When talking about the Second World War, it is usually viewed as a total war. A total war can be defined as a war which is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, especially one in which the accepted rules of war are disregarded. When Hitler launched the war campaign, he believed it was going to be successful and rapid, he did not expect to meet much resistance, especially from the civilian population. Despite his expectancies and plans, the war turned out to be a great bloodshed, involving 61 countries from all over Europe, Oceania and USA and leading to total casualties of 72.275.847 million people among both, the soldiers and the civilians, including 38 million of wounded and 29 million of captured soldiers. One of the main features supporting the total war was heavy continuous bombings of military and civilian targets. In order to prove that Second World War can be viewed as a total war through the bombing of cities, this essay will explore the strategic military plans of the Axis powers, the "war effort" and the Allies strategy. .
During World War II, it was believed by many military strategists of air power that major victories could be won by attacking industrial and political infrastructure, rather than purely military targets. Initially, Germans wanted to spare civilians the terror of aerial bombing, therefore targeting was greatly narrowed and restricted to daylight attacks in order to reduce the chances of missing targets. Hitler ever court-martialed some bomber crew members for accidentally bombing British civilian areas during the Battle of Britain. But quite soon, "strategic bombing" was introduced and it involved bombing areas inhabited by civilians and sometimes - bombing campaigns were deliberately designed to target civilian populations in order to terrorize, disorganize, and disrupt their usual activities.