Bombing Of Dresden In World War II
The Bombing of Dresden was a military attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, that took place in the final months of the Second World War. In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The resulting firestorm destroyed fifteen square miles (39 square kilometres) of the city centre and caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties.
A 1953 United States Air Force report defended the operation as the justified bombing of a military and industrial target, which was a major rail transportation and communication centre, housing 110 factories and 50,000 workers in support of the German war effort. However, several researchers have claimed that not all of the communications infrastructure, such as the bridges, were targeted, nor were the extensive industrial areas outside the city centre. Critics of the bombing argue that Dresden—sometimes referred to as "Florence on the Elbe" (Elbflorenz)—was a cultural landmark of little or no military significance, and that the attacks were indiscriminate area bombing and not proportionate to the commensurate military gains.
Large variations in the claimed death toll have fuelled the controversy. In March 1945, the Nazi regime ordered its press to publish a falsified casualty figure of 200,000 for the Dresden raids, and death toll estimates as high as 500,000 have been given. However the city authorities at the time estimated around 25,000 victims; a figure which subsequent investigations, including one commissioned by the city council in 2010, support.
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