Could the bombing of Hiroshima be considered a war crime?

May 2017
1,153
Syria
#1
As far as I know, a war crime is essentially any act during wars/military conflicts that opposes the law of war; which includes (but not limited to) destroying civilian property, intentional killing of civilians and strategic bombing.

Now the bombing of Hiroshima was essentially destroying civilian property; intentional killing of civilians and strategic bombing. And worse; a nuclear bombing.

So why isn't intentionally using nuclear bombs on a country (that has been discussing terms of peace and was willing to surrender) considered a war crime? Why is the killing of more than 200,000 and the intentional destruction of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki not considered a war crime?
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,433
Stockport Cheshire UK
#2
While post-war the bombing of civilian targets has been made illegal, in WW2 it wasn't.
So while you may consider the use of nuclear weapons against these Japanese cities morally wrong, you cannot class them as war crimes
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,433
Stockport Cheshire UK
#3
So why isn't intentionally using nuclear bombs on a country (that has been discussing terms of peace and was willing to surrender) considered a war crime?
Because it wasn't against the rules of war.
While Japan may have been attempting to seek peace, it wasn't willing to accept the terms the Allies were offering them, and it's armed forces we're still attacking Allied soldiers and civilians wherever they could. There was no truce, the war was still going on. Therefore the Allies were fully entitled to attack these cities under the laws of war as they were at this time.
 
Last edited:
Likes: Decembrist
May 2017
1,153
Syria
#4
Because it wasn't against the rules of war.
While Japan may have been attempting to seek peace, it wasn't willing to accept the terms the Allies were offering them, and it's armed forces we're still attacking Allied soldiers and civilians wherever they could. There was no truce, the war was still going on. Therefore the Allies were fully entitled to attack these cities under the laws of war as they were at this time.
Thanks for clarifying that; I didn't exactly know how different the rules of war were in WW2 from now.
 
Feb 2016
3,972
Japan
#5
Hiroshima was the headquarters of the 2nd Army. If a ground invasion was still required 2nd Army we’re defending southern Japan.

Nagasaki was an important military port.

Not that getting nuked is pleasent..... but it’s better than a Nanking.
 
Jun 2017
2,380
Connecticut
#6
If the Axis had won the war(hypothetically that was impossible at that point, unless the Japanese were actually gifted magical powers) then yeah of course. Same with Soviets incredible war crimes and the US "strategic bombing". Are all of these war crimes by the intent if not the letter of the law at the time? Yes. In addition the only reason nukes wouldn't be a war crime on the books was because no one knew about them but chemical weapons the previous "superweapon" was so horrible that even the Nazi's had moral qualms about using them(in battle). Same with in general bombing of civilian targets, only reason it wasn't on the books as a war crime was because it hadn't been conceived yet (on anything close to that scale) when the rules were made.

The way the international order was set up after WWII was for the great powers to be exempt from the rules(if this wasn't the case, they wouldn't have been given a unilateral veto over the UN's enforcement mechanism) so none of this matters regardless, how are you going to try the people with all the power? All the people who committed these war crimes were acting on the orders of the people who'd have to sanction the trials etc etc and the atomic bombings were ordered by the President who was more powerful in 1945 then any human before or since arguably due to his 4 year monopoly on atomic weapons.
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,250
appalacian Mtns
#7
Hiroshima was a military target. If you choose too put military force in a city full of civilians you make your civilians targets.
 
Aug 2015
2,201
uk
#9
Hiroshima was a military target. If you choose too put military force in a city full of civilians you make your civilians targets.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki held little strategic use; if they had then why hadn't they been bombed earlier. The utter destruction of the towns military and civilian populations was another message that the US meant business when it came to doing whatever it took to bring the war to a conclusion.

Otherwise surely they would have nuked some of the islands tjat marines had had to clear out.
 
May 2017
1,153
Syria
#10
The utter destruction of the towns military and civilian populations was another message that the US meant business when it came to doing whatever it took to bring the war to a conclusion.
The thought that the entire purpose of the mass killing of quarter one million people was only so that the US can flex their muscles at a country that was discussing peace terms honestly sounds like a dark humor joke.

What's even worse is that less than a century later the US suddenly took the role of the humanist saint that overthrows war criminal regimes and brings peace to the world.
 

Similar History Discussions