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Acts of Total Warfare Carreid Out by the United States Essay

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Throughout the history of the United States there have been many significant wars and battles fought. Some have been fought on the home soil of the nation; others have been fought on and in foreign lands. During each of these wars or battles the United Sates maintained a common practice of not targeting civilian populations. While at times supply lines or critical infrastructure were targeted, the specific targeting of civilians for the purpose of inflicting bodily harm or death was avoided at all costs. This all changed during World War II. As a result of the tactics being utilized by Germany and Japan, the military leaders and the policy makers of the United States began to alter course and adopt the strategy of Total Warfare just as their adversaries had.
This shift in policy was not immediate and over time became accepted by the citizens of the United States as more and more acts of aggression by the enemy were perpetrated. Citizens and leaders of the United States became more and more accepting of the fact that violent acts of war were going to continue and therefore any means necessary to end the aggression should be employed, including Total Warfare. It is this shift in attitude that presents specific questions in relations to the acts of Total Warfare carried out by the United States and fellow belligerents during World War II.
Question number one is, “Are deliberate attacks against civilians’ legitimate acts of war?” This question not only includes attacks that are of the physical nature, it also addresses the use of psychological warfare or attacks against civilians. The deliberate attacking of civilians as legitimate acts during war utilizing aggressive means such as bombings and prisoner capture can be legiti...


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...re those rare times where it is justified though. As previously discussed in this paper, the attacks on the mainland of Japan and the bombing of Germany by Great Brittan were necessary. The number of people that had already lost their lives would have continued to swell had those decisions not been made to take swift and devastating actions to end the war.


Works Cited

Förster, S. (2007). Total War and Genocide: Reflections on the Second World War. Australian Journal Of Politics & History, 53(1), 68-83. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8497.2007.00443.x
Marcus, D. (2009). William Wyler's World War II Films and the Bombing of Civilian Populations. Historical Journal Of Film, Radio & Television, 29(1), 79-90. doi:10.1080/01439680802704724
Wall, T. (2010). U.S. Psychological Warfare and Civilian Targeting. Peace Review, 22(3), 288-294. doi:10.1080/10402659.2010.502070



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