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Just War Theory: WWII

Using the principles of just war theory to analyze the main combatants of WWII.

tim mcdonald

on 8 October 2013

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Transcript of Just War Theory: WWII

Just War Theory
Was the WAr 'Just' from the USA perspective?
Jus Ad Bellum
Just Cause
Legitimate Authority
Probability of Success
Last Resort
America: Yes
•Attacked by Japanese
•Allies had been attacked/invaded
•Germany committing War Crimes
Germany: no
•Did get a bad deal with the treaty of Versailles, bad economy
•Attacked people for the sole purpose of conquering them and forcing them to agree with their policies/beliefs
•Race hatred: wanted to exterminate all other races but their own; wanted to create a pure Aryan empire
America: yes
•Approved by the government which had been elected
•War was voted on by Congress (US politicians only 1 vote against-remember!)
•Popular idea with the people
Germany: yes
•Hitler was their elected leader, who got power in a fair election (popular vote)
•People in Germany, for the most part, did not rise up against him early on
America: yes
•Extermination/torture of millions of Jews or supporters of them
Hitler's armies were conquering as much as possible and would have attacked USA had they not been defeated
•Hitler was breaking treaties with USA and their allies; being the attacker and attacking peaceful nations
•Japan, Hitler’s ally, were attacking US and US colonies
Germany: no
•Values had to do with abusing others and the extermination of racial groups
•Went to war as aggressors rather than for defense purpose
America: yes
•To defeat the Nazi’s; never about conquering the land (gave back land after they defeated Nazi’s)
•To stop Japan’s attacks
Germany: no
•Intention was to create a racist empire and to gain more power for said empire
•Had no ideas of post-war reconciliation, simply wanted to conquer and destroy
• Very close; Germans had a huge army with growing power
• However, US had an advantage over the Japanese, had triple population of Germans and Japanese combined, and more resources and money
•High probability of success: huge armies, growing power, kept acquiring countries
•Germany putting all their force into war; USA mirrored their effort
•Japan demonstrated in their attack on Pearl Harbor that they were not above completely destroying areas that were undefended
• Started total wars against defenseless countries and completely obliterated smaller countries with tiny armies
•Tried to negotiate with Germany and
Japan up until
Japan attacked
•Made several efforts, such as treaties,
appeasements, ect. but to no avail
•They helped their allies by giving
them supplies before
they went to war with them
•Attacked first, and refused to heed negotiations/offers of peace
Jus in Bello
Right Intention
· America fire-bombed almost every city in Germany and Japan
· They specifically targeted civilian areas to pressure their governments into surrendering
· In cities like Essen and Dresden, they killed more civilians with fire-bombs then with both atomic weapons
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were targeted with atomic bombs which killed indiscriminately
· They also bombed cities, although they didn’t destroy as many civilian targets; mostly confined bombing to military targets
· However, when they were invading as an army, they would wipe out people and send them to extermination camps
· They exploited people they conquered and made them into slaves at their work camps
· Never tried to conquer or enslave the lands that they took
· Gave them back to their original owners
· They were fighting to conquer and destroy
· Never had intentions of good
· They were fighting on an equal level with Germany
· Imprisoned relatively few civilians, and just sent Japanese to war camps
· When fighting on the ground, US troops had good record of conduct.
· They attacked small nations with disproportionate force
· They treated conquered civilians, as well as their own people, very badly
Concentration camps were set up to exterminate all
The Nazis were terrible people
Latin for "right to wage war"
latin for 'actions during war' or
'conduct during warfare'
Was World War 2
A 'Just War' from
the perspective of
the USA?

70,000 instant death
70,000 more after 5 years
8:15am most populated time of the day
Civilian population
Full transcript