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Justified Bombings vs War Crimes – How Do We Differentiate Them?

By Chua Ee Teng, TIME

Published: 18 Mar 2019 - 09:23 PM

Adolf Hitler, recently back from the dead, was deemed a “war criminal” by Western European countries. Now the US is being accused of the same crime by Germany and her allies – what’s the difference?

Adolf Hitler, recently back from the dead, was deemed a “war criminal” by Western European countries. Now the US is being accused of the same crime by Germany and her allies – what’s the difference?

Earlier today, in the General Assembly of the United Nations, members of the UN came together to debate over Germany and Japan’s threats as Adolf Hitler, the man who precipitated the start of World War II, was found to be alive, and Japan suddenly announced their intentions of starting a nuclear war, retribution for the devastation left on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Delegates were quick to speak up and declare that they did not want a third world war and reaffirmed the importance of the issue of war reparations, as they did not want the guilty parties to get away scot-free.

There were three distinct sides in the war of all against all, with Germany, Japan, Argentina along with a few other countries banding together in an unlikely alliance against the United States and the Western European countries, with the delegate of Japan openly declaring, “It is time this unfairness ends”, along with threats of launching nuclear missiles.

On the other side of the debate were America, the Dominican Republic, Australia, and the other Western European nations, with the delegates of America and the United Kingdom insisting that “Adolf Hitler is a war criminal”, and that the “actions of the Western allies were completely justified”.

There were also the countries which did not openly state which side they were on but repeatedly urged for a peaceful settlement of the issue through negotiations and compromises. Examples included the delegate of China, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan. These delegates were quick to emphasize the importance of cooperation between countries, and the fact that nothing would get resolved if the countries were not in agreement with one another, as shown from how the delegate of Afghanistan repeatedly talked about how countries “need to be more collaborative” and “stop being so argumentative!”

While there were debates over the issue of whether the US was guilty of the same crimes as Adolf Hitler, the man the US had deemed a “war criminal”, was guilty of, delegates seemed to agree that what the US did was completely justified. It was recognized that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II by the US were for the greater good, to bring about the end of World War II and force Japan to give up Asian territories that they took over by force, freeing multiple Asian countries from the barbaric Japanese control. This meant that the US was right in deciding to drop the two bombs, “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, as they did it for a valid and justified cause, which was for the sake of the other Asian countries.

However, the same cannot be said for Hitler’s declaration of war on Germany’s neighbouring countries back in World War II, with the delegate of the United Kingdom stating that there was “no justification for the Nazi regime”, and the UK had to take military action against the Nazi regime as Hitler was “uncompromising”. This eventually laid the foundation for the delegates of Greece, US, and the UK to fight for the incarceration of Adolf Hitler as a war criminal on the basis that his act of killing over 6 million Jews was unjustified. The effect of Hitler’s actions is still prominent today in this day and age, as shown from how Belgium urged the council “to quickly handle” the situation as they were one of the first ones to be attacked by Germany in World War II and did not want history to repeat itself now that Hitler was found to be alive and back in power.

The session ended with no resolutions reached as amid heated debates and calls for peaceful negotiations, Germany and Japan, true to their words, launched nuclear missiles all around the world. It was unfortunate that a compromise could not be reached sooner, as a compromise satisfying both parties could have prevented this outcome.