Websters defines atrocity as “a shockingly bad or atrocious act, object, or situation.”
Russian atrocities on Ukrainian civilians have been the top of the 24 second news cycle since the invasion began. Since the advent of industrial warfare at the end of 19th century, war has been waged increasingly on civilian populations than opposing military forces. Wars of attrition have had the goal of subjecting the populace to “shockingly bad” actions to force the downfall of its ruling regime or submission of a resisting insurgency. The 20th century is full of examples of this by the British, the Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, and of course, the Americans.
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As the stories emerge from the war between Ukraine and Russia, detailing atrocities committed on civilian populations, we thought it was a good moment to talk about some of this history. We start with the Civil War and World War One (early industrial wars), the advent of air power, brutal occupations in Nanking, Korea and Vietnam, bombings of Dresden, Tokyo and Hiroshima, U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam, Central American death squads and the forever wars in the Middle East.