What historically-considered war atrocities do you think were justified?

Sep 2017
485
United States
#2
It depends on what you mean by "justified".

EDIT: To further clarify, Emperor Constantine burnt and destroyed many Germanic villages on his campaign. Innocent lives were slain and by most moral definitions it would be considered unjustified. However, it paralyzed Germanic invasions for many years afterward and stabilized the Roman frontier. So was it "justified"?
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,829
Sydney
#3
.
Burning German cities with mostly non combatants and quite a lot of war prisoners in it

Total war is not pretty
 
Feb 2016
3,956
Japan
#4
It’s hard to justify any “atrocity”. If it was justifiable it would not be considered an atrocity.

You’d probably have to accept the looting and pillaging of cities that refused to surrender. That was considered JUSTIFIED punishment for a city or garrison if they forced the attackers to attempt a storm.

Mercy Killings of injured combatants .... it’s considered an atrocity but is justified in some cases.

Atrocities that occur out of confusion and panic ...
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,379
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
#5
Atrocities ?-the problem is one man/woman's 'atrocity' is not regarded as such by other people.
I do not regard the bombing of Dresden in 1945 as being an atrocity for the same reason s author Frederick Taylor in his book about Dresden in 1945.Taylor showed that all that stuff about Dresden being a harmless cultural town-a Nazi propaganda myth inspired by Goebbels (who-from the grave- still cons many 21st century revisionist suckers )
Taylor pointed out and listed over 200 Nazi war industries being carried out in March 1945 in Dresden making it a legitimate military industrial target.
On the other hand Doctor Josef Mengele's sewing two hunch backed victims together by their hunches to see if the would live was is an atrocity as they were afforded no choice or pain kilers .(Once he established that they could live he had the two victims gassed)
Babi Yar in 1941, the ravine near Kiev where Nazi Einsatzgruppen shot thousands iof Jewish men , women and children was an atrocity.
S.S. Doctor Rasch using Soviet Pows in barbaric freezing experiments in Dachau was an atrocity.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,876
Spain
#6
Dresde was a crime of War.. as the German bombed in Rotterdam or Coventry or Warzsawa...the same about Auchwitz, Katyn etc etc etc...

Everybody in WW2 commited Crimes of Wars...of course.. Soviet, British and american war criminals were not judged... because they won the War... and what´s justice, crimen or not depend only (and only) about who won.
If Germany would have won the war.. for sure the British-American-Russian war criminals would have been judged (as Bomber Harry) but not the German ones!!! (Not SS, not Japanese etc etc)...

What´s a crime or not.. it is only decide for the winner. Lenin was not a criminal because he is a winner and he decides what is crime and what not.. the same with the allied war criminals.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,432
Stockport Cheshire UK
#7
Dresden was a crime of War.. as the German bombed in Rotterdam or Coventry or Warzsawa.
Crimes of war, or war crimes are acts which break the existing rules of war, none of those bombings did.
An atrocity is something which is considered an extremely wicked or cruel act, but not necessarily a war crime.
So while you cannot justify calling these bombings war crimes, you can state that in your personal view that these were atrocities.
 
Likes: Congo
Jun 2017
2,372
Connecticut
#8
If the means justify the ends, it's justified, if they aren't it's not. By that I want to be clear by ends I mean purely preserving human life, not whatever bs people want to insert into "ends". Are you saving more life than you are destroying, especially your own people's lives? This is a high bar to meet and it is not often that slaughter is needed to save even more people's lives. I always tend to think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the textbook examples. The Japanese people looked like they might end up fighting to the death if that was what their emperor desired(it wasn't but we didn't know that) and after the ferocious and bloody Japanese defense of the last few(pretty tiny) Pacific islands, and having seen what was possible in the USSR when a population were truly willing to fight to death(we are clearly not the Nazi's but I'm talking about from the Japanese perspective), I think any means necessary to prevent that sort of loss of life should be taken. You can talk about the winners writing history all you want(and I think for example the UK bombings of Taranto and especially Mers-El Kebir are ignored for this reason while Pearl Harbor will always be famous as a Day of Infamy while Jackson adjourns the 20 dollar bill after committing a campaign against the Natives for "living space" very similar to Hitler's extermination project in the East) but for the Nazi's slaughter was an end to itself to clear land and there is a distinction between atrocities done with good and bad intentions.

The bombings of Germany is a more grey area(due to the less obvious correlation between the bombing and surrender) and I am biased because my grandparents suffered as a result. At my thesis presentation one of my fellow presenters did a presentation on how the bombing campaign was crucial to the Allied victory and my mother almost started a riot. I do think the presentation was good though I forget the evidence. My main devils advocate position though is that the atomic bombings were done to induce surrender, in this situation surrender was not going to happen and the USSR was going to run end up running into Germany regardless. Not bombing Dresden and other cities doesn't change that the Germans just didn't have the manpower to defend themselves, and while the atomic bombings were done to prevent total war and millions of deaths, the Dresden bombing came after that had already happened in the East, there was no threat of the German people fighting to the death.
 
Likes: bboomer

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,876
Spain
#9
Crimes of war, or war crimes are acts which break the existing rules of war, none of those bombings did.
An atrocity is something which is considered an extremely wicked or cruel act, but not necessarily a war crime.
So while you cannot justify calling these bombings war crimes, you can state that in your personal view that these were atrocities.

The bombed of cities were Crimes of War according with the Article 25, Chapter I, 2nd Convention, Den Haag, July, 29th 1899.

Article 25

The attack or bombardment of towns, villages, habitations or buildings which are not defended, is prohibited.

Dresde was a Crime of War... as Conventry, Rotterdam, Warszawa or Nagasaki or Hiroshima.

As the German, French, Russian, Japanese etc etc repression on Civil Population (and Yugoslavian, Croatian, Hungarian etc etc).
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,213
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#10
I wouldn't really justify any, be it killing civilians, POWs, hostages, destroying cultural heritage or unnecessarrily destroying a settlement, deporting whole populations etc. Often the reasoning behind them is very shallow, be it racism, hate, retaliation or just spite.

The only case I can think of that I feel is somewhat justified is US paras not taking prisoners in the night directly before D-Day. I'm strongly opposed to killing prisoners but I can see why they did it. Of course I wouldn't be happy if I was on the surrendering end at the time ...
 

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