"the French certainly will not fire on a town in which there are still inhabitants"

Artillery attacks or aerial bombings on civilians were all too common in WWI, on both sides. German Zeppelin raids on London were among the most destructive, damaging large areas of the city and killing hundreds.

The idea of “total war” held that the enemy was an entire nation, not just an army. In one particularly horrendous case, a French unit used German maps to locate a circus tent and then bombed it, killing 120 German civilians, most of them children.

By the end of the war, civilian deaths totaled 7 million.