Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History

Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History


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Bombing Civilians examines a crucial question: why did military planning in the early twentieth century shift its focus from bombing military targets to bombing civilians? From the British bombing of Iraq in the early 1920s to the most recent policies in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, Bombing Civilians analyzes in detail the history of indiscriminate bombing, examining the fundamental questions of how this theory justifying mass killing originated and why it was employed as a compelling military strategy for decades, both before and since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595585479
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 07/27/2010
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 799,664
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Marilyn B. Young is a professor of history at New York University. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow; is the author of numerous books, including The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990; and co-edited Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam (The New Press). Yuki Tanaka is Research Professor at Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University. Since the mid-1980s he has been concentrating his research on war crimes and is the author of several books, including Japan’s Comfort Women and Hidden Horrors.

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Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
This excellent collection studies British 'humane bombing' in Iraq and other parts of the empire, the Japanese, German, Us and British bombing campaigns in World War Two, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the USAF and RAF's lead role in bombing civilians from the 20th to the 21st centuries, and the bombings of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan (and now Libya). It finishes with two studies, ethical and legal, of bombing civilians. The RAF commander in Iraq in the 1920s said that bombing was 'undoubtedly humane in the long run' and that it was, 'beyond all argument, the most merciful course to take'. In those years, the RAF was also bombing Afghanistan, India, Yemen, Egypt and Somaliland. In an important essay, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa argues that the Soviet entry into World War Two was 'far more important' than the atomic bombing in Japan's decision to surrender. The commanding general of the US Army Air Force said that the strategic bomber was 'the most humane of all weapons'. US General Curtis LeMay boasted, "we burnt down every town in North Korea and South Korea, too." US and British forces killed possibly 3 million Korean people, mostly civilians. During the US attack on Vietnam, the USAAF dropped 8 million tons of bombs on Indochina (compared to 2 million it dropped in all theatres in World War Two); their explosive power equaled 640 Hiroshima-size bombs. They killed between 2 and 4 million Indochinese people, again mostly civilians.