Tokyo Firebombing

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Bombing of the Japanese Mainland in 1945 On the night of the 10th March 1945, the US air force firebombed the Japanese capital of Tokyo with the loss of approximately 100,000 lives. There was no opposition from the Japanese air force because it was short of fuel and aircraft. Therefore, due to the fact that the Japanese Air Force couldn’t put up a fight against the Americans, there was no military justification for the bombing of Tokyo because the Japanese couldn’t muster a military opposition to the raid. I find that with the firebombing of Tokyo, one cannot find a moral justification for the raid because it wasn’t for ethical and moral reasons – similar to Guernica and Dresden. This raid was to strike fear into the population of Japan in…show more content…
I have mentioned earlier that Japan’s military in 1945 was inert. This may be true on paper which shows a weak and depleted military but the Japanese, up until 1945, had a war philosophy of Bushido (loyalty and honour till death) which means that the Japanese would fight to the death and it was seen as shameful to taken prisoner. This philosophy had been demonstrated before on the previous bloody invasions of the islands of Okinawa and Iwo Jima where the Japanese performed suicidal, but successful, Kamikaze attacks on US ships. For example, the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill was hit by a Kamikaze aircraft on the 11th May 1945 during the invasion of Okinawa resulting in the deaths of 346 US Navy servicemen and, most importantly, the Ship was out of action for the rest of the war. The issue of the saving of American lives in Japan is a classic moral conundrum explored by Carl Von Clausewitz in his famous book, On War, where he argues that military action for humanitarian reasons can lead to more brutality. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not ‘soft’ raids to emancipate the Japanese people from war. Instead, they were to plunge the Japanese into Total War to emancipate the World from War. Therefore, an invasion of Japan would be a long, unsustainable and bloody affair for both the allies meaning that the atomic bombings were considered necessary to avert a bloodbath in Japan. In addition, US President Harry Truman had a difficult decision to make when deciding to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He had to choose whether he was going to potentially end up killing thousands of allied troops in an invasion of Japan or killing thousands of Japanese civilians in an atomic bomb raid in Japan – Truman chose the latter. This argument holds water because Truman was
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