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The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945




"The Allies had first encountered the phenomenon of the firestorm when the British bombed the German city of Hamburg in August of 1943. The night raid ignited numerous fires that soon united into one uncontrollable mass of flame, so hot it generated its own self-sustaining, gale-force winds and literally sucked the oxygen out of the air, suffocating its victims. Lemay hoped to use this force to level the cities of Japan. Tokyo would be the first test.


"A successful incendiary raid required ideal weather that included dry air and significant wind. Weather reports predicted these conditions over Tokyo on the night of March 9-10, 1945. A force of 334 B-29s was unleashed - each plane stripped of ammunition for its machine guns to allow it to carry more fire-bombs. The lead attackers arrived over the city just after dark and were followed by a procession of death that lasted until dawn. The fires started by the initial raiders could be seen from 150 miles away. The results were devastating: almost 17 square miles of the city were reduced to ashes. Estimates of the number killed range between 80,000 and 200,000, a higher death toll than that produced by the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima or Nagasaki six months later."





Is it somehow nobler to burn civilians to death than to kill them with one big blast? Both sides in WWII commited war crimes.



p.s. I had a friend (now deceased) who was a radioman - waist gunner on a B17 flying over Europe. He said when they had started their training, an officer told them: "Don't think you're going to be heroes. You're going to be killing women and children." Such is modern warfare.

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So, would the bombing of Dresden, which killed more people than either atomic bomb, be considered a war crime by the U.S. and British governments? Or is turnabout fair play, since Hitler bombed London?


Bomber Harris is in my opinion as much a war criminal as the German and Japanese generals etc that were considered was criminal by law courts run by the victors.

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