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Old 02-17-2019, 08:01 AM
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Arrow 74 years ago, Allied bombers obliterated Dresden, one of Germany’s most beautiful cit

74 years ago, Allied bombers obliterated Dresden, one of Germany’s most beautiful cities
By: Christopher Woody, Business Insider Air Force Times 2-16-19

Photo link:
Women workers remove debris from the shell of the Hof Kirche, the Catholic cathedral in Dresden, Germany, February 1946. (Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)

World War II was more than three years old when Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and other Allied leaders met at Casablanca in January 1943, but the decisions made there would shape the rest of the war in Europe.

During the conference, Allied leaders settled on a policy of unconditional surrender and agreed on a strategic bombing plan to bring the Axis to its knees.

For the U.S., bombing would focus on daytime raids against strategically valuable targets — factories, ports, military bases, and other infrastructure involved in the war effort. For the British, who had suffered during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, the air war would target German cities with nighttime raids.

In the following months, numerous German cities would crumble beneath the onslaught, but perhaps the most heinous destruction was in Dresden, a historic city in southeast Germany.

AF Photo link:
B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb German communication lines at Chemnitz, near Dresden, on Feb. 6, 1945. (AP)

Dresden had avoided the destruction wreaked on major urban centers like Berlin and Hamburg. But on Feb. 13, 14, and 15, 1945, more than 1,200 British and U.S. heavy bombers dropped nearly 4,000 tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the city.

The intensity of the bombing devastated the city’s historic center. The fire that raged during the bombing made superheated air rise with such force that it created a vacuum on the ground, ripping trees out of the ground, sucking people into the fires, and suffocating those spared the flames.

Roughly 25,000 people were killed, many of them civilians and refugees, and more than 75,000 buildings were destroyed. The scale and ferocity of the bombing, so late in the war, has led many to believe the attack was a war crime.

Dresden was a cultural and architectural gem in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The city is located on the river Elbe River, and the Dresden Frauenkirche, a Lutheran church, and the Katholische Hofkirche, the city’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, can be seen below.

On site you will find additional photo's of the devastation.

After the war, estimates of the death toll in Dresden varied widely, and often topped 100,000. Sometimes, these estimates were influenced by the politics of the assessors. An official German report in 2010 put the tally at 25,000 lives. For decades, the East German government refused to rebuild the Frauenkirche church, a dominant and historic feature of the city. It stood untouched and in ruins as a symbol and memorial for those killed. It was rebuilt after the Berlin Wall fell.


"Just think what today would bring with a nuclear war will do to all the cities, people's and our environment."


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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