Bombing innocents


I just saw this film and its sequel. Very moving and jarring.

At any rate, what I don't get is why did the US military purposely target Japanese civilians? Why not target the government and the military?

--
"House. My room. Can't walk. My medal. My father. Father, don't!"

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I know this is an old post, but I thought I'd answer it anyway:

The same could be said for Pearl Harbor. Dozens of innocents were there, military or not...the reason is because bombing a whole harbor or a whole island sends a message.

"Life is a movie. Write your own ending. Keep believing. Keep pretending"-Kermit

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WWII was pretty much targeting whatever could be from either side. Nazi Germany stormed Poland, France and constantly tried against Great Britain don't think they just eyed military targets and likewise Japan and America targeted populations of strategic importance. I recall one of the atomic bombing runs (don't recall if Nagasaki or Hiroshima) was picked due to one target being cloud covered. And back then bombs were entirely driven by gravity no smart bombs like today which can nail one precise target with little collateral damage. Bombers flew with several and just swept through targets dropping bombs to hit whatever they could hit. It's war for you people have to do terrible things.

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Pearl Harbor is not comparable to Hiroshima. It was a military target where approx 3000 servicemen were killed alongside 50+ civilians, many of whom were actually killed by dud American AA shells that fell on residential areas and not by the Japanese, who were far more interested in destroying ships and dockyard facilities than worrying about hospitals or whatever. While I personally don't really like the euphemism, if ever a case could be made for collateral damage, and certainly by the standards America has frequently applied for its conflicts past and present, that would be one of them.

Hiroshima was an attack on a major urban center that killed around 8000 soldiers as well as 100 000+ civilians, many of them children. Maybe it was justified, maybe it wasn't, but let's not pretend like it's even remotely in the same league as the attack on Pearl Harbor as an example of innocents being killed.

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Nobody is seriously comparing the damage from Hiroshima to the damage from Pearl Harbor, but it's asking the question WHY did the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor? They struck first, without provocation, they had to know there would be a retaliation, and their stupid government should've known when to give up and make it official and it probably would've spared hundreds of thousands of lives.

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The OP was asking why America targeted civilians and somebody responded saying "The same could said for Pearl Harbor" . . . except no it really couldn't, because Pearl Harbor was a military target where a relatively small number of civilians died as collateral damage (and most of them due to the Americans themselves), whereas Hiroshima was a major city that suffered massive casualties as a result of a bombing that hit it dead center with absolutely zero discrimination between innocents and combatants. Thus the comparison vis-a-vis civilians being targeted is nonsense.

Your point about why the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor and kick off a war with a major power that could totally wreck them is a completely separate issue. For the record I think it was a stupid and absolutely unjustified act, but at least in this instance it can be said that they directed their firepower towards a military target and military personnel first and foremost, as opposed to flattening a city and killing ~100 000 ordinary people just trying to go about their daily lives.

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Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima/Nagasaki is not a useful comparison. Far more relevant would be comparing Hiroshima/Nagasaki to what the Japanese did to civilians in China, Korea, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, etc.

Every major player involved in World War II committed at least some war crimes, even the Americans. But between the Nazi war criminals and their Japanese counterparts, it's pretty much a tossup about who was worst of all. I'll say "Nazis, but only by the slimmest of margins."

Also, the Japanese have the mitigating circumstance of never having been all that civilized a nation to begin with. With the benefit of hindsight, one could say that if Commodore Perry and the European trading powers had just left the Japanese alone in the 1850s, let the Tokugawa shogunate keep up its isolation policy, the world would have been a lot better off. Under the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent "shogunate of the Army" (in all but name,) Japan became less civilized than they had been under the Tokugawas.

"I don't deduce, I observe."

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Targeting civilians was the norm in WW2 ... it was total war. Keep in mind that that over 20,000,000 Chinese died at the hands of the Japanese prior to the Enola Gay. They were mostly civilians.

I think it's interesting that people ignore the fact that many more people died from nightly conventional bombing in other Japanese cities than they did from the 2 nucs at Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

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I think it's interesting that people ignore the fact that many more people died from nightly conventional bombing in other Japanese cities than they did from the 2 nucs at Hiroshima & Nagasaki.



Because they only have an attention span for what's big and flashy and nothing's bigger than the atom bombs, it's like the whole other rest of the war never existed, just Pearl Harbor gets bombed, so drop 2 atomic bombs in response.

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Or because you know, they're *beep* nuclear weapons which are still looming around today and we have nuclear power plants, both of which are much stronger than they were back in 1945 and people are still suffering from it, but whatever.

Also, what do you mean by "they"? Who is "they"? The topic is about the nuclear weapons and you're expecting people to NOT talk about it?

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The topic is about the nuclear weapons and you're expecting people to NOT talk about it?


It doesn't serve much purpose when you only cut out one piece of the puzzle that fits your agenda. Most people who talk about WWII don't acknowledge the whole picture anyway. Everybody loves to point out how evil Hitler was, few people ever acknowledge Mao Zedong who killed tens of millions more than Hitler and Stalin did combined. If you want to talk about nuclear weapons, fine, but don't pretend that there wasn't a whole bloody brutal war killing thousands every single day of every single year leading UP to that point.

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