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Bombardments

  • Air Warfare and International Law: A Bibliographic Overview

    January 4, 2018

    All armed conflicts are covered by the basic rules and principles of the laws of war, wherever the theatre of operations might be, land, sea or air. Although some treaty and customary law specifically refers to certain aspects of aerial warfare, no specific regulation of modern air warfare has yet been adopted. Nevertheless, it is clear that the general principles and rules of international humanitarian law apply. We have created a bibliographic overview on this topic intended as a starting point for your research.

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  • Air Warfare/Bombardments: A Bibliographic Overview

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  • Deutschlands Schicksal

    Deutschlands Schicksal

    November 13, 2014

    German propaganda poster that expresses Germany’s fear for British bombing of their industrial plants. Image: map of Germany’s main industrial area. Around the map bombers and destroyed industrial plants are depicted.

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  • The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims

    The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims, 1914

    July 23, 2014

    On 20 September 1914, German shellfire burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the magnificent Cathedral of Reims. The destruction of the Cathedral was generally regarded as an act of sheer vandalism. At the time, it was generally admitted by writers on international law that if the military commander of a besieged place used a church or other building whose immunity had been established, as a stronghold, a storehouse, or an observatory, the besieger might bombard the site without being held responsible for damages caused in consequence of their proximity to other buildings which are liable to bombardment. Even the French war manual itself admitted this.

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  • Deutschlands Schicksal

    June 12, 2013

    Poster that expresses Germany’s fear for British bombing of their industrial plants from Belgium soil. Image: map of Germany’s main industrial area. Around the map bombers and destroyed industrial plants are depicted.

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  • Dresden 1945

    Dresden 1945: An Allied War Crime?

    February 18, 2011

    Since 1945, the bombing of Dresden is considered by many as a violation of international law and as a crime against humanity, even though positive rules of international humanitarian law were absent at the time. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of international law. However these conventions, adressing the codes of wartime conduct on land and at sea, were adopted before the rise of air power. Despite repeated diplomatic attempts (→ The Hague Rules of Air Warefare 1922/1923) to update international humanitarian law to include aerial warfare, it was not done before the outbreak of World War II. The absence of positive international humanitarian law does not mean that the laws of war did not cover aerial warfare, but there was no general agreement of how to interpret those laws. The aerial bombardment of Dresden does not only raise the question as to whether or not it was an Allied war crime, but it also makes a moral appeal to prevent total war against civilian populations. It’s memory is kept alive.

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