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Official report: Dresden bombing killed 25,000

AFP · 17 Mar 2010, 17:39

Published: 17 Mar 2010 17:39 GMT+01:00

After more than five years of research, the Dresden Historians' Commission released its final report on the firestorm unleashed by British and US bombers February 13-15, 1945, just three months before the end of the war in Europe.

The study is meant to resolve a bitter debate that has raged for decades, with far-right groups claiming that up to 500,000 people were killed in the "criminal" air assault on the Baroque city known as "Florence on the Elbe."

Conservative estimates had put the death toll at around 20,000.

The panel of historians was convened in November 2004 by then mayor Ingolf Rossberg in a bid to put the issue to rest.

The commission reviewed records from city archives, cemeteries, official registries and courts and checked them against published reports and witness accounts.

The figure of 25,000 matches conclusions reached by local authorities immediately after the war, in 1945 and 1946.

The report also found that the number of refugees fleeing the horrors of the Eastern front who were killed in the bombing was lower than often presumed, and dismissed speculation that many victims' bodies were never recovered.

Critics of the raids say they were strategically unnecessary, as Hitler's Germany was already on its knees, and targeted civilians rather than military objectives.

The commission said its conclusions had far-reaching implications for history's understanding of the war's final chapter, and how Germans see their own role in the war.

Story continues below…

"Remembering the Allied bombings of Dresden... still carries importance for the social-political understanding of how history is seen, how society is shaped, and how identities are formed," it said.

"In this debate, the number of people killed in the raids on Dresden has long been a crux of the argument that is key to certain views."

The raid on Dresden, previously almost untouched by the Allied air assault on Nazi Germany, sparked a firestorm which destroyed much of the historic city.

In February, some 6,400 neo-Nazis rallied on the 65th anniversary of the devastating bombing raids. They aimed to stage a "funeral march" as well, but around 12,000 counter-protesters blocked their demonstration.

Your comments about this article

18:14 March 17, 2010 by michael4096
the stated aim of bombing civilian centers by both sides was to demoralize front line troops and I expect the world to now outlaw the practice because it really isn't a good reason - but, I guess I can carry on waiting
19:12 March 17, 2010 by tofukitty
I believe those who managed to live through it and find this offical report offensive to those who lost relatives in those three days.
19:32 March 17, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Yeah. I'd love to see an incendiary bomb destroy a concrete bridge. Please, show me.
22:05 March 17, 2010 by Beachrider
Dresden was one of many horrific times during this war. Unprecedented numbers of civilians died in both the European and Pacific areas. There were a large number of awful incidents inflicted by Japanese and German forces as well as situations inflicted by the Soviet, English and American forces.

Poland and the Baltics lost the highest percentage of their populations. The Soviets were next, then the Greeks and then the Germans. Numeric losses were the highest in the Soviet Union and China.

Losses in WWII were often tragic. With dozens of European 'hot spots'. Hopefully, we have learned and will avoid doing it again.
01:15 March 18, 2010 by dcgi
25,000 :-O
02:51 March 18, 2010 by Talonx
Bernie1927, let's always judge things on how 'pat' they see!
04:15 March 18, 2010 by Thames
Wow I am relieved only 25,000 murdered.

Certainly not enough to be classified as a war crime.

Now Churchill can be considered for sainthood.
09:20 March 18, 2010 by Celeon
@ jmforge

They do actually. In their own way.

The statue erected in Westminster, London for Marshal of the Royal Airforce Arthur "Bomber" Harris is under 24 hours police guard because of several acts of vandalism on it.

There were protests in Germany and England as well over the statue and when it was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth , the Queen mother, the crowd jeered at her which she was quite surprised about.

The area bombing campaign on german cities was Harris' idea and planning. He also made some quite cynical comments about it.

Britain was not united behind that campaign. Churchill, as prime minister, carried the responsibility for allowing Harris' campaign but after the war Churchill tried to distance himself from that responsibility.
09:24 March 18, 2010 by Portnoy
In The Fog of War, then American Defense Minister Robert MacNamara admits he knew he'd be tried for war crimes if the Americans lost the war for intentionally bombing civilian targets in Japan.

In short: war sucks.
11:19 March 18, 2010 by Major B
@ Portnoy

whoa. Mcnamara was Sec of Defense during the Vietnam Conflict, 1965 - 1973. During WWII, the US had a Secretary of War. Howard Stimson was his name and I doubt very much that he was concerned about war crimes charges. Have heard nothing about war crimes against the Sec of Defense resulting from the Vietnam conflict although Mcnamara later wrote a book in which he claimed the conflict was a mistake. 58,000 US casualties a mistake!!! Iraq a mistake now says whiz kid Karl Rove, a 1st Class member of the last adminstrations inner circle. Dresden was a crime -- period and so unnecessary. Pity the German govmt is equating the Kunduz bombing to it,
11:38 March 18, 2010 by AirForceGuy
The German V-1 and V-2 attacks on Britain could have been just as bad. Fortunately the V-1 and V-2's were not very accurate or reliable, but the same intent was there. War is just plain ugly, two opposite governments trying to kill each other. How crazy is that?
12:18 March 18, 2010 by Portnoy
Yeah I always get it wrong when he was defense guy. Was he at Ford then? I wish there was some service where you could put in a few keywords and get an answer to stuff like that (I kid).

In any case, this is what he said in Fog of War about his role in the firebombing of Japan in WWII:

LeMay said, "If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals." And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?
14:37 March 18, 2010 by mid503
What a laugh. I wonder what kind of arm twisting took place to get this report signed off? Despite what is hoped, this pathetic effort will not stop the discussion.

Of course the 'new improved' number has little to with reality since six weeks after the attack Dresden's Mayor reported that one hundred thousand names had been registered as "missing" (i.e. dead) and that figure represents those not already identified. Approximately 40,000 bodies have been discovered since war's end.

So, in Soviet Germany, it is important to minimize the numbers of German war dead while doing everything possible to magnify the number of victims of National Socialism.
15:12 March 18, 2010 by wood artist
Although it may be historically important to try and identify the true number of lost lives, it has no effect on the horrific and needless toll this raid took. In the end, only two facts are important.

First, there was no military justification for the raid, and everyone involved knew that going in. The decision was made unrelated to any potential military gain, and carried out largely because the allies had a large air armada with little left to do.

Second, when you count the tragedies of the war, regardless of what population group was involved, regardless of which "side" was involved, one truth remains, and it is this.

If the original charter for the Nürnberg Tribunal did not include the words "only Germans can be charged under this tribunal" then every country involved in the war would have been represented in the dock. The Russians, for what they did in the former eastern countries and Germany, the British for what they did, primarily from the air, and the Americans, mostly for their air attacks in Japan. In addition, all the allies participated in the "repatriation" and forced dislocation throughout post-war Europe that rivals anything Germany did before and during the war.

In short, the war was a humanitarian disaster on all sides and all fronts. It would be nice if we learned from that, but I fear few did. Genocide has not disappeared, and we still fight over disputed territory. Sad.

wa
15:20 March 18, 2010 by dbert4
Because war is a GLORIOUS endeavour if one wins. Haven't you seen any American war movies, lots of flag, loud music and the Americans save everyone. It's great fun!
15:32 March 18, 2010 by Talonx
mid503, regarding the number reported missing, they didn't have internet or computational services and multiple people would be reported at multiple places as missing, leading to multiplications. Regardless, an atrocity is an atrocity, I can agree with that.

But regarding your last point concerning 'Soviet Germany', what are you talking about. It was always concieved of as a tragic loss of life, even in the East.
15:40 March 18, 2010 by snowey
After the unspeakable acts which Germans enthusiastically carried out during the Second World War they got what they deserved in Dresden , Hamburg et al.
15:55 March 18, 2010 by Henckel
I've always thought that the total most have been more than 25,000, if only because so many refugees had fled from the east in advance of the Soviet army. That was one reason why casualties were so high in Berlin, in addition to the ferocity of the fighting there.
16:52 March 18, 2010 by magdelana
All sides commited war crimes. But only some had to answear. Two wrong's don't make a right. Revenge is always wrong. They always tell us not to forget. But they clearly have. Since we are going right back up the creek. Sincerely and Respectfuly.
18:18 March 18, 2010 by mixxim
GOD looks after his own! Those bombing Dresden knew that the bad ones would be killed and the good go to heaven, so why complain?
18:40 March 18, 2010 by Thames
@snowey

Since you are such a rightoeus judge who knows the thoughts and intentions of 65 million people. What is the just punishment for the Turks against the Armenias, The British against a whole host of peoples, the Belgians in the Congo, etc..? How about the slave labours who were killed in Dresden did they deserve to be killed? If a policeman kills thousands of innocents to arrest one criminal in most countries he would be arrested himself.

Criminals are in no position to judge other criminals.

The British government has no moral authority to judge anyone.

Most of their victims have never had justice.

War is terrible and should be avoided but if conducted civilians should not be targeted.
19:08 March 18, 2010 by mixxim
The Allied forces were blessed and even encouraged by Priests. Therefore it must have been a holy war and as everyone knows killing the enemy is not murder. If anyone believes this they are as nutty as the Church that spouts this nonsense.
22:16 March 18, 2010 by dbert4
Some people have their information incorrect, the Brits were the first to bomb Germany.

" In 1939, following the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France, the war in the West began. Britain struck first, bombing warships and light vessels in several German harbors on 3 and 4 September. Eight German Kriegsmarine men were killed at Wilhelmshaven - the war's first casualties to British bombs; attacks on ships at Cuxhaven and Heligoland followed."

As for Dresden, that was an act of pure spite. Only 3 months before the war ended, there wasn't any military reason at all.
23:29 March 18, 2010 by historybuff
There should be a study like this to find out how many Jewish people died in German labor camps. The great WWII historian William L. Shirer puts the upper limit at around 4.5 million. Most historians are afraid to speculate about the number because it would be bad for their careers. If a study was done, a more accurate number could be developed, and any individual historian would not have to worry about bad things happening to their career if the number was different than the one most people use now.
02:55 March 19, 2010 by anpasa
It's a given that Dresden was unnecessary from a military point of view. The firebombing was a terror tactic, plain, simple, and intentional. As I recall, there was great deal of controversy among the senior staff about the raid, and a number of senior officers openly deplored it as unnecessary & dishonorable. By '45, however, the militarists among the Allies were becoming more influential that the "old guard" who still believed that civilians should never be targeted (regardless of what the other side had done). The same thing--firebombing of civilian population centers--was being done in Japan as well, culminating ultimately with Hiroshima and Nagasaki (two more target with little military value). Whatever moral high ground we had gained up until 1945 was lost, and we still have not retrieved it.
04:17 March 19, 2010 by Thames
@debert4

You are correct.

Also remember in the Battle of Britain Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe

to avoid civilian targets. IT was only after the saintly British began night bombing of German cities that Hitler ordered retaliation.

Addtionally the German Luftwaffe was not designed for large scale massive raids on cities but used smaller bombers as flying atttlery to support the Army.

Germany's small fast bombers were not very usefull for bombing cities and were never intended for that purpose. As large as London was it would have

been nearly impossible for these small bombers to destroy the city.
06:34 March 19, 2010 by vonSchwerin
William Shirer was not a historian. He was a journalist, and in NO WAY are his books to be relied upon as serious historical documents. If you don't believe me, check out the famous historian Klaus Epstein's review Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. That book, which is probably the most famous book in English about Nazi Germany, contains a lot of utter rubbish.
14:26 March 19, 2010 by Gaffers
BOTH sides committed attrocities. That is beyond question. However 70 years later it is stupid to drag through this. Trying to apportion blame has no value at all and only continues to fuel the division. There's a lot of hypothosising in the comments which can not be confirmed. What is acceptable in war? Do innocents have to die to serve the greater good? Even if Dresden had no military targets it served a military purpose. To demoralise the population ahead of the final big push. Whether that is right or wrong is open to personal opinion. Terrorism's only goal is to demoralise. that's why it happens.

We should learn from the past but let the past go...
14:43 March 19, 2010 by Talonx
lal mani sharma, I would never equate a people to their government. Firstly, no government in existence is based off of delegation of responsibility by the people to a political class (that would be called 'delegates'). What we have are 'representatives' that needn't worry about the things we actually want. Secondly, it is ultimate arogance to assume that all within the confines of the laws of any one nation are indeed supporters of said nations barbaric policies. As an anti-nationalist with American citizenship, I take offence and call you out as making claims only explainable through essentialistic turns of discourse.
15:41 March 19, 2010 by chrishale53
Comments on this site about Second World War history reveal shocking ignorance about well documented history - and many expose the ugly side of German 'memory'.

These comments about the Dresden raids are no exception. Have you read nothing?

I recommend some serious homework, then reflection - after that, you might have an opinion worth listening to.
17:11 March 19, 2010 by Al uk
You reap what you sow.
17:39 March 19, 2010 by cbatchelor
As the Falklands showed me (I was in England at the time)

people get insanely whipped-up in their passions at wartime.

I even heard a guy in a bar say "we should bomb Buenos Airies"

how crazy is that?
17:41 March 19, 2010 by michael4096
..essentialistic turns of discourse..
However did you gain american citizenship with phrases like that?
09:15 March 20, 2010 by Talonx
Michael4096, I was born there :). So, 'essentially' I am an American.
14:24 March 20, 2010 by Bruno53
I don't care how many were killed. A beautiful city destroyed, part of the population killed and the Allies to be blamed for it. Yes, they Allies lowered themselves to the Nazis to commit this attrocity. But seem some people forget the one who should really be blamed for this unfortunate tragedy: not Gen Harris of the RAF, but a frustrated Austrian painter named....Adolf Hitler. Case closed.
14:48 March 20, 2010 by homeboy
Why did Germany bomb London? And how many were killed? Yeah, I know two wrongs don't make a right, but when you throw the first punch, don't cry when you get your ass kicked.
14:51 March 20, 2010 by waldemar
@snowey - So when you say all the Germans deserved it, do you mean the women and children who were in Dresden at the time, since it was designated as a Red Cross refugee city?

My mother witnessed the Dresden bombing from 40 miles away in the city of Bautzen. She was in Bautzen fleeing the Soviets with her family and when the Allies firebombed the city. The light from the bombing was so bright, it was like day light. Those phosphate bombs burn quite brightly.
14:56 March 20, 2010 by Bruno53
Instead of crying over "who to blame for the holocaust or the firebombing of Nazi Germany" why don't we learn to live in peace and respect to one another. Do that and those who died in the Nazi holocaust on Jews and minorities, and the German civilians killed in these firebombings can be said, "they did not die in vain". Are we humans that stupid?
15:59 March 20, 2010 by waldemar
@Bruno53 - Good point. We humans must be that stupid, because we still haven't learned to live in peace and harmony with each other.
16:06 March 20, 2010 by Bruno53
Thanks for the comments.
21:41 March 20, 2010 by SilberFuchs
A great loss is the cultural and architectural heritage of Dresden as the once greatest Barouque city of the world. This is due to the destruction of the Allied bombing, but also 40 years of urban development during the East German socialist era, and most recently in 2006 it lost it's status as a World Heritage Site due to the construction of a highway bridge across the valley within 2 km of the city center. Dresden is the only city in Europe and only 1 of 2 in the world to loose it's World Heritage Site status.
01:24 March 21, 2010 by janreg58
At least the Germans stood by their principals throughout the war. We are lucky that they didn't jump into bed with Russia, the way the allies did. If they did WWII would of had a totally different outcome. It puzzles me how everyone can sit here and point out the atrocities of Nazi Germany, but chooses to totally ignore the atrocities of the Soviet Union during the war and after. If anyone knows their history, yes Germany did invade Poland, but Russia did also. Why the different treatment? If anyone wants to talk about mass murder, look at the purge of Russia by Stalin, and this was one of the allies...and a communist country at that! Winners write the history, and also choose their bed partners.
13:26 March 21, 2010 by Petew
I am British and I too am horrified by the bombing, and indeed by the whole war, being too young to have lived through it. However, I recall Goebbels addressing a Nazi rally in 1943 asking if they wanted total war:

"If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even yet imagine?"

Now, people, rise up, and let the storm break loose!"

The answer was a resounding "Yes", and so the storm came. Millions of innocents died as a result. That is what the Allies were up against.
15:10 March 21, 2010 by janreg58
I have always wondered why the allies didn't have the balls to declare war on the Soviets. Yes Germany invaded Poland on Sept 1,1939, but the Soviets invaded Poland on Sept 17,1939. Why just declare war on Germany? The allies joined forces with a country that executed more than 500,000 people in 1937-1939 and sent 3 MILLON TO12 MILLION to FORCED LABOR CAMPS. Not to mention the Katyn Forest Massacre.22,000 Polish prisoner of war that the Soviets MURDERED.I know, I know the Soviets were on the good guys side.The strange thing is that the Germans got blamed for that also.It should make you wonder how many other war crime lies the Allies have created to cover their own tracks??
17:34 March 21, 2010 by Petew
Come on janreg58, the world was a fearsome place. The Soviets were indeed a murderous lot, and no better than the Nazis. Do you think the Nazis were horrified at what they found at Katyn? Why, didn't the Soviets even make pacts with the Nazis to suit their own ends? But that came back to bite their bums, didn't it? The Soviets were a convenient force to the allies to allow the Nazis to wear themselves away on. But they were no friends when it was all over. Don't bring morality into an impossible situation. It wasn't the time for choosing allies. The Nazis had to be crushed as a priority. There is no mistake there. They were sitting on almost the whole of Europe, remember?
20:57 March 21, 2010 by janreg58
Wow,So you Allies would anything and team up with any one to win???? You will also, as I can here justify their war crimes because it benefits!! I believe some of the allied countries need in get their heads out of their "bums". They need to realize that they are not GOD, and to treat one "murderous lot" so much different than another "murderous lot" is sickens me!!! When a WWII soviet soldier can sit on national TV and openly brag about raping and killing women and children and nothing is done. If that was a German soldier they be dragging his 80 or 90 year old body off to jail for war crimes!!!! Nice double standards,and be careful don't fall off that white horse that you rode in on!!!
22:29 March 21, 2010 by Petew
janreg, reading your posts may make some people forget who started the thing in the first place. The Allies were out to win were they? The truth was the Allies were originally minding their own business. It was the Nazis and the German nation that wanted to win - to win everything and to crush everyone in their way. They almost did a very good job too. Your last post ignores what the Nazis did to the Soviet civilians. None of the crimes were right, whether first-off or for revenge. But you cannot deny who the instigators were. Thankfully, modern generations regard all this as belonging to history. Are you able to do that?
23:47 March 21, 2010 by janreg58
Yes I am as long as history is true. But actually if you really research history, the allies of WWI were the ones to start WWII, thanks to the treaty of Versaille. This treaty created hyperinflation in Germany, almost 50% unemployment, and created disperation in the country of Germany. Let me ask you what happens when disperation is created in a country? They look for a leader who can promise "Change". So I guess you can say that the allied nations of WWI caused WWII, desperate people do desperate things, which neither you or I will understand or go through maybe. History isn't always as accurate as we would like, cause we weren't there, so we have to base our beliefs on the victors view, which isn't always accurate either. You read about brothels in the German labor camps. They were there to keep the moral of the workers up, so they would work. I thought that's what the gas chambers in MG42 were for. History, what is the real truth?????
08:20 March 22, 2010 by Petew
Of course the Treaty of Versaille was wrong. We can't do anything to change that, but we didn't live through the horrors of the First World War either. In their desperation the German people did vote for what was ostensibly an excellent leader who turned the nation around. But there was no excuse for the expansionism and the blood it all cost. The Nazi party was led by a bunch of criminals, whose power base was reinforced by thugs and terror.

Thankfully, our generation has been allowed to live together in peace, and I am grateful that the German people have been our friends for all of my lifetime. They did an excellent job in rising from those ashes. I believe that today's democratic Germany is a force for good. In any case, we can't have another war with them because we only have about 20 Spitfires left ;-)
20:29 March 22, 2010 by allhappy
thames,maybe you drank from the same cup and ate from the same plate with that animal hitler to know what he told his Luftwaffe.you Nazi Hat.

janreg58,stop pointing at the other Nation,point at yourself,you Ass.

You fake ass alligator shoe should go and read the correct History which says that you greedy,animal,wicked and cold idiots started the war,Gestapo.

Only God knows had you won the war what the world would be like by now,probably you would have murdered half the world by now the way you coldly murdered the Jews and used them as fire woods and lab rat in Auschwitz..

Who knows after the Jews which race you would have labeled inferior and unworthy to live.

Do the math how many people did you kill in the first and the second world war,and mind you that these were the worst wars in the whole History of Mankind.Who implemented those wars you people did.

People learn to humble themselves from their mistakes but asses like you don't which stands to show what you people are capable of doing.

You people looks human but I think you are not.You should be labeled inhuman and be chained and locked in an island far from normal human..
21:37 March 22, 2010 by Bruno53
The Allies started WWII with treaty of Versailles? And this person FORGETS the arrogance and the blowhard speeches made by Kaiser Wilhelm II threatening war and destruction to Serbia and other small European countries when Habsburg's prince Franz Ferdinand was killed in 1914 by Serbian nationalists and led to WWI? Allies were no "goody-goodies", and President Woodrow Wilson found out after the end of the terrifying war of nearly a century ago, but Germans and Austrian weren't "goody-goodies" either. May I suggest some people read "The Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman?? DAMN!
02:17 March 23, 2010 by Thames
The Guns of August is a propoganda book and Wilson was the most Racist President of the 20th Century. Versailless was not only criminal it was stupid.

Without it Hitler would never have come to power. Also the obvious fact is that Britain and France declared war on Germany and Britain expanded the war into Norway and much of the Balkans. So one can make a case that

Britain turned a limeited war into a WW II. Germany had no intention of attacking Norway or the Balkans unitl the the war mongers in London started dragging in other countries as is their custom.
07:36 March 23, 2010 by Petew
Thames, Hitler's strategic aims were world-domination and the extermination of 'jewry'. The so-called war mongers in London knew about that, and Britain was one of the few countries to have any guts to do something. Britain never sucked up to Hitler, and would have nothing to do with his cynical peace overtures (unlike the Soviet Union who got it in the arse just when they weren't expecting it). People like you conveniently forget that the Nazis were a detestable regime and a menace to the whole of mankind. The world is now rid thanks to many brave people from a lot of countries.
20:20 March 23, 2010 by allhappy
Thames,You brain washed or damaged douche keeps on appearing to answer statements with your unreasonable carnivorous animal manner.

Got something for you,here is a short list of your devilish war atrocities-

July ­ August 1944, Ponary massacre (ca. 100,000 people, including children;October ­ August 1941, Aktion T4 (70273 people, including children;1 September, Marijampolė massacre (1,404 children;29 ­ 30 September, Babi Jar massacre (33,771 people, including children: List of victims of the Babi Yar massacre;30 November and 8 December, Rumbula massacre (25,000 people, including children;4­August 25, Ochota massacre (ca. 10,000 people, including children;

Nazi Human experiment-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_human_experimentation.

These are part of what you people did and here you damn idiot still answer statements.

Now I know that you are nothing but a carnivorous stupid tail ass inhuman.

You should go bury yourself......
02:12 March 24, 2010 by janreg58
You need to change your name allhappy. People like you are the ones that keep picking on old sours, and you only see what you want to see. If you hate Germans so much, why are you on this site? People that think they know everything, usually know nothing, you're the hateful, inhuman ass!
13:04 March 24, 2010 by locally
Hey allhappy and janreg58,you(guys) should be a little reasonable and stop this about hate.

It ain't leading nobody to nowhere.

you should look at the brighter side of life at least thats a good step for us to make the world a better place,my dearies.

One love
14:23 March 24, 2010 by allhappy
janreg58-freaking ass,knew you would reply.

zombie satanic nazi imbecile
19:17 March 24, 2010 by Beachrider
One final non-hate-oriented offering on Dresden...

I grew up in the turbulent 60s in the USA. We asked our parents about Dresden, Hiroshima and other controversial activities by the Air Force during WWII. They weren't proud to have attacked these civilian populations, but felt that it avoided much-larger German, Japanese and American casualties.

Both Japan and Germany had officially detailed formation of Volkssturmman (or Kokumin Giyū Sentōtai) forces. These were 'home guard' forces where US Infantry would be forced to shoot-it-out with Japanese/German civilians before the war would be over. There had already a very bloody engagement in the Battle of Saipan in the summer of '44 where the Japanese home guard was a key force. It was clear that these 'home guard' forces wouldn't be scared away easily. It was the American position that the enduring hatred and losses from battles with 'home guards' (the German one was different from the Japanese one) would leave all three countries with a millions of additional casualties.

In Feb '45, Dresden shocked the German population. German surrendered in April-May to bring that to an end. On August 6 '45, The Japanese didn't even respond after Hiroshima and so three days later, there was a Nagasaki. The Japanese surrendered six days later.

Americans do bear the guilt of their forces and respond with shocked irony when others forget theirs.

Let us hope that we have put this behind us to avoid more Dresdens, Hiroshimas and beyond.
17:17 March 26, 2010 by Bruno53
So you think it was "great" for Nazi Germany to attack a small country like Norway and criticizes the British, and they were no "saints", for opposing it? I criticize the Germany under the Kaisers because it became nationalistic, warmongering and arrogant. But I also criticise Britain for the imperialism it once had, not any longer, and USA for its arrogant foreign policies. Whatever sounds me "imperialism and war" I am against it. Much hate mail I get from so many foolish superpatriots we got here in USA. And I don't regret my comments. It is morally wrong whoever does it.
06:52 April 3, 2010 by Thames
@allhappy58

There is no question that the National Socialists leaders had a devilish racial policy and treated the people in the occupied countries in a horrible and brutish fashion. This is something we all know about. To try to somehow paint me as There is no need for me to point it out. You say Germany wanted world domination. Guess what, Britain had been seeking world domination for 300 years and was doing much better at it than Germany. Using wikipeda for your sources is not a good idea. You r paper would flunk any good first year history class for using such sites.

The level of hatred and your use insulting language concerns me.

You should seek treatment before you hurt yourself or someone else.
15:50 May 1, 2010 by Bruno53
The British empire is totally gone forever. No need to attack British for something no longer happening. And Germany is finally in peace. Too bad Germans had to see their country firebombed to learn to live in peace with their neighbors.
15:30 August 27, 2010 by norpat
This is Winston Churchill's legacy of mass murder. The archives are clear. "Bomber" Harris tried to defer to other targets, and he forced Churchill to issue an order that Harris carry out this barbaric attack with a written record. The target was not any military objective, and the bomb sights were aimed at the city center.

Unlike Hamburg, the firestorm in Dresden was calculated and deliberately engineered to cause maximum loss of civilian life. There were three bombing waves; two RAF and one the next day by U.S. B-17s. The latter to catch emergency services, aid and medical crews drawn into the city. P-51s escorting the B-17s came down to ground level and strafed mean, women and children who had fled to the banks of the Elbe. There are eye witness accounts to this.

25,000? Who counted them - and HOW? The firestorm that engulfed the city of Dresden created it's own thermal storm which drew in surrounding air at high velocities, set the street asphalt on fire, and generated temperatures that would incinerate human bodies entirely. It also consumed all the oxygen in the air and suffocated people that were otherwise not exposed to the blasts and fires themselves.

This "report" is a most grotesque and shameful act.
15:16 September 6, 2010 by DepotCat
I've often wondered if Dresden was being saved as a "clean" target for an atomic weapon should the need arise.

There's a quote from Harris "The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them....They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind"

The RAF learnt a few lessons in bombing techniques from the Luftwaffe, especially from the Coventry raid.

An inquiry by U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General George Marshall concluded that the Dresden raid was justified because Dresden could have been used as a base of operations to reinforce a counter-attack against Marshal Konev's extended line or to retreat and regroup.

There's an interesting series in a British paper. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1306903/The-bombers-looked-majestic--death-rained-sky-70-years-Blitz-heart-stopping-accounts-courageous-survivors.html
14:37 September 10, 2010 by norpat
If Harris implied that Germany had any actual plans to bomb British cities and towns he was incorrect. The first such "bombing raids" were errors and very few planes involved.

German pilots were not the only ones to hit the wrong targets now and then; American bombers mistakenly bombed a city in Switzerland, and it was inevitable that such errors could or would occur

This should have been obvious, except that Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin had already agreed to pursue an absolute war of devastation on Germany to include the civilian population. And Churchill was already moving toward bombing German cities. So these initial errors by the Germans were the excuse for Churchill to order the bombing of Berlin.

Hitler, never having intended a war with Britain, much less bombing British civilian targets, was understandably furious and ordered retaliation.

It is difficult to fathom what George Marshall was thinking when he tried to claim that Dresden, a city jam packed with refugees and struggling with needed resources would have made a good base of operations for anything at all. A base of operations for a swiftly changing front would have to be mobile in order to avoid entrapment. It is as ridiculous to think a city center would have been used for such a purpose.
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