In a war, is the intentional aerial bombing of civilian, non-military, targets considered a war crime?
I saw a program on TV recently about a WWII project in the US to build in the desert architecturally accurate German apartment buildings, used to test fire-bombing techniques. After several tests, refinements, rebuilds, and re-tests, the improved bombs and practices were employed on Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Dresden. This was ostensibly to depress Germans’ morale and hasten an end to the war.
I had long been aware of the Dresden story, thanks to Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse 5) but had no idea such preparatory measures were taken to maximize the killing effect on civilians.
Perhaps it is no different than Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I know ‘the winners get to write history’, but this still left me wondering – if the other guys did it would it be considered a war crime? I’m thinking Germany bombing London, more recently Syria bombing hospitals, etc.
And I apologize for my shoddy knowledge of history…feel free to (politely!) set me aright.