's their fault"...Disgusting...
    P.P.S.The sadistical one:"Let's bomb Dresden"."Why?"."Because we're gonna hand East Germany to the Soviets"...
     
  15. Feb 14, 2005 #14

    Integral

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    Coventry---Call
     
  16. Feb 14, 2005 #15

    dextercioby

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    Kay,Integral,retaliation still doesn't justify war crimes/genocide/civilian massacre...*emoticon removed*

    Yet the Americans did most of the bombing,not the Brits.*cannot help himself:rolleyes:*

    Daniel.

    P.S.How fortunate of you all to have been on the winning side,when it mattered the most...:rolleyes:
     
  17. Feb 14, 2005 #16

    Integral

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    To look back at history and call "war crime" is really pretty useless. Virtually every decision maker of that era is dead. This is history, there were atrocities aplenty on all sides.. It was war..

    If you want war crimes why stop at WWII? Just look at what the European setters of this Continent did to the native population. There is not a trace of their culture left, and many tribes have disappeared completely. Where do you stop if you are going to call war crimes on the events of history? Virtually every nation has some skeletons in the closet somewhere in their history.

    I cannot see where it is worth anybodies time to worry about such things. Would you not be better off studying the events with an eye for ways to prevent the atrocities from reoccurring?
     
  18. Feb 14, 2005 #17

    PerennialII

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    I don't see any point in stopping ... why an earth should we hide any skeletons but put them in historical context and acknowledge them ... for the very same purpose of trying to learn from these atrocities and desperately try to prevent future ones.
     
  19. Feb 14, 2005 #18

    Integral

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    There is a difference between studying for historical context and pointing fingers. The question which started this thread seems to be looking for someone to blame rather then historical context. I cannot see any point it that approach.
     
  20. Feb 14, 2005 #19
    "All is fair in love and war"

    "War is hell"

    Still two of the truest statments ever muttered by a human.

    The objective of war, once begun, no matter by whom, is to win.
    By fair means or foul.
    If I am willing to let the enemy defeat me because I am unwilling to perform an action (on the battlefield) that could be called a "war crime", then I be the stupid one sonny Jim because there is no guarantee the other guy will think the same if he has the upper hand.
    I agree with whoever it was that mentioned that the definition of a "war crime" then, was not how we define one today.
    Those who still think we must fight according to the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury are fooling themselves.
    The civilians of a country at war, more so if that country was the instigator of the conflict and a so called "democracy", are as much to blame as their armies of tin soldiers, for electing or supporting this type of government.
    Having said that, I still believe in the importance of the Geneva Convention. Not only is it the best agreeement we have at the moment, it is the only agreement we have that is still broadly respected. But the methods that the US and British have used on Arab prisoners is dispicable. Once they are captured, they must then be afforded the rights of the Convention. The purpose of POW camps is to stop them reentering the battlefield, not to humiliate them like animals. Even as an atheist, I believe that the average Muslim is far closer to his or her god than many so called Christians.
    But the bottom line is, if you fight, you fight to win. The rules go out the door.
    If I were ever to be accosted by someone determined to hurt or steal from me, I will spare no quarter, I will go straight for the testicles, hair and eyes.
    Would I shed a tear as he lies on the ground shouting "unfair!!" as his testicles drip blood from my hand and his vision is bloodied from my gouging??
    No way Jose or Hose B.
    So, there it be from me, for what it is worth.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2005
  21. Feb 14, 2005 #20

    PerennialII

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    What you're saying sounds very reasonable to me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2005
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