morality and judgment Essay

Submitted By Yevgeni-Volchenko
Words: 2720
Pages: 11

Gene Volchenko
Mr. Leck
Morality & Judgment in War on Civilians

When discussing morality, one has to define morality. Morality –“principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior”(Oxford dictionary). So basically morality discusses good or bad. When people discuss war they don’t think about good or right” War does not determine who is right - only who is left “(Bertnard Russel). People usually think of bad and wrong when it comes to war. However, at times of war it seems that morals have a different meaning. For example, it is not about good or bad, right or wrong. It is about “not as bad” or “not as wrong”.
In the years between 1939-1945 over 25 million civilians had lost their lives because of the actions of WW2. The war included 31 countries that spread all over the planet. No one thought that it would come to those great numbers of deaths when it all began (History Channel)). But again, it looks like war has no rules. It is not surprising that civilians die in times of war. All great empires killed civilians. From Alexander the great to Genghis Khan. Back at those times it was perfectly normal and no one had a doubt that civilians are a target of warfare. However, in the 20th century people kind of started to understand the value of a human life. This is how it seemed. But then WW2 took place and we were surprised by that. The German purpose of the war was to eliminate all not Arian people of Germany in order to become a superior race country (Nuremberg). Besides that Germany also wanted to expand their territory by taking over Eastern Europe (Poland, the Soviet Union). And shortly after that idea with Hitler`s confidence he also wanted the rest of Europe (France, England). In other words, the beginning of this war was; one side attacks and one side defends (The Century). But, how come the side of defense has become shortly with time aggressive and was not less immoral then the evil German side? But again war changes people. “There is no denying that in the heat of war the morality of the “just war” doctrine tends to be forgotten” (Justice in Modern War). This same article discuses “old standards of war and how could they be enforced in practice at WW2”. Well, with our technological revolution at the 20th century “old standards “could not be applied to a “new world”. The tactics of wars changed with times. Enemies don’t fight in an open field line to line with horses and swords. Nowadays, we have weapons, air force, bombs, ships who were made only for one reason; to destroy. How could we apply “old standards” when countries hold weapons of ultimate destruction?
The well-known action of “The Blitz” and more like it that took place all over Europe and lead to the Hiroshima-Nagasaki event at 1945 completely changed the nature of war. There was no longer any distinction made between civilians and soldiers. The reasons for those actions could be explained by the theory that says that in order to win a war one side has to kill or take hostage the high leaders of the other side or simply to surrender(Fog of War). The high leaders of Germany were mostly placed at Berlin and spread all over the city, because they knew that the enemy would never bomb a place full of innocent civilians. However, war again seems to change any predictable behavior. At times of war we as humans become simple animals that are driven by instincts of protecting our own by any means without taking into consideration the enemies felling (Above and Below). The war was long and frustrating. When people are frustrated they will play dirty to get their need. All sides of that war knew and acknowledged morality but they seemed not to follow that code of rules. US bombings in Japan got completely out of control by killing 3 million Japanese people by air bombing(Fog of War).
When the basic need of survival is under pressure all other knowledge is put a side. This war was set up in a way of each one is for