Tokyo was a natural target for Allied firebombing as both the economic and social capital of Japan.

  • Bombed under the direction of American Commander Curtis LeMay
  • Had been bombed with normal, not incendiary, explosives since 1942
  • First firebomb (napalm) was February 23rd, 1945
  • 100 American B-29s demolished 1 square mile of Tokyo, a dense and largely vertical city
  • On March 10 the attacks continued, with 334 B-29s dropping 1,700 tons of explosive and incendiary bombs, destroying 16 square miles.
  • Over 100,000 dead
  • There was a third raid May 26


The rationale behind the bombing of Tokyo was to destroy both Japanese industry and morale.  There was less moral controversy with the bombing of Tokyo, as the Japanese had long since been demonicized by Western powers, and were known themselves to attack civilians indiscriminately.



  • Wartime total of British killed in German raids was 60,595
  • 100,000 at Hiroshima
  • 50,000 at Nagasaki
  • 200,000 at the Warsaw uprising
  • 554 in Coventry
  • 1,436 in the heaviest London raid
  • 20,083 total London civilian deaths during 9 month blitz
  • 45,000 at Hamburg
  • 35,000-135,000 at Dresden