Bombing of Dresden Facts

Bombing of Dresden Facts
From February 13 to 15, 1945, as the Allied forces were closing in on the remnants of the Third Reich from all sides, American and British bombers dropped several tons of explosives on eastern German city of Dresden. More than 30,000 civilians were killed in the Dresden bombings, although some accounts put the numbers much higher. The bombings were controversial at the time and remain so because they took place so close to the end of the war and the cities offered minimal strategic targets. Although there is no official British or American account that documents the reasons for those particular targets, it is believed that the bombings were intended to confuse the retreating German Army and to demoralize the German citizens in a similar effect that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later did. More than 700 Royal Airforce (RAF) and more then 500 American bombers were used in the bombing against less than thirty Luftwaffe planes. Nearly eight hundred fighters were used as escorts, with the Allies only losing seven of their planes.
Interesting Bombing of Dresden Facts:
The operation was led by the RAF under the guise of giving support to the advancing Red Army in the east.
The British were still upset over the Battle of Britain and the Blitz years earlier, so those reasons also played a role in the heavy bombings.
It was later claimed that while at the Yalta Conference, Joseph Stalin personally asked for the British to bomb Dresden.
Dresden was a center of German culture in the nineteenth century, where some of the country's best musical composers, such as Richard Wagner, regularly performed.
Before the bombings, Dresden was Germany's seventh largest city and the largest unbombed area of the country.
The attacks on the first day took place in two waves. The second wave came three hours after the first as German responders were putting out fires and helping civilians.
The bombs were a combination of high explosives and incendiaries. Most planes would drop one large high explosive bomb and several smaller incendiary bombs.
Dresden had no anti-aircraft guns and very few air raid shelters.
At least 100,000 German refugees who were fleeing the Soviet advance were in Dresden at the time.
Although the high explosive bombs did most of the damage to the structures in Dresden, the incendiary bombs were responsible for most of the deaths.
Almost as soon as news about the bombing became public, debate raged in the West about the morality and ethics of the operation.
The Dresden attacks are still a point of controversy in the West. Members of German far-right political groups often march to a monument to commemorate the bombings every year, which is accompanied by a heavy police presence to separate the marchers from far-left protesters.
British revisionist historian, David Irving, wrote The Destruction of Dresden where he claims the number of civilians killed was closer to what the Nazis claimed immediately after the attacks.

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