Why Air Power is not enough to force surrender in simple terms

It is important to understand history and military history to understand some of the issues of today and the future. Currently in Iraq and Syria the USA is using an air campaign against ISIS. This is relevant to that situation. Also that situation and follow on will last year’s to decades into the future.

The Bombing of Dresden was an attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, that took place in the final months of WW2. Between 22,700 and 25,000 people were killed.

However, this and other air campaigns did not force the surrender of Germany. The firebombing of Tokyo which killed over 100,000 did not force the surrender of Japan.

It was capture and killing and disarming of the vast majority of the soldiers and generals and leaders that led to the surrender of Germany.

Operation rolling thunder had over 300,000 attacks but did not force North Vietnam to Surrender

Operation Rolling Thunder was the title of a gradual and sustained US 2nd Air Division (later Seventh Air Force), US Navy, and Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) aerial bombardment campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 2 March 1965 until 2 November 1968, during the Vietnam War.

Between March 1965 and November 1968, aircraft of the U.S. Air Force had flown 153,784 attack sorties against North Vietnam, while the Navy and Marine Corps had added another 152,399. On 31 December 1967, the Department of Defense announced that 864,000 tons of American bombs had been dropped on North Vietnam during Rolling Thunder, compared with 653,000 tons dropped during the entire Korean War and 503,000 tons in the Pacific theater during the Second World War.

Approximately 1,000 casualties had been inflicted on the North Vietnamese population per week, or approximately 90,000 for the 44-month period, 72,000 of whom were civilians.

With bombing I am alive or dead

Bombing means that people are left alive (with injuries or without) or dead. Those who are not dead still have their weapons and can fight. The planes are not staying their constantly.

Bombing can destroy bridges, road, rail and other targets.

If the bombs kill my family then I have nothing left to lose and will continue to fight to avenge them.

If the bombs kill me then I will be stopped but my comrades can continue.

Soldiers can capture, disarm and threaten to kill the civilians

Losing to enemy soldiers means that they gain the military control and can confiscate the weapons, they can find and enter the bunkers and clean them out, they hold a gun to your head or the head of your family and get you to surrender or they will come back and kill you or your family.

I have killed your toughest, jailed the others and taken your weapons and threaten to slaughter the rest. This forces a surrender. Or the stick or damage is less severe and the carrot is added that surrender and behave and we will also help rebuild your cities.

Why was Hiroshima and Nagasaki different ?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not different because the nuclear bombs killed more than the firebombing of Tokyo. They were different because they were the threat that the US will keep killing the Japanese cities until there is surrender. The Firebombing of Tokyo seemed within the realm of something that imperial Japan could continue to function and adapt and endure by hiding in tunnels.

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