At 10:10 p.m. on Feb. 13, 1945, some 1000 British bombers and support craft attacked the German city of Dresden. There were no military targets in Dresden, and the population had nearly doubled over the winter months as a result of the massive influx of refugees fleeing the advancing Soviet troops. British air commander Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris has stated that the object of this particular exercise was to set the city on fire. This purpose was expedited by the dropping of 3000 high explosive and 650,000 incendiary bombs. The absence of any kind of anti-aircraft response mechanism made it easy to fly in low and hit targets such as hospitals and factories with pinpoint accuracy. This first attack created a firestorm unlike anything ever seen before, a firestorm miles high and thousands of acres in area, a veritable tornado of fire that could be seen from hundreds of miles away.
Three hours after the first attack, a second wave of British bombers struck at the center of the city, to keep the firestorm going, and at the edges of the conflagration, to expand it outward. The timing of this second attack strongly suggests that it was intended to target rescue workers, firefighters and surviving civilians as they emerged from the air-raid shelters.
Ash Wednesday saw rescue workers and medical personnel from all over Germany converge on the ruined city just in time for a third assault. This time more than 300 American “Flying Fortresses” and a support contingent of fighters finished the job the British had so effectively begun. The bombers reignited the firestorm, and the little Mustangs strafed civilians wherever they gathered. As many as 135,000 people were killed, nearly all civilians. None of them had cellphones, so their last words are lost to posterity.
This is topical as there is a growing Zeitgiest surrounding the historical accounting of the horrific treatment of German civilians at the end and immediate aftermath of WW2.
Mass rape, the firebombing of Dresden, the mass murder of civilian refugees, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the ethnic cleansing of German’s from large sections of Central and Eastern Europe etc are all being re-examined.
Some further reading:
The horrow of Germany at the end of WWII
Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff
The Damned Don’t Drown : The Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff
Krebsgang (Crabwalk) by Guenter Grass [ Now in English. Named after the way crabs retreat slowly backwards when threatened ]
BBC reports on the book http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1808000/1808768.stm
Fall of Berlin
The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan
The Fall of Berlin by Anthony Read, David Fisher
Firebombing of Dresden & Hamburg
Apocalypse 1945, The Destruction of Dresden by David Irving (Free e-book)
The Devils Tinderbox by Alexander McKee
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
Expulsion of Ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe
A Terrible Revenge : The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans, 1944-1950 by Alfred-Maurice de Zayas
Nemesis at Potsdam by Alfred-Maurice de Zayas