Which country was the first to bomb civilians in World War II? by Jay Knott (12/12/12) ⇌ (War crimes)
In The Unnecessary War, Pat Buchanan argues that the first war crime carried out from aircraft in World War II was the British attack of May 1940. He says the German bombing of Rotterdam wasn't a war crime - because the city was under siege, it was a fair target under the rules of war!
I find this hard to swallow. But not as hard as the excuses for Britain's war crimes thought up by the hacks at Wikipedia:
"While it was acknowledged that the aerial bombing of Germany would cause civilian casualties, the British government renounced the deliberate bombing of civilian property, outside combat zones, as a military tactic. This policy was abandoned on 15 May 1940, two days after the German air attack on Rotterdam... Between 1939 and 1942, the policy of bombing only targets of direct military significance was gradually abandoned in favour of "area bombing"—large-scale bombing of German cities to destroy housing and civilian infrastructure. Although killing German civilians was never an explicit policy, it was obvious that area bombing must lead to large-scale civilian casualties. Following the fall of France in 1940, Britain had no other means of carrying the war to Germany and after the entry of the Soviet Union into the war in 1941, bombing Germany was the only contribution Britain could make to meet Joseph Stalin's demands for action to open up a second front. With the technology available at the time, the precision bombing of military targets was possible only by daylight (and it was difficult even then). Daylight bombing raids conducted by Bomber Command involved unacceptably high losses of British aircraft, and bombing by night led to far lower British losses, but was of necessity indiscriminate due to the difficulties of noctural navigation and bomb aiming."
Discussion of this question on deliberation.info: