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The Atrocious Bombing of Dresden, Germany

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The Atrocious Bombing of Dresden, Germany

On February 13-14, 1945 the British Royal Air Force gave the final

clearance to commence what would later become known as one of the greatest

atrocities that has ever been commited against a civilian population. That

night the RAF launched 796 bombers and 9 Mosquitoes which carried 1,478

tons of explosives in addition to 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs (Dear

311) which turned the city of Dresden, Germany into a virtual inferno.

This attack included another strike by the US Air Force the following

morning. The attack on Dresden was never a legitimate act of war, and its

result was the terroristic mass murder of over 135,000 people.

Bombing civilian targets in enemy territory became an open issue on

March 30, 1942 when the Prime Minister's science advisor, Professor F.A.

Lindemann (who later was recognized as Lord Cherwell) delivered to Winston

Churchill a report which contained a strong argument in favor of striking

civilian targets. Cherwell's report contained the final rationalization

for the program Bomber Command was undertaking, and it would henceforth

be paper-clipped to the plans of the bomber offensive. (Hastings). In his

report, Lindemann estimated that forty tons of explosives detonated in

heavily populated areas would destroy the homes of 4,000-8,000 people. The

report also stated that there was a population of 22 million people in

fifty-eight of the major cities in Germany. Lindemann claimed that a

nation of refugees could be the result of strategic air attacks. It is

wildly believed among scholars that the information cont.ained in this

report was the basis of the attack on Dresden.

Lindemann's figures were correct, but his thinking was immoral

and inhumane. The people to whom his statistics referred so objectively

were innocent civilians, more than half of them women and children. The

assault upon them was nothing more that out-right murder. Any benefit

gained by destroying these civilians. lives, families, and homes was

countered ten-fold by the moral reprehensibility of such a clearly

criminal act.

The city of Dresden was a historic center of Europe, and was known

world wide for its splendid architecture. It was the capital of Saxony,

and located along the banks of the Elbe river. Dresden had very little

industrial activity, and it was a target only once before in a small raid

by the US Air Force in October of 1944. It was a city that was also known

for its production of fine China, and its glorious museums (Dear 311).
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