In May , the Nazis invaded the Netherlands on their way to France. Easily overcoming Dutch defenders, the Germans still bombed the center of Rotterdam with explosive and fire bombs, killing tens of thousands. From fall through spring , Hitler's air force struck London and other English cities with terrifying night bombing raids. The bombing of London , the main target of German planes, cost the lives of 30, people.
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Driven from the continent, the British could only strike back by mounting their own bombing campaign against the Germans. But the lack of fighter-plane support made these raids risky, and bombs often missed their precise targets because of poor bombsights. In February , the British abandoned their "precision bombing" strategy.
For the rest of the war, the British concentrated on the systematic widespread destruction of German cities by RAF nighttime air raids, a strategy called "area bombing. The clearest demonstration of the destructiveness of British area bombing occurred in during three night raids on Hamburg, Germany. On the second night of bombing, something unexpected happened.
The fire bombs dropped by RAF bombers started thousands of fires. They merged to create a huge firestorm, sucking up oxygen and generating hurricane force winds. Many who did not burn to death were asphyxiated in underground bomb shelters. The firestorm killed more than 40, people in one night. It could maintain its longstanding policy of daytime precision bombing. The Americans believed that the most effective way to destroy the enemy's ability to continue the war was to strike specific targets like aircraft factories and oil refineries. Following German rocket attacks against London late in the war, almost RAF bombers bombed Dresden, a center of German art, architecture, and culture.
It had been untouched by previous Allied bombing raids. The attack's stated purpose was to disrupt German troop transports to the Russian front. But at least 35, civilians died, mainly by inhaling toxic gases created by the second major firestorm of the war. American bombers killed more civilians the next day when they had difficulty hitting their targets through all the smoke.
After Germany surrendered in May , America wanted to quickly end the war against Japan. As plans went ahead for a costly invasion of the Japanese islands, Major General Curtis LeMay took command of the bombing campaign against Japan, which had started in late Having studied British area-bombing tactics, LeMay decided to adopt them in a final effort to force the Japanese to surrender. Nearly bombers dropped 1, tons of fire bombs on the Japanese capital, destroying 16 square miles of the city. The resulting firestorm killed , people, more than died at Hiroshima or Nagasaki from atomic bombs a few months later.
Most of the victims were women, children, and old men. The B crew members put on oxygen masks to keep from vomiting at the smell of burning human flesh. LeMay's planes continued firebombing Tokyo and more than 60 other Japanese cities in the following months. He thought he could end the war quickly by destroying Japan's economy and crushing the morale of the Japanese people.
LeMay argued against using atomic bombs.
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He believed that his firebombing tactics would force Japan to surrender before American forces were scheduled to invade the homeland. On August 6, , one B dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, creating a firestorm that wiped out 70 percent of the city and killed 70, Japanese.badgedme.com/nuh-mobile-phone-number.php
Battle of Britain
The atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki three days later was somewhat less destructive due to the geographical features of the city. After some hesitation, Japan finally surrendered. The decision to use atomic weapons was fairly easy for American political and military leaders, given the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths already caused by the bombing of cities during the war.
The outrage about such killing at the beginning of the war had been numbed by the horror of "total war" and the desire to quickly bring it all to an end. The Allied area bombing of civilians played an important role in undermining the will of the German and Japanese people to continue the war. But unlike the predictions of military strategists before the war, this did not happen quickly. For a long time, the bombing of German and Japanese civilians only stiffened their resolve to fight on. They wanted to surrender only after their countries lay in ruins, hundreds of thousands had perished, and all hope of victory was lost.
The two nations engaged in a nuclear arms race. Each targeted the other's civilian population, aiming thermonuclear missiles at cities. The massive destructiveness of nuclear weapons made avoiding civilians impossible.
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It also made nuclear war unwinnable. The standoff between the two nuclear superpowers ended in , when the Soviet Union disbanded. Nuclear war had been avoided, but the threat remains that some nation might use them someday. Although no nuclear war has occurred since World War II, many limited, non-nuclear wars have taken place. America has engaged in wars in Korea , Vietnam , Iraq , and Kosovo. It has never again targeted civilians as it did during World War II, but many civilians have died in these wars.
Their deaths usually resulted from mistake, accident, or being too close to a military target. With advances in technology, weapons have grown more accurate. The "precision bombing" of World War II often missed their targets. Today's cruise missile usually hits its mark. But even with today's "smart bombs" and precise targeting, civilians still die.
The aftermath of World War II brought more attempts to protect civilians in war. The Geneva Convention of stated that civilian hospitals "may in no circumstances be the object of attack. General Assembly adopted several resolutions, which are not legally binding but do carry the weight of international opinion. A resolution declared that the "use of nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons" violates the "spirit, letter and aims of the United Nations. It ruled that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law.
History of the Spanish Civil War. International Law on the Bombing of Civilians. One way that international law is created is by nations signing treaties and charters that bind them to follow particular rules.
Aviation in World War I - Wikipedia
Throughout the 20th century, international conferences have attempted to write rules protecting civilians in time of war. AEG C. AEG D. Biplane Fighter Prototype Aircraft. AEG DJ. AEG Dr. Triplane Fighter Prototype Aircraft. AEG G. Tactical Medium Bomber Biplane Aircraft. Ground Attack Triplane Prototype Aircraft. AGO C. Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft. Albatros B. Biplane Reconnaissance Aircraft. Albatros C. Two-Seat Biplane Reconnaissance Aircraft. Albatros D.
Biplane Fighter Aircraft. Biplane Fighter. Albatros J.
Ground-Attack Aircraft. Aviatik B. Aviatik C. Aviatik D. Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Prototype. DFW C. DFW T. Biplane Fighter Prototype. Euler D. Biplane Fighting Scout Aircraft. Fokker C. Fokker D. Monoplane Fighter. Fokker Dr. I Dreidecker. Triplane Fighter Aircraft. Fokker E Eindecker.
Related German Bombers of WW1 in action
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