Nuremburg and Strategic Bombing

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Andy H
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Nuremburg and Strategic Bombing

Post by Andy H » 06 May 2002 15:36

Article 6B of the charter states that war crimes are:

"Violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of the civillain population of or in occupied territories, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by militray necessity."

Over the brief time I have been posting on this forum there seems to be a body of people who view the allied bombing of Germany as a war crime. Yet no Luftwaffe officer was ever convicted under this article even though we have the German bombing of London, Rotterdam, Warsaw, Coventry and many others for example. That's because it wasn't a crime.

Then we have persons arguing that the A-Bombs were immoral and that they were a warcrime. Yet they convinently forget (More than likely don't even know) that on March 3rd 1945 the USAAF bombed Tokyo. The result, 16sq miles had been devastated, some 250,000 houses destroyed, a million made homeless, oh and finally some 87,792 killed plus 40,918 injured. That single raid didn't end the war despite the large numbers involved, but the two A-Bomb raids did.

Which is more immoral, to use a weapon that shortned the war or not to use it at all but continue, with in this instance conventional bombing.

:| Andy from the Shire

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 06 May 2002 16:34

Over the brief time I have been posting on this forum there seems to be a body of people who view the allied bombing of Germany as a war crime. Yet no Luftwaffe officer was ever convicted under this article even though we have the German bombing of London, Rotterdam, Warsaw, Coventry and many others for example. That's because it wasn't a crime.


Or because the Allies were conscious that they had committed such crimes themselves and feared that the defense might raise the question
what the difference between the Luftwaffe bombings and the bombings of Hamburg and Dresden by the RAF was supposed to have been.

The same logic was applied in regard to unrestricted submarine warfare:

In view of all the facts proved and in particular of an order of the British Admiralty announced on the 8th May, 1940, according to which all vessels should be sunk at sight in the Skagerrak, and the answers to interrogatories by Admiral Nimitz stating that unrestricted submarine warfare was carried on in the Pacific Ocean by the United States from the first day that nation entered the war, the sentence of Doenitz is not assessed on the ground of his breaches of the international law of submarine warfare.


Source of quote:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/juddoeni.htm

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Post by Pumpkin » 06 May 2002 17:43

Cheshire Yeomanry wrote:Which is more immoral, to use a weapon that shortned the war or not to use it at all but continue, with in this instance conventional bombing.

To follow the convention you quoted: neither!

Military and important economic targets should've been bombed, conventionally or nuclear doesn't matter much. "Dehousing" is a serious crime against humanity, be it done by conventional or nuclear bombs (or hand held torches!)

Didn't Churchill start the bombings against civilians during battle of Britain? He is often celebrated for this in media, since it supposedly led Hitler to retaliate against London instead of focusing on destroying RAF.

Also, the amount of bombs is astronomically disproportionate. Did the allies drop 100 times more bombs over Germany than the other way around? It was of genocidal proportions...

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Actually..

Post by Richard Murphy » 06 May 2002 19:06

Figures from "The Times Atlas of the Second World War";
Tonnage dropped by Luftwaffe on UK
1940; 36,844
1941; 21,848
1942; 3,260
1943; 2,298

RAF on Germany
1940; 13,033
1941; 31,704
1942; 45,561
1943; 157,457

USAF on Germany
1942; 1,561
1943; 44,185

Just thought I'd toss in some figures (Particularly noting the figures for 1940.)

Regards from the Park,

Rich

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Post by Andy H » 06 May 2002 20:13

Pumpkin

The proportion isn't an answer, it's the intent. Yes the allies decided to destroy both Germany on a military, economic and morale front level. The Germans would have liked to have able to do this but due to the lack of suitable bomber aircraft they couldn't. The intent was there just not the means to deliver it.

:D Andy from the Shire

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Post by Ovidius » 06 May 2002 20:21

Cheshire Yeomanry wrote:The Germans would have liked to have able to do this but due to the lack of suitable bomber aircraft they couldn't. The intent was there just not the means to deliver it.


They had both the carrying vector(V1 "Buzz Bomb" and V2 rocket) and the weapon that forgives nothing: nerve gas. A large-scale nerve gas attack was - and still is - going to be far more merciless than a nuclear attack, since the nuclear explosion is localized, while the gas is moved back and forth by the wind. This was actually the reason for not using the nerve gas on Britain: the next storm could have brought the poisonous cloud back to Germany, or to the German-occupied coast(Netherlands, France etc).

~Ovidius

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Re: Nuremburg and Strategic Bombing

Post by AndyW » 07 May 2002 19:19

Cheshire Yeomanry wrote:Over the brief time I have been posting on this forum there seems to be a body of people who view the allied bombing of Germany as a war crime. Yet no Luftwaffe officer was ever convicted under this article even though we have the German bombing of London, Rotterdam, Warsaw, Coventry and many others for example. That's because it wasn't a crime.



Count me those body of people. But I consider ANY deliberate military campaign with the mean target to kill civilians ("destroying the morale") as a war crime, not only the Allied bombing campaign on Germany.

And of course the Allies didn't try the Luftwaffe officials for their terror bombing out of the obvious reason that Tedder, Spaatz, Harris etc. would have take a seat next to Goering and his Luftwaffe bunch.

Do you really believe for a second that if the Allies would have -hypothetically - completely restrained from terror bombing they wouldn't have tried those Luftwaffe Officers ordering the raids on London, Moskow, Warsaw, Coventry, etc. pp?

Cheers,

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At the time this wan't an issue

Post by Narvik » 08 May 2002 22:18

There is a certain quantity of futility in the practice of using today's scales to measure yesterday's "crimes". It suffices to say that back in the day terror bombing was considered legitimate warfare by all parties. Why then should anyone be critical of the use of the ABs on Japan or the bombing of London? Incidentally, were German anti-partisan campaigns also considered war-crimes? Would the western allies have instituted the same measures if they had faced fierce resistance in Germany?

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Ovidus

Post by Tarpon27 » 08 May 2002 22:50

Ovidus wrote:

They had both the carrying vector(V1 "Buzz Bomb" and V2 rocket) and the weapon that forgives nothing: nerve gas. A large-scale nerve gas attack was - and still is - going to be far more merciless than a nuclear attack, since the nuclear explosion is localized, while the gas is moved back and forth by the wind. This was actually the reason for not using the nerve gas on Britain: the next storm could have brought the poisonous cloud back to Germany, or to the German-occupied coast(Netherlands, France etc).

~Ovidius


I think the main reason for not using gas on England was not fear of the cloud; chemical warfare weapons are not the force multipliers they are often assumed to be. Do you think nerve gas dropped on London would not disperse before it could blow back to the occupied French coast?

I imagine the real reason such agents were not used was the very real fear that if used first, retaliation in like kind would be swift and sure. The origins of MAD, if I may.

Mark

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Roberto
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Re: At the time this wan't an issue

Post by Roberto » 09 May 2002 18:56

Narvik wrote:There is a certain quantity of futility in the practice of using today's scales to measure yesterday's "crimes". It suffices to say that back in the day terror bombing was considered legitimate warfare by all parties. Why then should anyone be critical of the use of the ABs on Japan or the bombing of London? Incidentally, were German anti-partisan campaigns also considered war-crimes? Would the western allies have instituted the same measures if they had faced fierce resistance in Germany?


Due to the wildly disproportionate extent of German “anti-partisan” measures, especially in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, I’d say that these measures qualify as war crimes, whether or not they were considered as such at Nuremberg.

Have a look at the thread

Major Anti-Partisan Operations in Belorussia
http://thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/viewt ... 4e6e937a2c

and judge for yourself.

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Re: At the time this wan't an issue

Post by Ovidius » 09 May 2002 20:21

Roberto wrote:Due to the wildly disproportionate extent of German “anti-partisan” measures, especially in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, I’d say that these measures qualify as war crimes, whether or not they were considered as such at Nuremberg.


I've had enough of this. Tens of times, again and again and again, how "disproportionate" the German reaction was, and how heinous and criminal were their anti-partisan actions. Our dear friend Roberto seems to believe(alongside others) that the Germans, after a partisan attack, simply took all the civilians in the are and shot them indiscriminately. 8O

What exactly were they supposed to do when confronted with bandits who shoot and hide?

~Ovidius

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Re: At the time this wan't an issue

Post by Roberto » 09 May 2002 20:34

Ovidius wrote:
Roberto wrote:Due to the wildly disproportionate extent of German “anti-partisan” measures, especially in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, I’d say that these measures qualify as war crimes, whether or not they were considered as such at Nuremberg.


I've had enough of this. Tens of times, again and again and again, how "disproportionate" the German reaction was, and how heinous and criminal were their anti-partisan actions. Our dear friend Roberto seems to believe(alongside others) that the Germans, after a partisan attack, simply took all the civilians in the are and shot them indiscriminately.


After a partisan attack – such were Keitel’s instructions – and during the “anti-partisan” operations, the results of the largest of which in Belorussia are listed in Christian Streit’s Kalkulierte Morde:

Codename; Period; Area; Number of Dead Partisans/Civilians; Number of Captured Firearms; Number of Dead in German Formations

1942

Bamberg; 26.03 - 06.04; Glusk, Bobruisk; 4,396; 47; 7

?; 09.05 - 12.05; Klitshev, Bobruisk; 520; 3; 10

?; Beginning of June; Slovodka, Bobruisk; 1,000; ?; ?

?; 15.06; Borki; 1,741; 7; 0

?; 21.06; Zbyshin; 1,076; ?; ?

?; 25.06; Timkovtshi; 900; ?;?

?; 26.06; Studenka; 836; ?;?

?; 18.07; Yelsk; 1,000; ?; ?

Adler; 15.07-07.08; Bobruisk, Mogilev, Beresino; 1,381; 438; 25

Greif; 14.08-20.08; Orsha, Vitebsk; 796; ?; 26

Sumpffieber; 22.08-21.09; White Ruthenia; 10,063; ?; ?

?; 22.09-26.09; Malorita; 4,038; 0; 0

Blitz; 23.09-03.10; Polozk, Vitebsk; 567; ?; 8

Karlsbad; 11.10-23.10; Orsha, Vitebsk; 1,051; 178; 24

Nürnberg; 23.11-29.11; Dubrovka; 2,974; ?; 6

Hamburg; 10.12-21.12; Neman-Shtshara; 6,172; 28; 7

Altona; 22.12-29.12; Slonim; 1,032; ?; 0

1943

Franz; 06.01-14.01; Grodsyanka; 2,025; 280; 19

Peter; 10.01-11.01; Klitshev, Kolbtsha; 1,400; ?; ?

?; 18.01-23.01; Sluzk,Minsk, Tsherven; 825; 141; 0

Waldwinter; until 01.02; Sirotino-Trudy; 1,627; 159; 20

Erntefest I; until 28.01; Tsherven, Ossipovitshi; 1,228; 163; 7

Erntefest II; until 09.02; Sluzk, Kopyl; 2,325; 314; 6

Hornung; 08.02-26.02; Lenin, Hansevitshi; 12,897; 133; 29

Schneehase; 28.01-15.02; Polozk, Rossony, Krasnopolye; 2,283; 54; 37

Winterzauber; 15.02 - end of March; Osveja, Latvian border; 3,904; ?; 30

Kugelblitz; 22.02-08.03; Polozk, Osweja, Drissa, Rossony; 3,780; 583; 117

Nixe; until 19.03; Ptitsh-Mikashevitshi, Pinsk; 400; ?; ?

Föhn; until 21.03; Pinsk; 543; ?; 12

Donnerkeil; 21.03-02.04; Polozk, Vitebsk; 542; 91; 5

Draufgänger II; 01.05-09.05; Rudnya and Manyly forest; 680; 110; 0

Maigewitter; 17.05-21.05; Vitebsk, Surash, Gorodok; 2,441; 143; ?

Cottbus; 20.05-23.06; Lepel, Begomel, Ushatshi; 11,796; 1,057; 128

Weichsel; 27.05-10.06; Dniepr-Pripiet Triangle southwest of Gomel; 4,018; 1,570; 28

Ziethen; 13.06-16.06; Retshitza; 160; ?; 5

Seydlitz; 25.06-27.07; Ovrutsh-Mosyr; 5,106; 528; 34

?; 30.07; Mosyr; 501; ?; ?

Günther; until 14.07; Voloshin, Lagoisk; 3,993; ?; 11

Hermann; 13.07-11-08; Ivje, Novogrodek, Wolishin, Stolbzy; 4,280; 986; 52

Fritz; 24.09-10.10; Glebokie; 509; 46; 12

?; 09.10 - 22.10; Stary Bychov; 1,769; 302; 64

Heinrich; 01.11-18.11; Rossony, Polozk, Idritza; 5,452; 476; 358

?; December; Spaskoye; 628; ?;?

?; December; Beloye; 1,453; ?; ?

Otto; 20.12-01.01.1944; Osveja; 1,920; 30; 21

1944

?; 14.01; Ala; 1,758; ?; ?

?; 22.01; Baiki; 987; ?; ?

Wolfsjagd; 03.02-15.02; Glusk, Bobruisk; 467; ?; 6

Sumpfhahn; until 19.02; Glusk, Bobruisk; 538; ?; 6

?; Beginning of March; Beresino, Belnytshi; 686; ?; ?

Auerhahn; 07.04-17.04; Bobruisk; 1,000; ?; ?

Frühlingsfest; 17.04-12.05; Polozk, Ushatshi; 7,011; 1,065; 300

Pfingstausflug; June; Senno; 653; ?; ?

Windwirbel; June; Chidra; 560; 103; 3

Pfingsrose; 02.06-13.06; Talka; 499; ?; ?

Kormoran; 25.05-17.06; Vileika, Borissov, Minsk; 7,697; 325; 110


Total I:
139,884 partisans/civilians killed

Total II:
100,070 partisans/civilians killed, 9,360 firearms captured

Total III:
112,603 partisans/civilians killed, 1,533 dead in German and auxiliary formations

In the above listed major anti-partisan actions in Belorussia between 1942 and 1944, at least 139,884 partisans and civilians were killed. The list is a transcription / translation of the one in Gerlach’s a.m. book, which is based on the contemporary German records that the author could get hold of. The number of dead was probably even higher, given that Gerlach’s list also includes the “prisoners” who, according to Gerlach, were mostly executed. These figures I have left out for simplification reasons.

The “Total II” of the above list gives the number of partisan / civilian dead in such operations for which the total of apprehended firearms of all types (rifles, pistols, machine guns, occasionally also heavy weapons) could be established. It shows that the number of dead was more than ten times higher than the number of apprehended firearms, which suggests that 90 % of those killed were not partisans but unarmed civilians.

The “Total II” of the above list gives the number of partisan / civilian dead in such operations for which the number of dead in the German and auxiliary formations could be established. It shows that in these operations 112,603 “partisans” but only 1,533 members of anti-partisan formations were killed – a ratio of 73 to 1 - , which is another indication of how few of those killed by the German formations were actually partisans.

The major actions listed above were not those that accounted for the greatest number of victims. On the contrary, most of those killed in anti-partisan warfare in Belorussia between 1941 and 1944 fell victim to countless smaller operations, as demonstrated by Gerlach in his a.m. book.

For the whole of Belorussia and the period between July 1941 and July 1944, Gerlach established a total of 345,000 victims of rural anti-partisan operations among the population. 14,000 of these were Jews. Partisan losses, according to Soviet sources quoted by Gerlach, were 26,000 plus 11,800 missing most of whom, according to Gerlach, must be considered as dead. These data confirm the assumptions that result from comparing the number of dead “partisans” in the major actions on the one hand with the number of apprehended firearms and the German losses on the other: 9 in every 10 people killed by German anti-partisan units were not partisans, but unarmed civilians (Gerlach, as above, pages 957/958).

Beside the victims of anti-partisan operations, according to Gerlach, the German occupiers killed on the territory of Belorussia about 700,000 prisoners of war, 500,000 to 550,000 Jews and 100,000 others, mainly Communist functionaries, members of the Polish intelligentsia as well as urban resistance fighters and their supporters – altogether between 1.6 million and 1.7 million people.

What exactly were they supposed to do when confronted with bandits who shoot and hide?


Treat the population like human beings, and implement effective passive security instead of roaming the countryside burning down villages and killing everyone in sight. Read the passages from Matthew Cooper’s The Phantom War in my post of Thu May 02, 2002 7:54 pm on the thread

Major Anti-Partisan Operations in Belorussia
http://thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/viewt ... 1c6d538c1c

I would actually recommend the whole book and will be glad to send you a copy if you’re interested.

Come on, Ovi, I just praised your honesty. Please don’t spoil the picture.

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Post by Andy H » 11 May 2002 18:23

Hi Roberto

Hadn't the Germans re-opened primary schools for Russian children along with specialised schools in both medicine & agriculture during 1943 in the central sector of the eastern front. To little to late.

:D Andy from the Shire

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Post by Caldric » 13 May 2002 05:42

I think the largest problem with this issue is people tend to think legal and moral on this subject are the same thing. According to international law and the law of war, it was completely legal to bomb cities, and since there was nothing against weapon's of mass destruction the use of the Atomic bomb was also allowed.

People deem something a crime on moral basis, when in fact the law allowed bombing. It was not a crime, this does not mean we should not take a serious look at the use of strategic bombing in warfare and make it a crime, but the fact remains it was not in WWII. Every major combatant bombed cities at one time or another, it was a natural part of the war.

I think the bombing was justified on many levels, but horrid and brutal on others, but the entire war was brutal. Dresden was a nightmare, Nagasaki, Stalingrad, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, Leningrad, Hamburg, add your own, it was a nightmare for any to live through and it hurts the heart to think of, but in the end it is not a crime. But then all war is a crime on a higher order, there is little difference from a Panzer shelling a building or artillery laying siege on a city, then a bomber raining bombs down from 30'000 feet. They all destroy and kill.

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Post by Jim » 14 May 2002 11:31

I can't bring myself to approve of civilian bombing. It's not 'war' by my standards. I can't really see such attacks as a natural part of the war effort to be honest. To me they seem unnecessary and absurdly cruel. I'm not in favour of arguments that suggest the Nazi bombing of Coventry etc. is an acceptable excuse for flattening Hamburg, Cologne and Dresden- if we lost 90,000 people to Nazi bombing throughout the war, but killed 80,000 in the Dresden raid over a far shorter period of time, the logic doesn't follow. I find it hard to condone any civilian bombing but that does seem to have been going over the top.

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