As with the earlier British and American bombing of Dresden and other German cities, there was arguably little military justification for dropping the atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9. The Bombing of Dresden took place Feb. 13-15, 1945 during World War II. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Both war-relevant transports as well as deportations into the death camps went through Dresden, even on the day of the bombings. Its musical ensemble is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, founded in 1548. The allied bombing of Dresden, Germany, from February 13 th, 1945, to February 15 th, 1945, epitomizes Werrell's statement. were killed in Germany's last-ditch offensive. Dresden was a densely crowded city in the winter of 1945, filled with refugees fleeing the advancing Red Army. It is thought that some 25,000–35,000 civilians died in Dresden in the air attacks, though some estimates are as high as 250,000, given the influx of undocumented refugees that had fled to Dresden from the Eastern Front. The bombing of Dresden was a UK/US aerial bombing attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, that took place during the Second World War in the European Theatre.Germany would be forced to surrender three months later. Dresden has returned to much of its former grandeur as a centre for art and culture. Before World War II, Dresden was called “Florence on the Elbe” and was considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities because of its architecture and art treasures. Most German cities had been flattened by 1945, and many left higher proportionate death rates and degrees of destruction. The three-day bombing and the firestorm afterward destroyed the city, killing thousands of civilians and refugees who thought Dresden was the safest place they could be during the war. Some of the bombers flew off course, and instead of bombing Dresden, hit Prague in Czechoslovakia, 120 miles to the south-southeast. Ten Messerschmitt Me 110 night fighters of Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 based at Dresden-Klotzsc… Aided by weather conditions, a firestorm developed, incinerating tens of thousands of people. As a result of the firestorm it was afterwards impossible to count … Bombing of Dresden Facts. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Although 84 heavy anti-aircraft guns had been deployed around Dresden in the summer of 1944, by the middle of January, these had all been withdrawn to the east to counter the Soviet offensive. Furthermore, by official Nazi decree, only "war-relevant" industries were still allowed to function. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. On the 13th February 1945, 773 Avro Lancasters bombed Dresden. A romance between a British pilot hiding in Germany and a German nurse is shown on the background of massive allied bombing of Dresden towards the end of World War 2. 75 years ago, in the final months of World War Two, British and American aircraft began carpet bombing the German city of Dresden. By dawn on the 14th, hundreds of British bombers had swept over Dresden and dropped more than 1,400 tons of high-explosive bombs and more than 1,100 tons of incendiaries. _Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945_ consists of ten chapters (including the retrospect) by ten authorities on various aspects of the Dresden raids, from the post-WWI British military theory which in part justified the raids in the eyes of its planners, to the modern day reconstruction of the city's monuments. Though checked at the Battle of the Bulge in the west and with the Soviets pressing hard on the Eastern Front, the Third Reich continued to mount a stubborn defense. A special thanks goes out to Brad News and Dumpster Mummy for reaching out and making us dust off our instruments and gave us the opportunity to share the stage with them, Root Cellar and Orchids Curse. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/bombing-of-Dresden, History Learning Site - The Bombing of Dresden, Witness the strategic bombing of Hamburg and Dresden during World War II by the Allied force escalating in 1943. The Bombing of Dresden took place Feb. 13-15, 1945, during World War II (1939-1945). Just people sitting in their chairs, all dead,”—robbed of oxygen by the all-consuming firestorm. By February 1945, Dresden, Germany was one of the last mostly undamaged cities still under Nazi control. But his assertion that Dresden was the “Hiroshima of Germany” quickly drew serious criticism, not just for its lack of evidence, but also for ignoring the Holocaust. But its agony was not yet over. The 800-bomber raid dropped some 2,700 tons of explosives and incendiaries and decimated the German city. One of the more controversial events of World War II was the bombing of Dresden, Germany in the final months of the war. The punishing, three-day Allied bombing attack on Dresden from February 13 to 15 in the final months of World War II became among the most controversial Allied actions of the war. Corrections? The later Semperoper was completely destroyed during the bombing of Dresden during the second world war. At the Dresden train station, with its huge, vaulted roof, where thousands of people had crammed into the city’s largest shelter during the first bombing wave, still more tried forcing their way in during the second raid, creating strata of corpses from the platforms to the bottom of the shelter. Bombing of Dresden, during World War II, Allied bombing raids on February 13–15, 1945, that almost completely destroyed the German city of Dresden. The railway yards, near the center of Dresden, had been targeted and bombed twice before the night of February 13 by the USAAF Eighth Air Force in daytime raids: on October 7, 1944, with 70 tons of high-explosive bombs, and then again with 133 bombers on January 16, 1945, during which 279 tons of high-explosives and 41 tons of incendiaries were dropped. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The allied bombing of Dresden, Germany, from February 13 th, 1945, to February 15 th, 1945, epitomizes Werrell's statement. The bombing of Dresden by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) between February 13 and February 15, 1945 remains one of the more controversial events of World War II.Historian Frederick Taylor said: The destruction of Dresden has an epically tragic quality to it. All Rights Reserved. It certainly had that effect. Yet there is no reason to suppose he would not have met his ally's appeal. Less than three months later, and eight days after Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker, the German High Command signed the unconditional surrender of all German forces. 23 The skyline of Dresden photographed in 2019, with the rebuilt Church of Our Lady (right). Bodies in the street after the Allied fire bombing of Dresden, Germany in February 1945. Omissions? David Irving would claim in his 1963 book, The Destruction of Dresden, that the bombing was “the biggest single massacre in European history.” His estimate of 150,000 to 200,000 dead was long accepted without dispute. As shocking as such an enormous number of dead is, it did not stand out in the war’s history of “strategic bombing” of cities. Dresden had avoided the destruction wreaked on major urban centers like Berlin and Hamburg. In 2010, it published a revised estimate of 22,700 to 25,000 dead. “Those who have unlearned how to cry,” lamented Nobel Prize recipient and Prussian dramatist Gerhart Hauptmann, “will learn it afresh on the destruction of Dresden.”. And yes, that was indeed cold blooded murder as Dresden had absolutely NO ‘military value’ at all and was overladen with millions of refugees fleeing the advancing Soviet armies. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Attempts to treat the bombing of Dresden as a war crime perpetrated against the innocent inhabitants of a historical cultural centre of no industrial or military significance began two days after the attack. How Dresden Looked After a World War II Firestorm 75 Years Ago Germany commemorated 75 years since the Allied bombing devastated the city. The raids became a symbol of the “terror bombing” campaign against Germany, which was one of the most controversial Allied actions of the war. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the … Seventy-five years after the city's destruction, the bombing remains a … We'd like to thank everybody that showed up at the final funhouse halloween party. But on February 13, 1945, the American prisoners of war heard Dresden’s fire sirens howl right above their heads. Observers noted early on that the bombing of Dresden did not only mean the death of civilians, but the destruction of a center of European culture and Baroque splendor. Deutsche Fotothek/Picture Alliance/Getty Images. (The bombing of Dresden is the one major event of the second world war that Churchill does not mention, even in passing, in his six-volume history of the war.) Allied ‘bombing’ of Dresden Germany that caused the GENOCIDE of up to 500000 innocent lives. Dresden, 1945, view from the city hall (Rathaus) over the destroyed city. Like Dresden, the … On the morning of February 14, the bombing of Dresden left the city dying and burning, its own funeral pyre. The firebombing campaign was supposed to begin with an United StatesArmy Air Forces Eighth Air Force raid on … They had heard the “whump a whump” of distant aerial bombings many times before. In the time that Vonnegut and others hid underground, the British Bomber Command’s Blind Illuminator aircraft had rained explosives and incendiaries over the city. The Bombing of Dresden was one of the aerial assaults launched by the United States and Great Britain to stop any attempt to revive World War II.The three-day bombing and the firestorm afterward destroyed the city, killing thousands of civilians and refugees who thought Dresden was the safest place they could be during the war. Its musical ensemble is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, founded in 1548. And yes, that was indeed cold blooded murder as Dresden had absolutely NO ‘military value’ at all and was overladen with millions of refugees fleeing the advancing Soviet armies. Having never previously been attacked in the war, the city offered increased value for terror bombing against an inexperienced population. By the beginning of 1945, German fortunes looked bleak. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Allied strategic bombing over Germany escalating in 1943. For most of them, the end of the war looked near and inevitable and a full-scale attack unnecessary. After reunification in 1990, Germany undertook the extensive reconstruction of the inner city as a moral and political objective, unveiling new works at various stages with much fanfare in an effort still ongoing in the 21st century. RAF heavy bombers are seen dropping bombs over Dresden, Germany toward the end of World War II in this remarkable archive footage from 1945. On the ground, however, thousands of small fires merged into a powerful firestorm that created such powerful winds that it sucked oxygen, fuel, broken structures, and people into its flames. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. As such, all indu… A funeral pyre in Dresden, February 1945. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. The U.S. Eighth Air … © 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC. In an effort to force a surrender, the Dresden bombing was intended to terrorize the civilian population locally and nationwide. At the time of the attack, Dresden was Germany's 7th largest city, with a population of around 350,000. The U.S. Eighth Air Force attacked the next day with another 400 tons of bombs and launched yet another raid with 210 bombers on February 15. And while the German Blitz over England became the subject of many books and movies, the Luftwaffen raids on Eastern European cities such as Belgrade (more than 17,000 dead) or Warsaw (up to 25,000 dead) were far more deadly—to say nothing of non-nuclear city bombings in Japan. The Bombing of Dresden The bombing of Dresden was a major military action by the alliance of the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force. The bombs began to fall shortly after 10:00 p.m., and shortly after the first wave had left, a second wave arrived to continue the attack. The bombing of Dresden was a historic benchmark that demonstrated the power of strategic bombing. Then, “visual marker” aircraft swooped low to drop thousands of flares and fire-target markers. In part to prevent right-wing ideologues from exploiting wide-spread speculations about the death toll, the city of Dresden set up an historical commission in 2004 to produce more precise data with historical, military, forensic and archeological research. Critics say that the military value of the bombing did not justify Dresden’s near destruction and that the city could have been spared, like Rome, Paris, and Kyōto. 3 amazing bands. (Irving later earned notoriety—and a criminal conviction—as a holocaust denier.). On the night of February 13th, 1945, two waves of RAF bombers struck the city of Dresden. The Allied assault came a less than a month after some 19,000 U.S. troops were killed in Germany's last-ditch offensive at the Battle of the Bulge, and three weeks after the grim discovery of the atrocities committed by Nazi forces at Auschwitz. Allied strategists, however, were afraid of allowing the Wehrmacht to regroup within Germany’s border if they eased on their pressure. By dawn on the 14th, hundreds of British bombers had swept over Dresden and dropped more than 1,400 tons of high-explosive bombs and more than 1,100 tons of incendiaries. A force of 316 Boeing B-17s arrived and bombed through cloud cover using H2X—a new ground-scanning radar developed for bombing when the target could not be visually sighted. Bombing of Dresden, during World War II, Allied bombing raids on February 13–15, 1945, that almost completely destroyed the German city of Dresden. Initial—and partisan—estimates of the number of dead seemed to suggest that the Dresden Bombing was uniquely cruel. With the German Luftwaffe destroyed and anti-aircraft defenses in shambles, the Royal Air Force lost only six planes. At the Dresden train station, with its huge, vaulted roof, where thousands of people had crammed into the city’s largest shelter during the first bombing wave, still more tried forcing their way in during the second raid, creating strata of corpses from the platforms to … On February 13, 1945, thousands of Allied planes started bombing the German city of Dresden in World War II. Most of the victims were women, children, and the elderly. The Horror of Dresden Between Feb­ru­ary 13th and 15th, 1945, 800 Allied bombers destroyed 1600 acres in Dres­den and killed 25,000 peo­ple. During the next two days the USAAF sent over 527 heavy bombers to follow up the RAF attack. The bombing of Dresden was a British-American aerial bombing attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, during World War II.In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces … Taking place in World War II, their target was to take out a popular area that was used as a major rail communication and transportation centre. The opera's reconstruction was completed exactly 40 years later, on 13 February 1985. As the Allied forces closed in on the Third Reich in 1945, such targets became more feasible because of the air superiority and improved navigation techniques of the Anglo-American bomber force. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. As the Russians advanced to Berlin from the east and the Allies from the west, why was Dresden … Dresden, a city unaffected by bombing up to that point in the war, lost many thousands of civilians in the firestorm that was created by the Allies. Given the high number of civilian casualties and the relatively few strategic targets, some even called the bombing of Dresden a war crime, though both the British and the American militaries defended the bombing as necessary. When they came back to the surface, “the city was gone,” remembered writer and social critic Kurt Vonnegut—one of the American POWs who witnessed the bombing of Dresden. Directed by Roland Suso Richter. As a major center for Nazi Germany’s rail and road network, Dresden’s destruction was intended to overwhelm German authorities and services and clog all transportation routes with throngs of refugees. The attack caused a firestorm that destroyed the city over a … Dresden, a city unaffected by bombing up to that point in the war, lost many thousands of civilians in the firestorm that was created by the Allies. Updates? In the background is the dome of the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. On the ground, however, the scale of death and devastation seemed beyond compare to witnesses like Vonnegut. The opera's reconstruction was completed exactly 40 years later, on 13 February 1985. It was furthermore an important industrial center and transportation hub with several major railways going into and out of the city. 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. The criminal allied commanders ordered that murderous attack Throughout the war, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had called for increased British air raids against the population centres of Germany in order to swamp German authorities and services, particularly transportation, with hordes of refugees. After the war, German and Soviet authorities considered leveling the Dresden ruins to make way for new construction. Assigned to a sanitary clean-up crew after the bombing, POW Vonnegut had to dig into shelters and basements which “looked like a streetcar full of people who simultaneously had heart failure. The main attack formation followed: over 500 heavy “Lancaster” bombers loaded with explosives and incendiaries. RAF heavy bombers are seen dropping bombs over Dresden, Germany toward the end of World War II in this remarkable archive footage from 1945. As the two fronts began to near, the Western Allies … Bombing Dresden, at Soviet request in 1945, was not even ordered by Churchill. The later Semperoper was completely destroyed during the bombing of Dresden during the second world war. The criminal allied commanders ordered that murderous attack On the night of February 13, the British Bomber Command hit Dresden with an 800-bomber air raid, dropping some 2,700 tons of bombs, including large numbers of incendiaries. The Bombing of Dresden The bombing of Dresden was a major military action by the alliance of the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force. It was blood­thirsty and unnec­es­sary. Dresden was nearly totally destroyed. Then, “visual marker” aircraft swooped low to drop thousands of flares and fire-target markers. Many Germans perceived a particular injustice in the late bombing of Dresden in February in 1945—a sentiment that gained some international traction in the postwar years. But local leaders forced a compromise for rebuilding part of the city centre and placing the modern construction outside—in effect, encircling old Dresden with a newer city. By the end of the three-day Allied bombing attack, the German city had been leveled and tens of thousands were dead. Since the rule of August the Strong (1670-1733), the “German Florence” on the Elbe, was home to famous collections of art, porcelain collection, prints, scientific instruments, and jewelry. In the time that Vonnegut and others hid underground, the British Bomber Command’s Blind Illuminatoraircraft had rained explosives and incendiaries over the city. German guards moved them two stories down into a meat locker. Allied ‘bombing’ of Dresden Germany that caused the GENOCIDE of up to 500000 innocent lives. 23 The skyline of Dresden photographed in 2019, with the rebuilt Church of Our Lady (right). The bombing of Dresden in February 1945 has remained one of the more controversial aspects of World War Two.Dresden, a city unaffected by bombing up to that point in the war, lost many thousands of civilians in the firestorm that was created by the Allies. Dresden was struck by fighter planes, which resulted in the destruction of the city. The bombing of Hamburg in July 1943 generated the first large firestorm and killed more than 30,000 civilians. The U.S. Eighth Air Force followed the next day with another 400 tons of bombs and carried out yet another raid by 210 bombers on February 15. The Bombing of Dresden was one of the aerial assaults launched by the United States and Great Britain to stop any attempt to revive World War II. The ruins of Dresden Frauenkirche, a Lutheran church. The U.S. Army alone had suffered almost 140,000 casualties from December to January 1945 and 27,000 in the week prior to the Dresden bombing alone—the heaviest losses in the Western Allies’ war against Hitler. Taking place in World War II, their target was to take out a popular area that was used as a major rail communication and transportation centre. The raids became a symbol of the “terror bombing” campaign against Germany, which was one of the most controversial Allied actions of the war. The upcoming anniversary of the bombing of Dresden (February 13 to 15, 1945) has highlighted the deliberately-obscured fact that the British, and not the Germans, started the mass bombing of civilians in World War II, and that this remains one of the great unpunished war crimes of the Twentieth Century. With Felicitas Woll, John Light, Benjamin Sadler, Heiner Lauterbach. On 13 February 1945, British aircraft launched an attack on the eastern German city of Dresden. 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