The Fire and the Darkness: the Bombing of Dresden, 1945


by Sinclair McKay

February 13, 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, Germany by British and American bombers. Carried out in 3 raids, it was one of the most devastating attacks of World War II. The first raid, beginning at 10:03 p.m. by British bombers, destroyed buildings, roads, and shelters. The second, again by the British, was an incendiary attack that rained fire from the sky to create a fire hurricane which destroyed everything in its path and suffocated those trapped in collapsed buildings and shelters. With the power lines being destroyed in the first raid there were no air-raid sirens to warn of the second raid, leaving many of those who ventured out to help the wounded caught off guard and out in the open. The third raid, carried out the next day by American bombers, destroyed what was left.

A portrait of the city before, during, and after the devastating raids, this is a story told from all points of view: the residents, the bombers, and the city itself. Those living in Dresden believed they would be spared from such an attack because they were seen as an intellectual and cultural city with very little of their manufacturing aiding the war effort. Dresden was not, however, all innocence. Atrocities were carried out every day in the city with the remaining Jews in Dresden getting their “relocation” letter just days before the raid. As much to devastate the city as to devastate morale, the bombing of Dresden remains one the most controversial decisions of World War II. ~ Sue, Circulation

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