Atomic bombings of Japan as a form of state terrorism

For scholars and historians, the primary ethics debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, [See: ] Certain scholars who oppose the decision to use of the atom bomb, while they state it was unnecessary and immoral, do not claim it was state terrorism per se. Walker's 2005 overview of recent historiography did not discuss the issue of state terrorism. [ Walker, "Recent Literature on Truman's Atomic Bomb Decision," "passim".]

Forward effects

Political science professor Michael Stohl and peace studies researcher George A. Lopez, in their book "Terrible beyond Endurance? The Foreign Policy of State Terrorism", discuss the argument that the institutionalized form of terrorism carried out by states have occurred as a result of changes that took place following World War II, and in particular the two bombings. In their analysis state terrorism as a form of foreign policy was shaped by the presence and use of weapons of mass destruction, and that the legitimizing of such violent behavior led to an increasingly accepted form of state behavior. They consider both Germany’s bombing of London (q.v. The Blitz) and the U.S. atomic destruction of Hiroshima.

Scholars treating the subject have discussed the bombings within a wider context of the weakening of the moral taboos that were in place prior to WWII, which prohibited mass attacks against civilians during wartime. Mark Selden, professor of sociology and history at Binghamton University and author of "War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century", writes, "This deployment of air power against civilians would become the centerpiece of all subsequent U.S. wars, a practice in direct contravention of the Geneva principles, and cumulatively the single most important example of the use of terror in twentieth century warfare." [cite news
title=Terrorism Before and After 9-11
url =
] Falk, Selden, and Prof. Douglas Lackey, each of whom relate the Japan bombings to what they believe was a similar pattern of state terrorism in following wars, particularly the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Professor Selden writes: “Over the next half century, the United States would destroy with impunity cities and rural populations throughout Asia, beginning in Japan and continuing in North Korea, Indochina, Iraq and Afghanistan, to mention only the most heavily bombed nations...if nuclear weapons defined important elements of the global balance of terror centered on U.S.-Soviet conflict, "conventional" bomb attacks defined the trajectory of the subsequent half century of warfare."Selden, War and State Terrorism.]

ee also

*Allegations of state terrorism by the United States
*Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


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