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.