Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 12, 2014

WWII firebombing and homeland security

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Arnold Bogis on March 12, 2014

Okay.  I should admit up front that I don’t have an obvious homeland security connection to make between the firebombing of Japanese cities during World War II and our present security situation.

However, the topic did arise in the comments section of a post a few weeks ago.  So I thought I should share this new post by Alex Wellerstein of the “Restricted Data” blog.

Considering how many non-atomic bombs the US dropped on Japan during the war, it’s a little interesting that nobody has spent very much time worrying about what would happen if someone firebombed the United States. Why not? Because the U.S. has never imagined that any other nation would have the kind of air superiority to pull off sustained operations like that. No, if someone was going to bomb us, it would be a one-time, brief affair.

When the US did invoke American comparisons for firebombing, it was to give a sense of scale. So the Arnold report in 1945 included this evocative diagram of Japanese cities bombed, with American cities added to give a sense of relative size:

He goes on to include several provocative maps comparing and correlating cities in Japan and the U.S. along with the percentage of firebomb damage.

Alex also includes the follow clip from “The Fog of War,” where former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara explains his role in the planning of firebombing during World War II.

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If you’re interested in the topic, this post is well worth your time: http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2014/03/12/firebombs-usa/

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2 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 12, 2014 @ 11:48 pm

Not just interesting but historic event that I believe was criminal! Did we WIN WWI and WWII? Like Chou En Li [when asked about the French Revolution]–too soon to tell?

I have already posted on this blog a comment stating my belief that WWII was a war largely driven by racial animosity! On all sides!

Comment by Rob Dale

March 13, 2014 @ 9:46 am

It’s interesting looking at the WW2-era training for an incendiary bomb attack on the US!

http://libx.bsu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/WWIIGovPubs/id/3689/rec/36

The training for auxiliary firefighters also included a lengthy instructional component for “Incendiary Bombs and Their Control”

http://libx.bsu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/WWIIGovPubs/id/1122/rec/54

…and this from 1941…

http://libx.bsu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/WWIIGovPubs/id/911/rec/61

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