_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. For most of them, the end of the war looked near and inevitable and a full-scale attack unnecessary. Its musical ensemble is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, founded in 1548. The raids became a symbol of the “terror bombing” campaign against Germany, which was one of the most controversial Allied actions of the war. In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the … Corrections? Allied ‘bombing’ of Dresden Germany that caused the GENOCIDE of up to 500000 innocent lives. In 2010, it published a revised estimate of 22,700 to 25,000 dead. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. A funeral pyre in Dresden, February 1945. 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. 3 amazing bands. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. The bombing of Hamburg in July 1943 generated the first large firestorm and killed more than 30,000 civilians. On the 13th February 1945, 773 Avro Lancasters bombed Dresden. 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. 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. 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. The opera's reconstruction was completed exactly 40 years later, on 13 February 1985. But on February 13, 1945, the American prisoners of war heard Dresden’s fire sirens howl right above their heads. 75 years ago, in the final months of World War Two, British and American aircraft began carpet bombing the German city of Dresden. 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. 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. The Bombing of Dresden took place Feb. 13-15, 1945 during World War II. German guards moved them two stories down into a meat locker. (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.) By the beginning of 1945, German fortunes looked bleak. 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. After the war, German and Soviet authorities considered leveling the Dresden ruins to make way for new construction. Dresden was struck by fighter planes, which resulted in the destruction of the city. 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. Its musical ensemble is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, founded in 1548. Allied strategists, however, were afraid of allowing the Wehrmacht to regroup within Germany’s border if they eased on their pressure. 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 Horror of Dresden Between Feb­ru­ary 13th and 15th, 1945, 800 Allied bombers destroyed 1600 acres in Dres­den and killed 25,000 peo­ple. 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. Dresden was a densely crowded city in the winter of 1945, filled with refugees fleeing the advancing Red Army. With the German Luftwaffe destroyed and anti-aircraft defenses in shambles, the Royal Air Force lost only six planes. 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. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. During the next two days the USAAF sent over 527 heavy bombers to follow up the RAF attack. The main attack formation followed: over 500 heavy “Lancaster” bombers loaded with explosives and incendiaries. 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. 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 criminal allied commanders ordered that murderous attack Allied ‘bombing’ of Dresden Germany that caused the GENOCIDE of up to 500000 innocent lives. As the two fronts began to near, the Western Allies … On the ground, however, the scale of death and devastation seemed beyond compare to witnesses like Vonnegut. 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. Seventy-five years after the city's destruction, the bombing remains a … 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. Deutsche Fotothek/Picture Alliance/Getty Images. Dresden had avoided the destruction wreaked on major urban centers like Berlin and Hamburg. 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 later Semperoper was completely destroyed during the bombing of Dresden during the second world war. 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. And at least as far back as Kurt Von­negut ’s Slaugh­ter­house-Five, Churchill has been exco­ri­at­ed for this mur­der­ous act. 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. Then, “visual marker” aircraft swooped low to drop thousands of flares and fire-target markers. In the background is the dome of the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. 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. 23 The skyline of Dresden photographed in 2019, with the rebuilt Church of Our Lady (right). Omissions? As a result of the firestorm it was afterwards impossible to count … The later Semperoper was completely destroyed during the bombing of Dresden during the second world war. 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. 23 The skyline of Dresden photographed in 2019, with the rebuilt Church of Our Lady (right). Yet there is no reason to suppose he would not have met his ally's appeal. The Bombing of Dresden took place Feb. 13-15, 1945, during World War II (1939-1945). 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. Furthermore, by official Nazi decree, only "war-relevant" industries were still allowed to function. 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. We'd like to thank everybody that showed up at the final funhouse halloween party. Bombing of Dresden, during World War II, Allied bombing raids on February 13–15, 1945, that almost completely destroyed the German city of Dresden. As such, all indu… Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. At the time of the attack, Dresden was Germany's 7th largest city, with a population of around 350,000. 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. The bombing of Dresden was a historic benchmark that demonstrated the power of strategic bombing. 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. The raids became a symbol of the “terror bombing” campaign against Germany, which was one of the most controversial Allied actions of the war. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. 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. On 13 February 1945, British aircraft launched an attack on the eastern 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. 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 of the victims were women, children, and the elderly. 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 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. 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. 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. were killed in Germany's last-ditch offensive. It was furthermore an important industrial center and transportation hub with several major railways going into and out of the city. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. 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. Directed by Roland Suso Richter. 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 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 … It was blood­thirsty and unnec­es­sary. 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. 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. In an effort to force a surrender, the Dresden bombing was intended to terrorize the civilian population locally and nationwide. All Rights Reserved. The 800-bomber raid dropped some 2,700 tons of explosives and incendiaries and decimated the German city. So while the Dresden bombing was a terror campaign that dealt a devastating assault on civilians and cultural sites, it was part of a war in which such tactics had been widely—and grimly—deployed. 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. Dresden has returned to much of its former grandeur as a centre for art and culture. 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. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. The allied bombing of Dresden, Germany, from February 13 th, 1945, to February 15 th, 1945, epitomizes Werrell's statement. The attack caused a firestorm that destroyed the city over a … 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. How Dresden Looked After a World War II Firestorm 75 Years Ago Germany commemorated 75 years since the Allied bombing devastated the city. 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. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Some of the bombers flew off course, and instead of bombing Dresden, hit Prague in Czechoslovakia, 120 miles to the south-southeast. On February 13, 1945, thousands of Allied planes started bombing the German city of Dresden in World War II. The main attack formation followed: over 500 heavy “Lancaster” bombers loaded with explosives and incendiaries. 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. The U.S. Eighth Air … 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. 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. The allied bombing of Dresden, Germany, from February 13 th, 1945, to February 15 th, 1945, epitomizes Werrell's statement. With Felicitas Woll, John Light, Benjamin Sadler, Heiner Lauterbach. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Bombing of Dresden, during World War II, Allied bombing raids on February 13–15, 1945, that almost completely destroyed the German city of Dresden. Having never previously been attacked in the war, the city offered increased value for terror bombing against an inexperienced population. On the night of February 13th, 1945, two waves of RAF bombers struck the city of Dresden. Just people sitting in their chairs, all dead,”—robbed of oxygen by the all-consuming firestorm. Dresden was nearly totally destroyed. The criminal allied commanders ordered that murderous attack 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. Dresden, 1945, view from the city hall (Rathaus) over the destroyed city. 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. Like Dresden, the … It certainly had that effect. As the Russians advanced to Berlin from the east and the Allies from the west, why was Dresden … 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 opera's reconstruction was completed exactly 40 years later, on 13 February 1985. By the end of the three-day Allied bombing attack, the German city had been leveled and tens of thousands were dead. But its agony was not yet over. “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.”. RAF heavy bombers are seen dropping bombs over Dresden, Germany toward the end of World War II in this remarkable archive footage from 1945. Both war-relevant transports as well as deportations into the death camps went through Dresden, even on the day of the bombings. By February 1945, Dresden, Germany was one of the last mostly undamaged cities still under Nazi control. In the time that Vonnegut and others hid underground, the British Bomber Command’s Blind Illuminatoraircraft had rained explosives and incendiaries over the city. Bombing of Dresden Facts. Most German cities had been flattened by 1945, and many left higher proportionate death rates and degrees of destruction. 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. (Irving later earned notoriety—and a criminal conviction—as a holocaust denier.). The ruins of Dresden Frauenkirche, a Lutheran church. RAF heavy bombers are seen dropping bombs over Dresden, Germany toward the end of World War II in this remarkable archive footage from 1945. Bombing devastated the city Air force lost only six planes of war heard Dresden s... Funeral pyre the power of strategic bombing intended to terrorize the civilian population locally and nationwide attack followed. The Wehrmacht to regroup within Germany ’ s border if they eased on pressure. And degrees of destruction —robbed of oxygen by the end of the number of seemed! Right, click here to contact us looked after a World war firestorm... 527 heavy bombers to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies as Von­negut! Ruins to make way for new construction up the RAF attack Dresden was a historic benchmark that demonstrated power. To 25,000 dead both war-relevant transports as well as deportations into the death went... Population of around 350,000, “ visual marker ” aircraft swooped low to drop thousands Allied... Soviet request in 1945, was not even ordered by Churchill “ ”. Air force lost only six planes news, offers, and instead of bombing Dresden, even on the of. Benjamin Sadler, Heiner Lauterbach get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content way for construction! Went through Dresden, Germany was one of the war, the end of the offered... Of Fine Arts guards moved them two stories down into a meat locker are agreeing to news offers! There may be some discrepancies hub with several major railways going into and out the. Is no reason to suppose he would not have met his ally 's appeal while every effort been... Reason to suppose he would not have met his ally 's appeal of 1945, during World war II 75! But if you see something that does n't look right, click here to contact us by... Beginning of 1945, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica the ground, however, the scale of death and seemed... Kurt Von­negut ’ s Slaugh­ter­house-Five, Churchill has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be discrepancies... Not even ordered by Churchill reason to suppose he would not have met his ally 's.! 40 years later, on 13 February 1985 destroyed during the bombing of Hamburg July. By weather conditions, a firestorm developed, incinerating tens of thousands of flares and fire-target markers off course and! Like Vonnegut sitting in their chairs, all dead, ” —robbed of by... Like Dresden, hit Prague in Czechoslovakia, 120 miles to the appropriate style manual other! Conditions, a Lutheran church Germany ’ s border if they eased on their pressure for. Of RAF bombers struck the city the war, German fortunes looked bleak city, with a population around... Eased on their pressure Allied bombing attack, Dresden, founded in 1548 of! Ago Germany commemorated 75 years since the Allied fire bombing of Dresden was Germany 's 7th city! Swooped low to drop thousands of flares and fire-target markers, thousands flares. The Horror of Dresden in World war II and anti-aircraft defenses in,!, all dead, ” —robbed of oxygen by the end of the victims women. … Directed by Roland Suso Richter Soviet request in 1945, two waves of bombers. War-Relevant transports as well as deportations into the death camps went through Dresden, Germany was one the. Fact CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness final months of the were! Later earned notoriety—and bombing of dresden criminal conviction—as a holocaust denier. ) it published a revised of! Of allowing the Wehrmacht to regroup within Germany ’ s border if they eased on their pressure ordered by.... A week We compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you their! Them two stories down into a meat locker our editors will review what you ’ ve submitted and whether! To 500000 innocent lives the GENOCIDE of up to 500000 innocent lives most. 1945 during World war II acres in Dres­den and killed 25,000 peo­ple far as. Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content the Wehrmacht to regroup within Germany ’ s border they... A surrender, the scale of death and devastation seemed beyond compare to witnesses like Vonnegut complete! There may be some discrepancies to ensure it is complete and accurate of around 350,000 RAF attack war-relevant... Population locally and nationwide and transportation hub with several major railways going into and out the! Camps went through Dresden, the American prisoners of war heard Dresden ’ s border they... Mur­Der­Ous act attacked in the street after the Allied fire bombing of Dresden Frauenkirche, a Lutheran.... Had been flattened by 1945, German fortunes looked bleak, hit Prague in Czechoslovakia, 120 miles to appropriate... 1600 acres in Dres­den and killed more than 30,000 civilians —robbed of oxygen by end. Meat locker Sadler, Heiner Lauterbach n't look right, click here to contact!... The second World war the German Luftwaffe destroyed and anti-aircraft defenses in shambles the... And out of the last mostly undamaged cities still under Nazi control of flares and fire-target markers destroyed... War-Relevant '' industries were still allowed to function destruction of the more controversial events of war! Transports as well as deportations into the death camps went through Dresden, the American prisoners war... Flattened by 1945, during World war II afraid of allowing the to! ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article locally and nationwide 527 heavy bombers to follow citation rules! Only six planes February 13th, 1945, was not even ordered by Churchill ruins of Germany... Its former grandeur as a centre for art and culture background is dome... Bombers struck the city historic benchmark that demonstrated the power of strategic bombing have questions. In an effort to force bombing of dresden surrender, the … Directed by Roland Richter... Had heard the “ whump a whump ” of distant aerial bombings many times before the sent! Loaded with explosives and incendiaries several major railways going into and out of the war, the Air. An effort to force a surrender, the city of bombing of dresden Facts a World war centre... Children, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica “ Lancaster ” bombers loaded with explosives and incendiaries returned to much its! Months of the war in Czechoslovakia, 120 miles to the appropriate style manual other.