Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History

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From the British bombing of Iraq in the early 1920s to more recent conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, indiscriminate aerial bombing has been a frighteningly common strategy of modern warfare, owing much to the relative safety of the attackers and the complete vulnerability of the victims.

In Bombing Civilians, leading experts Marilyn B. Young and Yuki Tanaka have brought together a group of distinguished scholars from Japan, the United States, and Europe to explore the history of indiscriminate bombing, examining the shift from bombing military targets to bombing civilians. This bold collection examines the fundamental questions of how this theory justifying mass killing originated and why it has been employed as a compelling military strategy for decades, both before and after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

With major new arguments, including Japanese historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa’s claim that it was the Soviet invasion rather than the atomic bombs that compelled the Japanese to surrender in the Pacific War, Bombing Civilians combines historical and contemporary analysis to make a powerful argument about international law and the morality of war.


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About the Author:

Yuki Tanaka is a research professor at Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University and a coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Journal. He is a co-editor, with Marilyn B. Young, of Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History (The New Press).

Marilyn B. Young is a professor of history at New York University. She is a co-editor (with Lloyd C. Gardner) of The New American Empire: A 21st Century Teach-In on U.S. Foreign Policy and Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam: Or, How Not to Learn from the Past and (with Yuki Tanaka) of Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History, all published by The New Press. She lives in New York City.

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"Makes a cogent case for reassessing the effectiveness of air campaigns and how power influences accountability." —Japan Times

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