Thursday, 14 February 2013

Was Dresden Bombing Justified?

Whenever Allied war crimes are mentioned during the second World War, the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the first to be mentioned but a close second is the bombing of Dresden in East Germany which happened today in 1945.
A total of 1249 bombers of the British Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces dropped more than 4000 tons of high-explosive and incendiary devices on the city, destroying fifteen square miles and killing at least 25,000 and 68 years later
there are still discussions of whether the Dresden attacks were right.
The justification at the time was that the city was was a military and industrial target with major rail transportation and communication centre, housing 110 factories and 50,000 workers supporting the German war effort.
The evidence shows that the extensive industrial areas in the suburbs were not targeted, nor were the major bridges but on the destroyed list were 640 shops, 64 warehouses, 39 schools, 31 hotels, 27 insurance buildings, 26 public houses, 24 banks, 20 hospitals, 19 post offices, 18 cinemas, 11 churches, 6 chapels, 3 theatres, 2 market halls, Dresden zoo and the waterworks.
An enquiry after the event stated the raid was justified to stop the retreating Germans from using Dresden as a base of operations and to to disrupt the industrial use of Dresden for munitions manufacture and secondary justification was to provide air support for the Soviet offensive toward Berlin and therefore the raid had legitimate military ends.
Still the argument goes on whether the bombing of Dresden was justified and necessary or immoral and a war crime.


Nog said...

I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Lucy said...

I think it was a bit controversial even at the time, hence the quick justifications after it.

Anonymous said...

It was a war crime! Hang Ike, Churchill, Patton, Roosevelt, Nimitz, MacArthur, Monty, and all the rest… ooops they are dead. Do it anyway!! – don’t let them be seen as the leaders in ending the worst threat to human freedom since the pharos. Let’s worry about the past to avoid the present!!

Now let’s go ruin the reputation of every Western leader so that none except Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Stalin, and Castro are considered great!!

What is the point Lucy?

Lucy said...

We can't question controversial events in history anymore just in case we don't come out of it in a very good light?

Q said...
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Cheezy said...

As much sympathy as I always have for the innocent victims of politics, greed and war, there are two things that I really despise about the 'Dresden question'.

One is the continued demonisation of Bomber Command (which is admittedly not as strong now as it used to be) but which is still there. These men were heroes. The only more dangerous job there was during the entirety of WW2 was being in a German U-Boat.

The other is that it kind of implies that British cities got off lightly by comparison. Modern Londoners should be interested in having a look at this...

...and cities like Coventry and Sunderland were similarly treated.

Lucy said...

But was it justified? Was it a decision made to end the war quicker, to further reduce the Germans military capacity and help the Soviets advancing from the East or revenge for them blitzing our cities and a show to the Soviets? Both sides have made an argument of it, neither seems to clinch the justified/unjustified answer much like Hiroshima/Nagasaki.