Bodies and StructuresMain MenuWhat We're DoingOverview essayHow to Use This SiteAn orientationModulesList of modulesTag MapConceptual indexComplete Grid VisualizationGrid Visualization of Bodies and StructuresGeotagged MapGeographic IndexWhat We LearnedContributors share what they learned through the Bodies and Structures process.ReferencesReferences tag for all modules and essayContributorsContributor BiosAcknowledgementsAcknowledgementsContact usContact information pageLicensing and ImagesThe original content of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND International 4.0 License.Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277 This publication is hosted on resources provided by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences IT department at NC State University.
Tokyo, Inflammable Areas
12018-07-28T16:41:20-04:00David Fedman49fb12a9dc049fa723aae9d52d00a1d69c5c61e723OSS Map No. 877, Tokyo – Inflammable Areas, November 1942, U.S. National Archives, Cartographic and Architectural Section, Record Group 226: 330/20/8.plain2018-11-19T18:50:17-05:001942U.S. National Archives, Modern Military Section, College Park, MDOffice of Strategic ServicesPublic domain.David Fedman49fb12a9dc049fa723aae9d52d00a1d69c5c61e7
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12018-04-23T13:40:27-04:00Engineering Urbicide12Planning for the destruction of Tokyo at the Dugway Proving Grounds.plain2018-11-28T08:30:29-05:001942David Fedman
But while American audiences tapped their feet to these calls for retribution from the air, a growing cadre of engineers, chemical scientists, and intelligence officers began research into the campaign to actually achieve this destruction. Many different planning documents offer insight into the process whereby the US military-industrial-academic complex facilitated the shift towards indiscriminate firebombing of urban zones. As early as 1942, for example, cartographers in the OSS began to precisely demarcate Tokyo’s vulnerable fire zones—a point perhaps best evidenced in OSS Map no. 877.
While the style and utility of this visual intelligence varied considerably, one factor remains consistent throughout geo-spatial representations of Tokyo used to plan the raids: an abiding fixation on the Shitamachi district of the northeast. Planners took particular interest in the most densely built-up and inhabited Asakusa District, where plans estimated an average of 40,000 persons per square kilometer.
Thus, at the very moment that USAAF commanders were publicly affirming their commitment to the strategic doctrine of high altitude precision bombing—and condemning the use of incendiaries in Europe—strategists, planners, and scientists were vigorously studying their application to Tokyo and its built environment (Plung 2018).