Was the Killing of Admiral Yamamoto a war crime?

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David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 31 Jan 2004 02:19

Panzermahn -- In another thread, you said:
Also, another interesting violation of international law by the western allies is this at pacific theater

The assassination of Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto at Rabaul, 1943..The Americans knew earlier from "Magic" which flight was Yamamoto was in but decided to launch an ambush against the prohibition of Hague Convention and Geneva Convention.
What international law was violated by the killing of Admiral Yamamoto?

Panzermahn
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Post by Panzermahn » 31 Jan 2004 02:31

Admiral Yamamoto was a military leader as well as if i'm not mistaken a had some political positions on the Tojo military government,

the americans knew the Yammoto will be going where according to the Magic decrypts yet still launch and ambush on the admiral's bomber..

so wouldn't this makes it a premeditated attack on a military leader?

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Post by David Thompson » 31 Jan 2004 02:32

Panzermahn -- What law forbids it?

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Post by Panzermahn » 31 Jan 2004 02:38

If i'm not mistaken, it would be either Hague or Geneva convention..

Ian Colvin's Hitler Secret Enemy (Pan Books 1958) mentioned that the Abwehr under Wilhelm Canaris wrote a memorandum FORBIDDING THE ASSASSINATION OF MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT LEADERS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW. The MI6 had micro-films on it and the originals were kept at Washington.

But he didn't mentioned at specific international law

By the way, Abwehr's memorandum was not always followed by the Germans especially SD and Gestapo who also planned assassination attempts on military and government leaders of Britain and France

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Post by David Thompson » 31 Jan 2004 02:50

Panzermahn -- You said the killing was:
another interesting violation of international law by the western allies

To say a person or a country committed a "violation of international law," don't you think it is necessary to answer the question, "what international law was it?"

You thought that the killing of Admiral Yamamoto violated either the Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention, or both. The texts of those conventions can be found at:

Hague II - Laws and Customs of War on Land: 29 July 1899
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/hague02.htm

Hague IV - Laws and Customs of War on Land: 18 October 1907
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/hague04.htm

Convention Between the United States of America and Other Powers, Relating to Prisoners of War; July 27, 1929
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/geneva02.htm

The text of these treaties seemed very dry to me -- about like a quart of sawdust -- when I forced myself to read them for the first time, but they were also very informative.

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Post by R.M. Schultz » 31 Jan 2004 03:06

From a moral point of view. Admiral Yamamoto was a soldier and thus killing him in time of war was an act of war. I don't recall anyone saying that the killing of General Polk in the American Civil War was an assassination, even though the artillery crew that killed him knew full well who he was, while the killing of Lincoln, clearly a civilian, was deplored by the whole of the civilised world.

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Post by varjag » 31 Jan 2004 12:53

Warcrime....my a**, it was a very smart move by US cryptologists and the USAAF, brilliant in fact. If Commandoes or Rangers had taken out Hitler - it would have been brilliant, no warcrime.....nor if SS-maniacs had eliminated Churchill in 1940...there would've been no 2nd WW to debate.

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Post by Panzermahn » 01 Feb 2004 02:55

From a moral point of view. Admiral Yamamoto was a soldier and thus killing him in time of war was an act of war. I don't recall anyone saying that the killing of General Polk in the American Civil War was an assassination, even though the artillery crew that killed him knew full well who he was, while the killing of Lincoln, clearly a civilian, was deplored by the whole of the civilised world
The Army Air Corp knew in advance of Yamamoto's flight and it was debated by the American commanders whether this ambush would be a violation of international law..

As i said again, Yamamoto also had political position in the Japanese cabinet and not just an Admiral only

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Post by Dan » 01 Feb 2004 03:25

I've been trying all day to remember where I read it (perhaps Bergemoni sp?) but there is a school of thought that states that the Japanese offered him up to the US as an appeasement, hoping for a de-escallation of the war. There were evidently some things that make people wonder if our cryptographers were offered a sitting duck.

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Post by Tom Houlihan » 01 Feb 2004 03:25

I seem to recall a raid by British commandos against Rommel, with the intent of killing him. Was this wrong as well? Bottom line, Yamamoto and Rommel were both military men. As targets, they were just as viable as any private on the front line.

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Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 01 Feb 2004 11:33

Shooting of a soldier, regardless of rank, in warfare, is the purpose of warfare itself, unless the sides agree to Erich Maria Remarque's idea and replace wars with public sports events in which the political leaders of the respective countries would compete, like gladiators :lol: :P (not a bad idea after all).

From both a legal and a moral point of view it seems fair.
varjag wrote:If Commandoes or Rangers had taken out Hitler - it would have been brilliant, no warcrime.....nor if SS-maniacs had eliminated Churchill in 1940...there would've been no 2nd WW to debate.
When the British SAS were "brilliant" and German SS were "maniacs" for the same deed, it hardly seems a balanced view.

~The Witch-King of Angmar

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Post by varjag » 01 Feb 2004 11:54

Witch-King - I was trying to be PC - Hollywood style....always mindful of the distinction between Murderous U-boatmen and Gallant Submariners.
Rgds, Varjag

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Post by Penn44 » 01 Feb 2004 13:00

panzermahn wrote:
The Army Air Corp knew in advance of Yamamoto's flight and it was debated by the American commanders whether this ambush would be a violation of international law..

As i said again, Yamamoto also had political position in the Japanese cabinet and not just an Admiral only
Screw Yamamoto, he should have worn a parachute while onboard.


Penn44


.

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Post by Beppo Schmidt » 01 Feb 2004 16:17

I was trying to be PC - Hollywood style....always mindful of the distinction between Murderous U-boatmen and Gallant Submariners.
Yes on many history documentaries when Americans defend a position to the last man they are called heroic, while when Germans do the same they are called fanatical.

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 01 Feb 2004 18:48

David Thompson wrote:Panzermahn -- In another thread, you said:
Also, another interesting violation of international law by the western allies is this at pacific theater

The assassination of Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto at Rabaul, 1943..The Americans knew earlier from "Magic" which flight was Yamamoto was in but decided to launch an ambush against the prohibition of Hague Convention and Geneva Convention.
What international law was violated by the killing of Admiral Yamamoto?
No laws were violated at all , he was a uniform soldier inside a war-plane, part of a formation of war-planes not flying any sort of parley flag, or on a peace/parley mission or over neutral territory. The attack was carried out by American war-planes that were plainly marked as our planes over/in a recognized war-zone,

Laws against assassination of enemy leaders might apply if spies or units not wearing uniforms or not displaying flag of a belligerent were used, or shooting while under a parley or neutral flag.

I.E, using planes with Japanese insignias or sniping him on the ground with an undercover or illegally unifomed spy would have been a war-crime.

Yamato's death was a pure act of war , no different from shelling a head-quarters or shooting any enemy officer in battle by a uniformed belligerent.
Last edited by ChristopherPerrien on 01 Feb 2004 18:50, edited 1 time in total.

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