15.11.

1906: The American General who Ordered the Death of 500,000 Japanese

1906: The American General who Ordered the Death of 500,000 Japanese
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Curtis_LeMay_(USAF).jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event: The infamous General Curtis LeMay ordered attacks with incendiary bombs on as many as 64 Japanese cities. The most destructive was the attack on Tokyo in March 1945. This is considered the largest bombing attack in the entire history of warfare, larger even than the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On this day the famous American Air Force General Curtis LeMay was born. He was known for his belligerence, which is why he got the nickname “Bombs Away LeMay”. As a U.S. Air Force general, LeMay was placed as commander-in-chief of strategic aircraft bombing raids on Japan in World War II. At this position, he advocated for particularly bloody night attacks on Japan, using firebombs. Namely, precise attacks on specific military targets were thought to be ineffective, so the Japanese civilian population was targeted instead.

Incendiary bombs caused immense damage in Japan, because the houses were built mostly of wood and paper. Fires were therefore very destructive and effectively destroyed large populated areas in the cities.

LeMay ordered attacks with incendiary bombs on as many as 64 Japanese cities. The most destructive was the attack on Tokyo in March 1945. This is considered the largest bombing attack in the entire history of warfare, larger even than the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is estimated that only in this one attack on Tokyo about 100,000 civilians were killed and 250,000 buildings destroyed. Approximately 41 square kilometers of Tokyo were burned down.

It is estimated that the U.S. attacks on Japan, which were at for a time commanded by General LeMay, killed about 500,000 Japanese and left as many as 5 million people homeless.

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