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laura hicks

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The Air War and Strategic Bombing
Military strategy used in a total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability and public will to wage war
Strategic bombers, long- or medium-range missiles, or nuclear-armed fighter-bomber aircraft
Targeting military forces, railways, harbors, cities (civilian areas), and industrial areas What is strategic bombing? The air force that could achieve command of the air by bombing the enemy air arm into extinction would doom its enemy to perpetual bombardment Command of the air meant victory
Air power was key to breaking the people’s will
Therefore, targeting was key
Transport infrastructure
the will of the people Aircraft could fly over surface forces, relegating them to secondary importance
The vastness of the sky made defense almost impossible
The essence of air power was the offensive.
The only defense was a good offense General Giulio Douhet
Italian general and air power theorist WWI vs. WWII London blitz 7 September 1940 - 21 May 1941
Operation Chastise 17 May 1943 – The Dambusters Examples of Strategic bombing Clausewitz: The enemy’s ‘centre of gravity’ key to compelling an opponent in conflict and bending him to your will.

Target the enemies civilian population which had the power to rise up against state and encourage it to seek peace. In 1911, Italy, at war with Libya used airplanes and airships mostly for reconnaissance.
Limited air power was used in WWI. Germans strategically bombed Britain on a small scale, but it was enough for Britain to build up its air defence ahead of the Second World War, knowing air power would be far more prolific.
The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) presented Hitler with an opportunity to test new military strategies. Bombing of Guernica and Madrid by German and Italian planes. Tactical air power use pre-WW2 July 27th 1943: 783 RAF and USAAF bombers raided Hamburg.
Operation timed after long period of dry weather.
High-explosive bombs dropped, followed by incendiary bombs (10,000 tons of bombs in total).
Feuersturm spread across the city within minutes of initial raid. Operation Gomorrah: Bombing of Hamburg, July 1943 Bouncing bomb designed by Barnes Wallis in 1942.
Used to compliment marine battles and attack dams and moored ships
Were very accurate and could skirt along surface of water avoiding underwater defences.
Destruction of dams stifled hydroelectric energy production.
Flooding often killed and displaced thousands of people including civilians and POWs.

Bombing of Möhne Dam, 16-17 July, 1943 The Dambusters and the Bouncing Bomb Inter-war airpower theory and World War II, Ross Hall, 2008, (http://www.e-ir.info/2011/06/28/inter-war-airpower-theory-and-world-war-ii/)
Command of the Air, Douhet (1921),
Air Power: An Introduction, Madingley Hall, 2001,(http://www.tgarden.demon.co.uk/writings/articles/2001/011126madingley.html)
On the Natural History of Destruction, W.G. Sebald (translated by Anthea Bell), Modern Library, 2004
http://www.laundrycottagebooks.co.uk/content/gallery Luis-Bibliography/References Attack on the ball bearing industry and aircraft factories beginning in the summer of 1943 served complementary purpose of attrition of German fighters and disrupting training (USSBS 1999: 15).

1944 oil campaign and assault against transportation respectively lowered the output of fuel and cut German supply lines (C. Webster & N. Frankland 2006: 379). Strategic Bombing as Indispensible Complement Obstacles to Effective Strategic Bombing Tactical use of airpower in WW2 is widely credited, whereas opinions split as to the contribution of strategic use (R. Pape 1996: 281).

Controversy centers on the ineffectiveness and inhumanity of strategic area bombing (D. Isaac 1986: 636-7). Assessing Tactical and Strategic Use of Airpower Strategic bombing was to put pressure on the German government. However, the bombing tighten the community and enhance the German public's trust in the Nazi government.
“Under those circumstances demoralization was widespread, though the terror state and the sheer struggle to survive prevented any prospect of serious domestic unrest”(Overy 1996: 103)
“The coercion of the government extended to all sorts of restrictions about changing or leaving one's job without permission, and applied with special vengeance to overt expression of feeling-let alone action-against the regime.”(Brodie 1959: 133)
“In Germany the depressed morale had no critical effects - at least until the very last months of the war, when all was lost anyway - on either the political structure or the capability of the German war economy to support the troops in the field” Political Contribution? “German transportation, including the extensive canal network as well as the railways, became a strategic target system in March 1944, although heavy attacks did not start until September 1944. As early as August 1944, the Germans could no longer supply coal to the steel plants of Lorraine and Luxembourg. By February 1945, the Ruhr was just about completely isolated. Such coal as was loaded was often confiscated by the railroads for locomotive fuel; even so, by March, locomotives were standing idle for lack of coal in districts where some traffic could otherwise have moved” (Brodie 1959: 113)
“After the attacks in February 1944, Saur decided that he could no longer delayed, and accordingly a major dispersal was ordered […] As Germany fell more and more into the grip of transportation crisis in the latter half of the year, the disadvantages of dispersal scheme became apparent” (Cox 1998: 108) Destruction of transport infrastructures “Fight against bombers absorbed one-third of all gun production”. (Overy 1944:103) “More important, the Germans in the last year of the war were devoting at least a third of their total war resources to air defence, resources which would otherwise have been available to their armies.”(Brodie 1959: 114)
“Two millions workers engaged in anti-aircraft defence, in clearing-up bombed cities and factories, in the rehabilitation programs, dispersal programs, etc.” (Overy 1944:102)
Workers unable to work while in shelters, in constant state of alarm, exhausted and nervous. 23% absenteeism on average among German workers in 1944.
Dehousing lead to an increasing need of consumer goods production. ‘“After the middle of 1943, the production of consumer goods could not have been cut to any significant extend, for the need to do so came just at a time when civilian requirements were increasing as a result of the destruction of houses, and as a result of the increasing destruction of stocks of civilian goods.” (Cox 1998:77) Diversion of resources German synthetic oil production reduced to only 5% of output by September 1944 (Overy 1944:102) “German oil-production facilities were recommended as a top-priority target on March 5, 1944. The full-scale attack started at the end of June and continued until March 1945. […] From an average of 662,000 tons per month, (the German oil production) went down to 422,000 tons in June, 260,000 tons in December, and 80,000 tons--or 12 per cent of the pre-attack level-in March 1945.”(Brodie 1959: 111)
The output of chemicals for explosives reduced by three-quarters in 1944. (Overy 1944:102) “As early as August 1944, Albert Speer was reporting to Hitler that the attacks on chemicals were threatening Germany's ability to carry on the war. Before V-E Day the Germans were filling their artillery shells with as much as 70 per cent inert rock salt.”(Brodie 1959: 112)
The output of synthetic rubber by 88% (Overy 1944:102) Direct impact Direct attack on specific industries: destruction of industrial plants (e.g. the Krupp works at the end of the war), etc.
Diversion of resources: labour, raw material, etc.
Destruction of transport infrastructures Economic impact Dresden, 1945 Economic and Political contribution of Strategic Bombing against Germany? “Father” of the RAF.
Destroy the enemy both morally and materially.
There is the need to attack the industrial centres where you :
(a) do military and vital damage by striking at the centres of war material (Strategic bombing)
(b) achieve the maximum effect on the morale (of the enemy) by striking at the most sensitive part of the German population - namely the working class.
Upsetting the proletariat and hence provoking them to revolt against their leaders was a widely held notion among the military circles of the time. Hugh Trenchard Distinction
Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of distinction. The acts of war should be directed towards enemy combatants, and not towards non - combatants caught in circumstances they did not create. The prohibited acts include bombing civilian residential areas that include no military targets and committing acts of terrorism or reprisal against civilians. Moreover, combatants are not permitted to target with violence enemy combatants who have surrendered or who have been captured or who are injured and not presenting an immediate lethal threat.
Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of proportionality. An attack cannot be launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality).
Military Necessity
Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of minimum force. An attack or action must be intended to help in the military defeat of the enemy, it must be an attack on a military objective, and the harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. This principle is meant to limit excessive and unnecessary death and destruction.
Fair treatment of Prisoners of War
Enemy soldiers who surrendered or who are captured no longer pose a threat. It is therefore wrong to torture them or otherwise mistreat them.
No means malum in se
Soldiers may not use weapons or other methods of warfare which are considered evil, such as mass rape, forcing soldiers to fight against their own side or using weapons whose effects cannot be controlled (e.g. nuclear/biological weapons). Jus in Bello “The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn authorities”

Ryuichi Shimoda vs The State

The court also ruled that when military targets were concentrated in a comparatively small area, and where defence installations against air raids were very strong, that when the destruction of non-military objectives is small in proportion to the large military interests, or necessity, such destruction is lawful.

So in the judgement of the Court, because of the immense power of the bombs, and the distance from enemy land forces, the bombing of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki "was an illegal act of hostilities under international law as it existed at that time, as an indiscriminate bombardment of undefended cities".

No treaties specific to aerial warfare.
International humanitarian law (IHL) is the law that regulates the conduct of armed conflicts (jus in bello). It comprises "the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law."

The Hague convention – “Rules of War” International Humanitarian War LEGAL IMPLICATIONS
MORAL IMPLICATIONS Was Strategic Bombing immoral and in violation of “Just War”? Just War Theory

Jus ad bellum: Concerns the morality of the decision to make war

Jus in bello: concerns the morality of actions taken in war

Together the jus in bello and jus ad bellum comprise the two strands laws of war governing all aspects of international armed conflicts. Was strategic bombing immoral? Laregely ineffective?

RAF conceived as a night-operations force

Limitations in technology

Hamburg – Heavy bombing July–August 1943

Dresden - 13-15 February 1945

Impact on German morale and indsutrial effectiveness

Resources City bombing Attacks on German Air ForceIndustry

June 1944 – V-weapon raids

September 1944 – Oil Offensive


15 March 1945 - "The German economy is heading for an inevitable collapse within four to eight weeks." (Albert Spear to Adolf Hitler) Combined Bomber Offensive Franklin. D. Roosevelt – 1 September 1939 Appeal

Battle of Britain – 24 August 1940 incident

Casablanca Conference – January 1943

“the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial, and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened” Escalation Four Key Strategies

“Industrial web strategy” - attacks on key German economic bottlenecks to cripple the German economy as a whole, fatally wounding the political social cohesion required for resistance

Strategic interdiction using precision bombing to focus on industries critical to war production

Douhet strategy area incendiary bombing of population centers

Bombing weight of Soviet and Western ground offensives with strategic airpower to destroy the German army.
(Pape 1996) Stratgeic Bombing Conclusion AWPD 1
Casablanca Conference
Casablanca Directive Strategic planning Introduction
Strategic bombing
Military & economic aspects
Political side of air war
Legality of strategic bombing
Conclusion Contents George Ratcliffe, Laura Hicks, Siyang Liu, Jordan Morrissey,Luis S Da Silva, Benjamin Hlimi
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