America Responds to Terrorism
Firestorms The Bombing of Civilians
Firestorms: The Bombing of Civilians in World War II

Before World War II, most nations condemned targeting civilians in bombing raids. As the war went on, the nations at war expanded their bombing targets from military to industrial ones, then to workers' houses, and finally to entire cities and their civilian populations.

In the late afternoon of April 26, 1937, German bombers and other warplanes attacked Guernica, a town of about 7,000 persons in northern Spain. This raid was part of the Spanish Civil War, fought just before World War II. The Spanish Republic was battling rebels led by Spanish General Francisco Franco. Hitler had sent a special air force unit to Spain to aid Franco, and Hitler used the civil war to test new military aircraft and bombing tactics.

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