Most Germans who died in World War II were killed during the last year of war, and the firebombing of Dresden, an old Saxon city, was the most infamous case. This was a cultural center where there were no military targets. The only conceivable target of military value, the connection of railroad lines, was unharmed, as were military installations 60 miles outside the city. The British and American planes focused on killing civilian men, women and children.
It had long been a sport for British and American pilots to dive down and fire on German civilians on the ground. Then in Hamburg in 1943, they killed 50,000 people, deliberately targeting densely populated areas instead of industries and transportation centers. In Dresden they could take the tactic a step further. This seems to be in line with the Morgenthau Plan, written down by President Roosevelt's Jewish advisor Henry Morgenthau, which called for the extermination of all Germans after the war and the partitioning of Germany between France, the Netherlands and Poland.
Not one military unit or anti-aircraft gun was located in Dresden; instead this ancient city of craftsmen and artists was a hospital city for wounded soldiers. It was also housing 600,000 refugees from Breslau, so that altogether 1.2 million Germans were living closely together in the city. Winston Churchill knew this. He had asked for “suggestions how to blaze 600,000 refugees.”
The attack came on February 13, 1945. More than 700,000 phosphorous bombs were dropped, one bomb for every two people. The temperature in the city reached 1,600 degrees Celsius. The firestorm was so great that people were sucked into the flames by the vacuum they created.
Fourteen hours of hell began, as the ancient city was destroyed.
The destruction of Dresden was planned before the Yalta Conference, where Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin would sit down to divide the world between them. Before the talks, Churchill wanted “a thunderclap of Anglo-American annihilation” with which to impress Stalin. Bad weather delayed the raid, but Churchill ordered it carried out anyway, to “disrupt and confuse” the German people. A RAF memo said, “The intentions of the attack are to hit the enemy where he will feel it most … and to show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do.”
The first bomb fell at 10.09 pm, and the bombing went on for 24 minutes. Then the Allied planes pulled back for three hours and let the flames do their work. The long pause was calculated to draw in Germans who tried to help those trapped in the fires and rescue the wounded.
To escape the flames, ten thousand Germans had taken refuge in the undamaged Grosser Garten, a magnificent park nearly one and a half miles square. Then the second raid came, at 1.22 am. Twice as many bombers returned with new bombs. The second raid was designed to also target the Grosser Garten, which the British must have known would be the place for refugees to escape to.
A wave of flames cut through the gathered people in the garden, who were all burned alive.
Others had hidden in tunnels below ground. The heat caused their bodies to melt, eyes and skin first.
Shortly after 10.30 the next morning, the last raid came. For 38 minutes, American bombers burned what was left of the city.
Throughout the attacks, American Mustangs strafed low over the ground, killing anyone that moved, even attacking a column of rescue vehicles rushing to the city. One Mustang attack was aimed at the banks of the Elbe River, where refugees had gathered during the night.
The American author Kurt Vonnegut was in Dresden as a war prisoner during the attack, and managed to survive. He wrote the book Slaughterhouse Five in 1969 to describe the attack; it took that long before he could write a book that presented Germans as victims. As a war prisoner he had been commanded to help bury the dead, and he described the mountains of corpses he dug through. The book was banned in several U.S. states and was called “a tool of the devil” in North Dakota.
As Vonnegut pointed out, more people died in Dresden than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. More than 250,000, possibly as many as half a million, perished during those fourteen hours.
Apologists for the attack often try to “twin” it with the attack on the English city of Coventry. However, Coventry was a munitions center and therefore a legitimate target. Dresden produced no guns, only porcelain. In Coventry 380 people died in a military action – in Dresden hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed in an attack deliberately designed to kill as many Germans as possible.
1,600 acres of land were destroyed in Dresden. By contrast, only 600 acres were damaged in London during the entire war.
The memory of Dresden after the war
The Dresden bombing has been deliberately toned down after the war. The “Blitz over London” and the “Battle of Britain” are a far bigger focus than the Dresden massacre. No movies are made to commemorate Dresden, and those in charge of the massacre, such as Winston Churchill, were never brought to trial. Churchill could instead go on to plan a massive dropping of anthrax bombs over Germany, which never came to pass because Germany was occupied before the attack could be carried out.
The numbers of dead in Dresden has been downplayed to a few tens of thousands, and they are always mentioned in connection to dead non-Germans - the opposite does not occur. To mention now that hundreds of thousands died makes a person suspect. Paradoxically, communist organizations celebrate the bombing of Dresden, as they celebrate all massacres of Germans.
After the war, pictures of piles of bodies from Dresden have been used as picture evidence of gassed Jews in concentration camps. This has happened not just once, but often in what seems a deliberate campaign. In fact, not a single gassed body has been found, despite claims by Jewish inmates of a mass grave just outside the Auschwitz gates. (The ground was examined thoroughly; the mass grave did not exist. After this it was said instead that all the bodies had been cremated.)
|Burned victims after the Dresden Massacre. This and similar pictures were often used after the war as fake photographic proof of Jewish gas victims.|
|Communists in Germany today, celebrating British Air Marshal Arthur Harris who deliberately ordered the mass killing of German civilians, claiming that it would shorten the war|