The Atomic Bombings on Japan were war crimes and here is why!
Yes, you read that correctly. The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes and should have been considered as such.
During the time of World War 2, the laws of war fell under the Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907), the Hague Rules of Air Warfare (1923) and early
parts of the Geneva Convention. This thread will be looking at articles from the Hague Convention (1907) and the Hague Rules of Air Warfare (1923) in
order to prove that the Atomic Bombings of Japan were war crimes under international law.
Before we get started, it must be noted that the conventions were signed by all parties involved. As such, the parties breaking the rules should be
held liable for their war crimes.
Under the Hague Convention of 1907 in Chapter 1 under the title Means of injuring the enemy, sieges, and bombardments
, the rules of law are
Under Article 27:
In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or
charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time
for military purposes.
It is the duty of the besieged to indicate the presence of such buildings or places by distinctive and visible signs, which shall be notified to the
While it was the duty of those besieged to indicate the locations of the buildings described above, there was no way for Japan to do so before they
were attacked by the Atomic Bombs. The USA did not abide by this law, as they did not (in any way) attempt to preserve buildings of religious,
artistic, scientific, charitable or historic nature. Furthermore, they also destroyed hospitals, where the ill were located. Considering the Japanese
Military was not in use of most of the buildings, it is safe to state that the USA broke the law under Article 27 of the Hague Convention (1907).
Furthermore, under Article 23, it states that it is especially
(e) To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering
It is clear that the Atomic Bombs were dropped on civilians in order to cause unnecessary suffering. Some of the victims survived the initial blast
and were forced to die a slow and painful death. Some may argue that the USA didn't know of the effects of the Nuclear bomb at the time, but they
tested it, therefore they knew the physical extent of the damage which would have been done. The Atomic Bombs did indeed cause unnecessary suffering
to the surviving populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Further, the laws of wartime aerial bombardments were expanded upon in the Hague Rules of Air Warfare (1923) under Chapter IV - Hostilities
Under Article 22, it is stated that:
Any air bombardment for the purpose of terrorizing the civil population or destroying or damaging private property without military character or
injuring non-combatants, is forbidden.
The Atomic Bombings were directed on both, civilian populations and private (non-military) property. Civilians were killed and/or injured as a result.
Therefore, the USA broke this forbidden rule.
Under Article 24, it is stated that"
1. An air bombardment is legitimate only when is directed against a military objective, i.e. an objective whereof the total or partial destruction
would constitute an obvious military advantage for the belligerent;
It was not known whether or not Japan would surrender as a result of the Atomic Bombings. Japan never surrendered after the first bomb. As such, the
USA did not know if the bombings would constitute an obvious military advantage.
2. Such bombardment is legitimate only when directed exclusively against the following objectives:
Military forces, military works, military establishments or depots, manufacturing plants constituting important and well-known centres for the
production of arms, ammunition or characterized military supplies, lines of communication or of transport which are used for military
The cities were bombed with WMD's, therefore destroying everything. As the Article states, bombardment must be exclusively against a military force.
The USA opted to take out entire cities, injuring civilians. If they really wanted to take out exclusive military objectives, they should have used a
more strategic bomb. Again, they broke the law.
3. Any bombardment of cities, towns, villages, habitations and building which are not situated in the immediate vicinity of the operations of the
land forces, is forbidden. Should the objectives specified in paragraph 2 be so situated that they could not be bombed but that an undiscriminating
bombardment of the civil population would result therefrom, the aircraft must abstain from bombing;
It is clearly stated here that one must abstain from bombing if the military objectives are located within the vicinity of civilians. Again, the USA
broke the law and bombed civilians, claiming to be taking out important military targets.
The reasoning for the bombings doesn't matter. The USA broke international law through using WMD's on Japan. This thread clearly exposes why the
Atomic Bombings of Japan were, and should have been classed as war crimes.
Thank you for reading.
The Hague Convention of 1907:
Hague Rules of Air Warfare (1923):
edit on 23-12-2012 by daaskapital because: title