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Tokyo marks 73rd anniversary of U.S. air raids in WWII

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I find it amazing that the Japanese did not quit even after the firebombing of wooden Tokyo.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Look up the story of lieutenant Onoda Hiro.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is there a reason why Tokyo was hit with "incendiary bombs" and Vietnam with "napalm"? The same stuff was used.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Is there a reason why Tokyo was hit with "incendiary bombs" and Vietnam with "napalm"? The same stuff was used.

Interesting question, and you are quite right, napalm was used on Tokyo. But don't worry so much over the vocabulary here on JT.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

war is hell, and you aren't going to win any by blowing kisses.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Fire bombing of a city of civilians in my opinion is a crime against humanity. There can be no justifications. Just like the fire bombing of Dresden ordered by Churchill. In Tokyo, 75,000–200,000 civilian deaths; roughly 1,000,000 displaced.

Tragic dreadful photo's remain as evidence.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

While I do not regard targeting civilians as proper or justified conduct during war. All nations involved that had the ability to hit enemy cities, did so. German firebombing of Coventry, Japanese sacking of nanking and as mentioned Dresden and Tokyo. War makes everyone a loser. However the conflict mentioned was started by Germany, Italy and Japan. While that in itself is no justification for what happend, it is a direct result of being at war. If those nations had not started the conflict, many millions of lives would have been spared on all sides.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

well said Peter14. So many forget the Allies were fighting despotic nations bent on world domination. They did what they had to do.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Fire bombing of a city of civilians in my opinion is a crime against humanity. There can be no justifications.

There are no cities without civilians and these cities are also home to numerous facilities that prop up the war machine. Tokyo in particular, was the seat of government in Japan. If we were not able to strike these locations, the war would have gone on much longer and more people would have died.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Is some decades this will stop being commemorated, and the notion of not making it repeat itself might be forgotten by the masses...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Never forget the evil that men do.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

WWII American leaders would have been tried in an international court of Law for crimes against humanity had they lost the war....

(Chill bucko, it’s Mc Namara speaking)

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Plenty of gung-ho 'its what happens during war' comments - darknuts, clamenza, Peter14. Shame on you, it should be a time for respect for the thousands who were killed and we don't want to hear your reasoning for the deaths. Whilst the Japanese were quite rightly convicted for many war crimes in Nanjing, Korea, Philippines and Japanese army officers were tried and executed, I wonder who was convicted for the war crimes committed at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, and Osaka? Answer = zero. How come the Japanese atrocities are not reasoned as 'its what happens during war'?

3 ( +11 / -8 )

And let's not forget that Japan's Supreme Court turned its back on the victims as well:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-firebombing/tokyo-firebombing-victims-sue-japan-idUST13538620070310

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/10/national/crime-legal/lawsuit-over-1945-tokyo-firebombing-terminated-by-supreme-court/

"The plaintiffs joined in order to preserve the memory of family members killed in the March 10 raid; to express their feeling of being ill-treated by the Japanese government; to make the government admit its “war responsibility” and role in the deaths of so many people in the air raids; to express their anger at Emperor Hirohito for honoring Curtis LeMay in recognition of his postwar involvement with assisting Japan’s Self-Defense Forces; and to call for the construction of an appropriate air raid memorial and charnel house for the remains of unidentified firebombing victims. A reason given by one plaintiff points to the heart of the matter in terms of the prevalent view among air raid survivors regarding the government’s willed ignorance about the raids: “I want the state to understand how much incredible suffering was experienced.”

https://apjjf.org/2011/9/3/Cary-Karacas/3474/article.html

Lest we forget.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Alfie Noakes, your point is a valid one. But are you deflecting from the main fact that thousands of civilians were killed due to firebombing by the Americans? I get the feeling that you are trying to pin the firebombing on the Japanese government of the time, as opposed to the Americans who actually dropped the bombs. Its the same as blaming the Chinese resistance for Japan's crimes at Nanjing.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Imperial Japan with its occupation of many Asian countries and the declaration of war were the causes for all victims of the Pacific War and the effects were tens of millions killed, with the Chinese having the highest numbers. The attack and bombing and eventual occupation of Japan was the effect of the country making the cause but nonetheless I still find firebombing and atomic bombing unacceptable.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

But are you deflecting from the main fact that thousands of civilians were killed due to firebombing by the Americans? I get the feeling that you are trying to pin the firebombing on the Japanese government of the time, as opposed to the Americans who actually dropped the bombs.

Not my intention at all, very far from it. I was attempting (badly, obviously) to point out that post war Japanese governments and the Supreme Court were as keen as the Americans to play down the Tokyo bombings because of lawsuits from their own people, the victims.

My home town was bombed by the Nazis during the war and I recall my mother telling me of her utter terror as a child, being dragged into the cupboard under the stairs, waiting for the planes to pass over. I have a lot of sympathy for innocent people who get bombed.....

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Thanks for your reply Alfie. I am also from a city that was bombed by the Nazis, maybe even the same city as yours. My Father was child during WWII and they had to have an air raid shelter near their home and also at his school. My Father and my Granddad told me the stories of the Nazi doodlebugs dropping on suburban London.

I just don't like the fact that this horrific firebombing of Tokyo and Osaka is often put down to 'the consequences of war'. It was a war crime by the Americans.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I get a bit tired of these anniversaries, there almost NEVER any context, it always seems these bombings came out of no where for no reasons.............A bit of context or no one will learn anything

TTDome,

Sorry, but Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Tokyo bombings & a WHOLE LOT MORE rest mostly at the feet of the J-govt & IJA of the time, THEY let all this go on, THEY should be taking the most part of the blame.

The death & destruction in SE Asia, Far East & JAPAN rests about 98% with Japan! Japan started the thing!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Sorry, but Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Tokyo bombings & a WHOLE LOT MORE rest mostly at the feet of the J-govt & IJA of the time, THEY let all this go on, THEY should be taking the most part of the blame.

The death & destruction in SE Asia, Far East & JAPAN rests about 98% with Japan! Japan started the thing!

Of the time. So, if we're going on an historical journey, we could lay the blame at the feet of Perry and the Americans for the forcing of Japan to modernise and catch up with the warlike nations...

4 ( +7 / -3 )

And Japan is still under US occupation and the US dominate and dictates to the globe. The Nazis are still being prosecuted or war crimes but the US sill gets off. Not only did the US use nuclear bombs against Japan, but phosphorus bombs against Japanese and the Vietnamese and Agent Orange against the Vietnamese. When will the US face the international court? Total hypocrites and warmongers.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

When will the US face the international court? Total hypocrites and warmongers.

When the varmints get enough strenghth, maybe they can consider hauling the lions off to court.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GW, of course the Imperial Army were responsible for horrific war crimes and it was they who started the whole rape and pillage of south east Asia. But it goes like this - if you are going to try the Imperial Japanese Army for their war crimes (and continue to bleat on about their crimes 75 years later), then surely you must do the same for the Americans who dropped 2 atomic bombs upon and firebombed civilian cities. Or are we saying that when the Japanese do it its called 'war crimes' but when the Americans do it its called 'in the name of war'? Yes the Japanese government refused to surrender but surely we're not going to blame them for the Americans firebombing Tokyo and Osaka?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@TigersTokyoDome

I have to assume you cant read properly. I stated I do "NOT CONDONE" targeting Civilians. I stated a few cases where this was done by both sides during the WWII conflict. Targeting military installations is fair game, civilians are NOT.

Please do not accuse me of "gung-ho" attitudes when you cant understand the content of my post.

"Shame on you" for trying to score cheap points in this conversation. The dead deserve better than you have offered.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If you haven't yet seen ghibli's "Grave of the Fireflies," do.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Peter14, cheap points are not my game. "The dead" as you like to describe them, deserve better than comments about "if the Japanese hadn't started it".

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Anyways. Nations do not start war. Their peoples do not start war.

It is the misguided, muddled, misinformed and sometimes downright mad lust for empire that kicks it off. From the so-called "leaders".

The people are dragged along with it, some often with their eyes wide open as to just what's going down but villified if they speak out.

So it ever was.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You REAP, what you sow.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

You REAP, what you sow.

If that's really true, then the US military should leave Japan, immediately.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Everyone bombed civilian targets in WWII, including Japan. That everyone did it is no excuse. It is still a war crime. A crime against humanity. Come August you will hear about the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. In the process civilians bombed by conventional weapons will be forgotten. A-bombs were only used twice in warfare. Conventional bombing of civilians has done far more damage and is happening as you read this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Fire bombing of a city of civilians in my opinion is a crime against humanity. There can be no justifications,

war is a crime against humanity, Hitlers extermination of 6 million Jews was a crime against humanity, millions of Asian civilians slaughter at the hands of the IJA was a crime against humanity. 60million people were slaughtered during WW2 , 40million of those civilians , this was a crime against humanity. Lets look at the whole picture when we talk about crimes against humanity. Best way to avoid these crimes is dont start wars unless your prepared to suffer the consequences

3 ( +4 / -1 )

War is hell. Still didn't stop IJA though. Japan needs to ask the question why it was waging a World War in support of Nazis, and include admonishment of it all during these horrible anniversaries, rather than just remembering their victimhood.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Is there a reason why Tokyo was hit with "incendiary bombs" and Vietnam with "napalm"? The same stuff was used.

Incendiary bombs use white phosphorus, which burns much hotter than the gelatinous gasoline used in napalm.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The bombs used on Tokyo were white phosphorous.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 I wonder who was convicted for the war crimes committed at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, and Osaka? Answer = zero.

Because they weren't war crimes. And I can promise you there would not have been an "International Court of Law" option offered by the likes of those who perpetrated the Holocaust, Bataan Death March, Unit 731 and Nanking.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Every side in the war committed war crimes that violated accepted international rules of war. The victor gets to decide who is prosecuted for them. Every side at times ignored the conventions.

In war there are only losers not winners.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

 I wonder who was convicted for the war crimes committed at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, and Osaka? Answer = zero.

Because they weren't war crimes. And I can promise you there would not have been an "International Court of Law" option offered by the likes of those who perpetrated the Holocaust, Bataan Death March, Unit 731 and Nanking.

You can argue about whether Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes - Hiroshima in particular had some justification as a military target, as anyone who's been to the Peace Museum knows. But there was no military/strategic justification for the bombings in Tokyo in 1945, it was terror bombing pure and simple, intended as such by Curtis LeMay and the US Government. And all those Japanese families, the kids, the mothers, the old people and other civilians who died as a result of those American bombings in Tokyo, Hiroshoma, Nagasaki, weren't actually the Japanese people who perpetrated the atrocities you refer to in China, Manchuria and elsewhere. The perpetrators of those crimes were all members of the JIA and/or the official Japanese occupying forces. War crimes tribunals tend to distinguish between those who did and didn't commit war crimes. Saturation incendiary bombing and atomic bombs don't tend to make the same discrimination.

Your average Japanese civilian didn't vote for the war. Japan wasn't a democracy. The average person had to go along with the ambitions of a fanatical, xenophobic military elite who gave them no choice but do so. When an armed force deliberately chooses to target civilians - and that was what LeMay and the US did, even rigging up mock wooden houses to test the efficiency of their phosphorus bombs to raze entire suburbs - they deserve to be judged for it, whatever the crimes of their opponents. And no matter who started, or won, the war.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

BigYen - so rather han bomb Japanese cities, how should the US have gone about winning the war?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I don't say the US shouldn't have bombed cities. I acknowledge there is a morally complex ongoing debate about the rights and wrongs of the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. And there's no arguing with the fact that those two nuclear bombs brought about a speedy end to the war, albeit at a huge cost to civilian life. Apart from that, what the US should have done in order to end the war, and to avoid post war criticism of its conduct, was to limit its conventional airstrikes to specifically targeted areas of military and strategic importance, and to the bombing of industrial areas, although most of these were already rubble by March 1945.

But the firebombings of Tokyo - which is what's under discussion here - weren't about industrial or military targets. They were deliberately intended to burn down residential suburbs and to terrorise civilians. That's not some wild assertion on my part - the motivations of the USAF and Lemay are on the historical record, and they do not meet any of the criteria (shortly thereafter enshrined by the Geneva Convention and endorsed by the US) of ethically acceptable methods of warfare. If the Japanese had committed bombing actions identical to these on American or other cities, there is no doubt they would have been considered war crimes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

 If the Japanese had committed bombing actions identical to these on American or other cities, there is no doubt they would have been considered war crimes. , if Japan had won they would executed dozens of US officials as well, and they most certainly would have firebombed US cities if they were in reach of the US mainland. victors of war dictates what is a crime and what isnt, way it has been , way it always will be.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Initially the US justified the bombing of civilian residential areas as means of breaking the Japanese will to resist. The justification was quickly changed to the idea that much war production was in small shops attached to homes. It is probable that someone figured out that the original justification was clearly a war crime.

The Strategic Bombing Survey done after the war basically concluded that the massive fire bombing of Tokyo and other cities had had virtually no impact on war material production.

General Curtis LeMay who commanded the bombing -

"Killing Japanese didn't bother me very much at that time... I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.... Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good soldier."

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Curtis_LeMay

2 ( +3 / -1 )

so rather han bomb Japanese cities, how should the US have gone about winning the war?

Ummm, to fight the Japanese military?

Intentional targeting of civilians is a war crime. After the war Japanese wartime leaders were tried for such crimes, quite deservedly. But LeMay and his likes were not better, the only difference is that they won the war, otherwise they also should have been tried. Why destruction of Nanking is a crime and destruction of Tokyo is not?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ummm, to fight the Japanese military?

Ummmm and what if their war production is in city centers? What if its 1945 and you're about to send a million people to their death in a long, bloody land assault? What if the real world doesn't play by the rules of a playbook?

Good lord, the sheer amount of naivité is staggering.

Why destruction of Nanking is a crime and destruction of Tokyo is not?

Read Iris Chang's "The Rape of Nanking" or simply Google it if you can't be bothered to read an entire book.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

what if their war production is in city centers?

Destruction of war production centers was one part of the strategic bombing concept, another part was the firebombing of civilian residential areas, to kill as much civilians as possible to break the Japanese will to resist.

Read Iris Chang's "The Rape of Nanking"

And? What is your point? To kill Chinese with bayonets is bad, to roast Japanese with firebombs is good?

Jeez, the sheer amount of duplicity is staggering.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

To kill Chinese with bayonets is bad?

Oh, is that the only thing that happened?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hundreds of thousands of people would still die, whether by air bombs or by ground assault - choose your poison

That's because Japan's greatest weapon wasn't its arms - it's its people. They'd have everybody go waves of futile suicide missions, even if just armed with a bamboo stick

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh, is that the only thing that happened?

No. And? Once again: what's your point with Nanking? Crime of Nanking justifies firebombing of Tokyo?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

 If those nations had not started the conflict, many millions of lives would have been spared on all sides.

US is good at making the other country start at all the US (about 300? ) wars.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Ummm, to fight the Japanese military?

What the............are you nuts!?! That was DONE prior to the Tokyo bombings in a place, perhaps you have heard of it, its called OKINAWA!!

Do you REALLY think more of THAT would have been good in Tokyo, unbelievable!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

hes a good unbiased documentary about the battle of Okinawa done by NHK, now scale this up about 10 fold and youd get an idea what it would have been like if America had to invade the main island, it would have been slaughter almost on the scale of the Soviets and Germany during the European side of the war.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWP_qhFnXoc

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Do you REALLY think more of THAT would have been good in Tokyo, unbelievable!

Unbeliavable is your inability to comprehend not very difficult text. Read my post one more time, may be eventually you'll understand what I mean.

That was DONE prior to the Tokyo bombings in a place, perhaps you have heard of it, its called OKINAWA!!

The battle of Okinawa took place in April - June 1945, a couple of months AFTER the the raid of March 10. And Tokyo had been bombed heavily before that.

Read some books on histrory. And learn some manners. You need both, badly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan would have never surrendered if Tokyo and other major cities were left functioning and intact.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I made an account to sort out these questions for you. Some users asked why Americans weren’t charged with war crimes for nuking and firebombing cities, and comparing that to atrocities committed by the Japanese such as the Nanking massacre.

The answer to your posed question is simple. Nobody was charged with the fire bombing of London, the destruction of Stalingrad or the annihilation of Calais.

War criminals are charged with the rape of defeated civilian populations [nanking], the use of forbidden weapons [mustard gas] and the massacre of occupied civilian populations.

At this period in history, has the United States drooped a 3rd bomb, killed all the Japanese male soldiers and rapes the Japanese women. The United States would have commited warcrimes in accordance to 1940 train of thought.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

zichiMar. 10  05:27 pm JST

Fire bombing of a city of civilians in my opinion is a crime against humanity. There can be no justifications. Just like the fire bombing of Dresden ordered by Churchill. In Tokyo, 75,000–200,000 civilian deaths; roughly 1,000,000 displaced.

So is decapitating Allied prisoners of war. Oh, and lets not forget the forced labour and starvation.

Japan is now a great country because they lost the war and they were forced to examine why they were the aggressors.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Asakaze

But LeMay and his likes were not better, the only difference is that they won the war,

No, LeMay's tactics were aimed at achieving a swift end to the war (and then peace). Japan's strategy was aimed at sustaining the war. Big difference.

@Zichi

Fire bombing of a city of civilians in my opinion is a crime against humanity. 

The Pacific War was a total war. Japan started it and set the standard, with its rampage through China, which made little distinction between military targets and civilians. How were the Allies to respond to that? With a limited war? Like Vietnam or Korea? That would have been a disaster. The Americans and British didn't ask for the war (the Japanese did), but the Allies were obliged to finish it in the only way feasible. Their strategy worked, and the entire world was better off for it.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

JeffLee

@zichi The Pacific War was a total war. Japan started it and set the standard, with its rampage through China,

In case you missed my previous comment above

Imperial Japan with its occupation of many Asian countries and the declaration of war were the causes for all victims of the Pacific War and the effects were tens of millions killed, with the Chinese having the highest numbers. 

Something about them taking the low road while we take the high road. While I agree Imperial Japan started the war which created the cause for the effect of the fire and atomic bombing I still remain in the believe its wrong to bomb civilians especially with fire bombing and atomic bombing and also in my opinion they would be a crime against humanity even if they weren't at the time.

The fire bombing of Dresden was wrong. The current bombing of civilians in Syria is wrong especially using banned chemical weapons. The agent orange and napalm used in Vietnam was a serious crime against humanity.

In the Second World War my home town of Liverpool was the second most bombed British city outside of London. Members of my own family and community were killed by the Nazi bombs but does not change my opinion about Dresden.

Because one side does great harm or wrong like the treatment of the POW's by the IJA does not justify us from treating their POW's in the same cruel ways.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@JeffLee

No, LeMay's tactics were aimed at achieving a swift end to the war (and then peace). Japan's strategy was aimed at sustaining the war. Big difference.

Let me carry on with your logic: Hitler was right with his Blitz (he aimed at achieving a swift end to the war and the British were just sustaining the war), the Japanese were right with Nanking (to win the war quickly, and the Chinese just were sustaining the war), ISIS were right to cut heads - to win quickly and let the Middle East to settle down under their rule. Right? Or something is wrong with your logic?

I think the aim should not justify the means. The Japanese committed crimes during the war and were punished for that. LeMay and others were not. The only big difference.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Asakaze

"Let me carry on with your logic: Hitler was right with his Blitz..." 

Nice "logic." LOL. Hitler's strategy was about elevating his master race, enslaving much of the rest of humanity, and exterminating several races of people. Poland from 1939-45 is proof of that.

The Allies' strategy was about establishing the prosperity, freedom and human rights we enjoy today. Take a look at postwar Japan and Germany, not to mention today's Taiwan, S. Korea, Malaysia, etc. In the summer of 1945, one very stubborn country stood in the way of this grand ambition: Japan. It HAD to be defeated, for the sake of humanity.

@Zichi

"I still remain in the believe its wrong to bomb civilians especially with fire bombing and atomic bombing. "

So what would you have done if you were Truman?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

JeffLee

@zichi So what would you have done if you were Truman?

Volumes have been written by historians and others showing the firebombing of the Japanese cities and the dropping of the atomic bombs didn't make the Japanese surrender but in fact it was the fear of Stalin invading Japan which is why they did.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/05/30/the-bomb-didnt-beat-japan-stalin-did/

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@JeffLee

one very stubborn country stood in the way of this grand ambition: Japan

I see your point: "we kill civilians for the good cause, they kill civilians for the bad cause". The only difference is the body count, otherwise no difference at all, methods are the same.

The Allies' strategy was about establishing the prosperity, freedom and human rights we enjoy today

Oh, please!! We talk history here, not election speeches!

The allies' strategy was: a) to destroy the present rivals - Germany and Japan, b) to contain the new rival - Soviet Union, c) to secure higher ground in the post-war economy sphere in order to better rob Asia and Africa of their resources.

The first thing France and Holland, freshly liberated from the Nazis, rushed to do was to brutally reconquer their lost colonies, Vietnam and Indonesia, with full support of US and UK (hello freedom and democracy). In Korea the military dictatorships in the South were no better then the Kim dictatorship in the North. Taiwan? Ask Taiwanese what do they think about Japan and its colonial rule, you'll be surprised.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Oh! how odd I find myself in agreement with Asakaze last comment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

BIGYEN - Yes the firebombing was done to terrorize the population but also there were many cottage industries in the cities residential areas that were working for the war effort.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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