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the attack on troops, equipment, and other military and industrial objectives, as well as on population centers, with artillery fire and airplane bombs.
In international law bombardment is regulated by a number of international agreements (primarily The Hague Conventions of 1899, 1907, and 1954). Present-day international law establishes that belligerent countries do not have an unlimited right in the choice of the means of inflicting harm on the enemy. Thus, bombardment of undefended ports, cities, settlements, or structures is forbidden. In instances in which there are military depots or installations in ports or populated areas, the commander of the attacking troops or naval forces can demand that the local authorities destroy the above-mentioned facilities and, in the event his demand is not carried out, subject them to bombardment, taking measures to limit the deleterious consequences for the populated area, especially with regard to historical monuments, churches, buildings used for science, the arts, and philanthropy, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are gathered. The Hague Convention of 1954 unconditionally banned the bombardment of cultural treasures, which must be provided with special visible markings and be accessible to international control.
In the system of rules of international law pertaining to the laws and customs of war, an important place belongs to provisions that forbid the use of weapons of mass destruction; it is unconditionally forbidden in bombing to use asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases or liquids, as well as bacteriological means (the Geneva Protocol of 1925). On Nov. 24,1961, the UN General Assembly adopted a special declaration in which the use of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons was proclaimed contradictory to the spirit, letter, and goals of the UN Charter and a crime against humanity.
The conduct of wars in the period of imperialism abounds with examples of the most flagrant violations of the rules of international law, including provisions pertaining to bombing. For example, during World War I the Germans bombarded Paris with heavy fortress guns and from the air. During World War II the troops of fascist Germany carried out devastating bombardment against undefended cities and populated areas of the USSR and Poland (for example, the bombardment of Warsaw in 1939), fired on London with V-l and V-2 missiles, bombarded Coventry, England, in 1940, and so forth.
An example of a flagrant violation of international rules is the protracted shellings by heavy guns and aerial bombardment of peaceful cities and hamlets during the war in Vietnam by the US armed forces.