. Obliteration Bombing, Civilian Casualties, and the Laws of War

George Anastaplo

in Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125336
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135243 | DOI:
. Obliteration Bombing, Civilian Casualties, and the Laws of War

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This chapter deals with the steady pounding that the by-then virtually undefended German cities were being subjected to by the American and British air forces. It notes that the civilian casualties from these air raids could not help but be substantial. It cites an article titled “The Morality of Obliteration Bombing”, published by John C. Ford, a New England Jesuit. It provides that Father Ford did not, in this article, speak as a pacifist as he was willing to consider the war against Nazi Germany a just war. It notes however, that Ford condemned as unlawful the systematic killing of noncombatants necessarily resulting from the air raids to which German cities were being subjected. It further notes that obliteration (or area) bombing was distinguishable for him from the precision bombing consistent with the long-accepted rules of war.

Keywords: civilian casualties; air raids; The Morality of Obliteration Bombing; John C. Ford; Nazi Germany; rules of war; obliteration bombing; precision bombing

Chapter.  3329 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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