‘War Morality, Remembrance’
Hughes equates the saturation bombing of Dresden and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Allies with the killings in concentration camps by Nazi Germans. “Those iniquities were part of the war,” he says.
This is disingenuous. He recognizes that the Allied bombings were “a conscious effort to convince Germany of the futility of continuing the war.” Is he suggesting that the concentration-camp massacres were an attempt by Germany to convince the Allies to lay down their arms? “Those iniquities” were not “a part of the war.” They would have happened even if there had been no war. Indeed, the persecutions of people started a long time before the war.
Hitler’s madmen killed Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, Communists for no other reason except that they wanted them dead . The atrocities had nothing to do with trying to win the war; they had only to do with a desire to exterminate certain groups of people.
We should really not speak of “war crimes,” for, though these acts occurred during the war, they were really “crimes against humanity.”
KATHARINA L. SMITH