It is widely believed to this day that the Germans instigated the aerial bombing campaign against European and British cities, and thus “got what they deserved” in kind. Often cited are the German bombings of Warsaw and Rotterdam. These two instances of bombings are not in dispute, however, the context must be considered. The details are seldom discussed, and hence, little known. The rules of warfare must also be considered. The deliberate targeting of civilians was indeed a “war crime”. The Hague conventions tolerated the bombing of cities IF they were under military occupation (ie “defended”), which was the case with both Warsaw or Rotterdam.
The Hague Conventions for Land Warfare (which Germany was a signatory to) stated:
The attack or bombardment of towns, villages, habitations or buildings which are not defended, is prohibited.
The Commander of an attacking force, before commencing a bombardment, except in…
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