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Moral Debate of the Bombing of Dresden
Transcript of Moral Debate of the Bombing of Dresden
Raining Fire and Destruction
Over 90% of the city center of Dresden was destroyed. Around 78,000 dwellings had been destroyed, 27,700 were made uninhabitable, and 64,500 were damaged in some way. Around 200 factories were damaged with varying degrees of damage. 24 banks, 640 shops, 64 warehouses, 31 large hotels, 63 administrative buildings, 11 churches, 6 chapels, 5 other cultural buildings, 19 hospitals, and 39 schools were destroyed. The zoo, the waterworks, the railways, 19 postal facilities, and 19 ships and barges were also destroyed. As well as many other buildings.
There are many death toll reports that all vary. An official German report on March 22nd reported 20,204 bodies having been recovered and 6,865 bodies were cremated on Altmarkt Square, also known as the Old Market Square. However, the Nazi regime ordered the press to publish death toll numbers as high as 200,000. In 2005, the Dresden city council ordered an investigation by a historian group. In 2010, the results were published as a minimum of 22,700 and a maximum of 25,000 people to have been killed as a result of the air raids.
What is Dresden?
Dresden was the capital of the Germanic state Saxony.
On February 13th, 1945, American and British fleets began an airstrike on the city. There were four different air raids that were in between the 13th and the 15th.
Margaret Freyer, survivor:
"To my left I suddenly see a woman. I can see her to this day and shall never forget it. She carries a bundle in her arms. It is a baby. She runs, she falls, and the child flies in an arc into the fire.
Suddenly, I saw people again, right in front of me. They scream and gesticulate with their hands, and then — to my utter horror and amazement — I see how one after the other they simply seem to let themselves drop to the ground. (Today I know that these unfortunate people were the victims of lack of oxygen). They fainted and then burnt to cinders.
Insane fear grips me and from then on I repeat one simple sentence to myself continuously: "I don't want to burn to death". I do not know how many people I fell over. I know only one thing: that I must not burn."
During the bombing, bridges were not targeted, as they should have been. Instead, the city center and the rest of the city seemed to be the real target. To the north of Dresden there were exceptional military facilities. However, these facilities were not hit by the bombings as they should have been if the raids were for military reasons. Also, the bombings were unnecessary because Germany was on the verge of surrendering. The bombing of Dresden was not needed to push Germany to surrender.
Dresden as well as a center of culture and music, was also a center for manufacturing. As such, the British and American Air Forces claim the bombing had a substantial reason. This reason was that the railroads and factories within the city were of significant use to the Nazi war fight.
On February 13th, 1945 at 21:51 the first siren in Dresden went off. At 22:14, the first bomb was dropped. The last bomb of that raid was dropped at 22:22. A total of 800 bombs were dropped in this time. Three hours later, around the time the rescue crews would be trying to put out the fires, the fleets struck again. 18,000 tons of bombs and incendiary devices were released between 1:21 and 1:45 with great accuracy. Two more air raids proceeded on the 14th and 15th.