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The Global War on Civilians: Morality, Science, and Race in the Bombing of Cities in World War II

FRS 184

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How did the targeting of civilian populations become a "normal" part of war? This seminar considers the cultural, scientific, and military developments that led to the massive bombing and starving of cities in World War II, culminating in the atomic attacks on Japan. These include Japanese and German bombing of cities (1930s), the German Blitz of London, and Allied firebombing of German and Japanese cities. We will debate whether bombing-including the A-bombs- was effective in winning wars? What role did racism play in targeting Japanese and other non-Western peoples? Can the bombing of cities--then or now--be justified if the cause is just?
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Section S01