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On the 67th Anniversary of the Allied Bombing of Dresden

Michael Walsh News Services

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February 13. Sixty-seven years ago today, thousands of Allied planes, chiefly British and American, attacked Dresden, an undefended university and cultural centre in Eastern Germany. As many as a quarter of a million refugees fleeing the advancing Soviet armies huddled in the city. Over three days, three waves of bombers attacked this defenceless city killing 250,000 people, mostly women and children. The Allied bombers first dropped percussion bombs that blew the roofs off the sturdy buildings. The next wave dropped incendiary bombs that set up a firestorm that liquefied people and killed hundreds of firemen and medics who'd rushed in to minister to the victims of the first bomber wave.
By any reasonable assessment this was a war crime. However, none of those responsible, chiefly Winston Churchill, faced the court at Nuremberg, which was solely victors' vengeance, not justice.
Yesterday, I partcipated and spoke at a Toronto memorial sponsored by the German World Congress and the German Historical Society of Mecklenburg and Upper Canada. We sadly commeorated the dead in Dresden and other German cities. Once again European man slaughtered European man. And who reaped the benefit?
Paul Fromm
Former Caandian Diplomat and Member of the RCAF Ian Macdoanld Writes
  If you had been posted to Europe instead of the Pacific you probably would have helped kill those innocent women and children, mostly blond and blue eyed like yourself, and you would have felt guilt for the rest of your life.  W/C Giff Gifford who took part in the Dresden massacre wrote to the "Valour and the Horror" review committee that the RAF Briefing Officer naming the target said: "We have a real juicy one for you tonight gentlemen, it's Dresden, and it's packed with refugees".  Giff said he felt remorse every day of his life thereafter.  Bomber Harris is generally blamed for the war crime but apparently Churchill was the chief culprit, at least he could have stopped it.  Churchill however was obligated to his fanatically anti-German, anti-Christian paymasters who probably insisted that he kill as many Germans as possible before the war ended. They needn't have worried, since ways were found to kill even larger numbers, civilian and military, after the war  They got their revenge, but Western Civilization paid the price. I.V.











Excerpts from WITNESS TO HISTORY Michael Walsh


During the war, more bombs by weight were dropped on the city of Berlin than were released on the whole of Great Britain during the entire war. All German towns and cities above 50,000 populations were from 50% to 80% destroyed.  Dresden was incinerated with up to 300,000 civilian burned and buried in the ruins.



Hamburg was totally destroyed and 70,000 civilians died in the most appalling circumstances.  As Hamburg burned the winds feeding the three mile high flames reached twice hurricane speed to exceeded 150 miles per hour.  Trees three feet in diameter on the outskirts of the city were sucked from the ground by the supernatural forces of these winds and hurled miles into the city-inferno, as were vehicles, men, women... and children.



The volcanic flames were hurled 5,000’ into the sky. Four times the height of the Empire State Building. With gases they rose as high again caused meteorological reaction high as the stratosphere. 

Between 1940 and 1945, sixty-one German cities with a total population of 25 million souls were destroyed of devastated in a bombing campaign that was initiated by the British government. Destruction on this scale had no other purpose than the indiscriminate mass murder of as many German people as possible regardless of their civilian status.  It led to bombing retaliation resulting in 60,000 British dead and 86,000 injured.




The eminent British war historian and strategist, Captain Sir. Basil Liddell Hart declared that through this strategy victory had been achieved ‘through practising the most uncivilised means of warfare that the world had known since the Mongol invasions.’ - The Evolution of Warfare. Baber & Faber, 1946, p.75




‘It was absolutely contrary to international law. - Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain




‘Hitler only undertook the bombing of British civilian targets reluctantly three months after the RAF had commenced bombing German civilian targets.  Hitler would have been willing at any time to stop the slaughter.  Hitler was genuinely anxious to reach with Britain an agreement confining the action of aircraft to battle zones.’ - J.M Spaight., CB. CBE. Bombing Vindicated, p.47. Principal Secretary to the Air Ministry




‘Churchill was obsessed with getting America into the war.  He tried to frighten Roosevelt with the prospect of an early German victory.  He searched for an outrage, such as the sinking of the Lusitania in the First World War that would arouse American public opinion.  German bombing of British civilians might well achieve this.  But for weeks it looked as if the Germans had no intention of being so obliging.’  - The First Casualty, Phillip Knightley, Andre Deutsch. London 1975






‘The first 'area' air attack of the war was carried out by 134 British bombers on the German city of Mannheim, on the 16th, December, 1940.  The object of this attack, as Air Chief Marshall Peirse later explained, was, 'to concentrate the maximum amount of damage  in the centre of the town.'‘- The Strategic Air Offensive Against Germany. (H.M Stationery Office, London, 1961)






‘Because we were doubtful about the psychological effect of propagandist distortion of the truth that it was we who started the strategic (civilian) bombing offensive, we have shrunk from giving our great decision of May, 11th 1940, the publicity it deserves.’ - Bombing Vindicated. J.M. Spaight, CB. CBE. Principal Secretary to the Air Ministry.




‘The primary purpose of these raids was to goad the Germans into undertaking reprisal raids of a similar character on Britain.  Such raids would arouse intense indignation in Britain against Germany and so create a war psychosis without which it would be impossible to carry on a modern war.’  - Dennis Richards, the Royal Air Force 1939/1945; The Fight at Odds. H.M Stationery Office






‘I am in full agreement (of terror bombing).  I am all for the bombing of working class areas in German cities.  I am a Cromwellian - I believe in 'slaying in the name of the Lord!’   - Sir. Archibald Sinclair, Secretary for Air






‘They (the British Air Chiefs) argued that the desired result, of reducing German industrial production, would be more readily achieved if the homes of the workers in the factories were destroyed; if the workers were kept busy arranging for the burial of their wives and children, output might reasonably be expected to fall.’  - Advance to Barbarism, F.J.P Veale; Distinguished British Jurist






‘The long suppressed story of the worst massacre in the history of the world. The devastation of Dresden in February, 1945, was one of those crimes against humanity whose authors would have been arraigned at Nuremberg if that court had not been perverted.’ - Richard. H.S Crosman, Labour Government Minister




‘I have read the reviews of the biographies of Sir Arthur Harris with extremely mixed feelings and also Robert Kee's letter. (8th July). On 13th, February 1945, I was a navigator on one of the Lancaster bombers which devastated Dresden. I well remember the briefing by our Group Captain.  We were told that the Red Army was thrusting towards Dresden and that the town would be crowded with refugees and that the centre of the town would be full of women and children.  Our aiming point would be the market place.



I recall that we were somewhat uneasy, but we did as we were told.  We accordingly bombed the target and on our way back our wireless operator picked up a German broadcast accusing the RAF of terror tactics and those 65,000 civilians had died.  We dismissed this as German propaganda.



The penny didn't drop until a few weeks later when my squadron received a visit from the Crown Film Unit who were making the wartime propaganda films.  There was a mock briefing, with one notable difference.  The same Group Captain now said, 'as the market place would be filled with women and children on no account would we bomb the centre of the town.  Instead, our aiming point would be a vital railway junction to the east.



I can categorically confirm that the Dresden raid was a black mark on Britain's war record.  The aircrews on my squadron were convinced that this wicked act was not instigated by our much respected guvnor 'Butch' Harris but by Churchill.  I have waited 29 years to say this, and it still worries me.’ - A. Williams, Nottingham; the Observer, August 8th. 1984




CHILDREN MACHINE-GUNNED The strafing of columns of refugees by both American and British fighter planes was par for the course:   ‘.... it is said that these (zoo) animals and terrified groups of refugees were machine-gunned as they tried to escape across the Grosser Garten by low-flying planes and that many bodies riddled by bullets were found later in this park.’ - Der Tod von Dresden, Axel Rodenberger, February 25th 1951




In Dresden, ‘Even the huddled remnants of a children’s' choir were machine-gunned in a street bordering a park.’   - David Irving, Destruction of Dresden


Phosphorous was used ‘because of its demonstrated ability to depress the morale of the Germans.’ - Official British source






‘I can tell you that Germany has been destroyed utterly and completely.’ - U.S. General Bradley, Associated Press, London, June 11th 1945


The terror bombing offensive cost the lives of over 2 million German civilians. It resulted in the total destruction of many of Europe's finest and most historical cities. It cost the lives of 58,888 RAF air crew; nearly the same number of British junior officers during the First World War. 




‘Even the senseless and highly culture-destroying terror acts, against for example, Lubeck and Dresden, carried out by the Allied pilots, should have been investigated and brought before a proper court of justice.’ - Major General H. Bratt, Royal Swedish Army




‘A nation which spreads over another a sheet of inevitably deadly gases or eradicates entire cities from the earth by the explosion of atomic bombs, does not have the right to judge anyone for war crimes; it has already committed the greatest atrocity, equal to no other atrocity; it has killed - amidst unspeakable torments - hundreds of thousands of innocent people.’  - Hon. Lydio Machado Bandeira de Mello, Dr. Juris. Brazilian Professor of Criminal Law; author of more than 40 works on law/philosophy




‘As for crimes against humanity, those governments which ordered the destruction  of German cities, thereby destroying irreplaceable cultural values and making burning torches out of women and children, should also have stood before the bar of justice.’  -  Hon Jaan Lattik. Estonian statesman, diplomat and historian






‘One closes these volumes feeling, uneasily, that the true heroes of the story they tell are neither the contending air marshals, nor even the 58,888 officers and men of Bomber Command who were killed in action.  They were the inhabitants of the German cities under attack; the men, women and children who stoically endured and worked on among the flaming ruins of their homes and factories, up till the moment when the allied armies overran them.’ - London Times reviewer on the British Official History of the Strategic Air Offensive.




‘There are no final figures on the number of civilians killed as a result of the mass-bombing, but 2,000,000 would be a very restrained figure (estimate).’ - Professor Harry Elmer Barnes, Ph.D. American historian.




‘Kassel suffered over 300 air raids, some carrying waves of 1,000 bombers; British by night, American by day.  When on April, 4th, 1945, Kassel surrendered, of a population of 250,000, just 15,000 were left alive.’  -  Jack Bell, Chicago Daily News Foreign Service, Kassel, May 15th 1946




‘Countless smaller towns and villages had been razed to the ground or turned into ghost towns like Wiener Neustadt in Austria. The town emerged from the air raids with only eighteen houses intact and its population reduced from 45,000 to 860.’   - In the Ruins of the Reich, Douglas Botting. George, Allen & Unwin. London. 1985




AND THE OTHER CITIES: Berlin, Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, Dresden, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Bremen, Wuppertal, Vienna, Duisburg. Munich, Magdeburg, Leipzig, Mannheim, Stuttgart, Kiel, Gelsdenkirchen, Bochum, Aachen, Wurzburg, Darmstadt, Krefeld, Munster, Munchen Gladbach,, Braunschweig, Ludwishafen, Remscheid, Pforzheim, Osnabruck, Mainz, Bielefeld, Gieben, Duren, Solingen, Wilhelmshafen, Karlsruhe, Oberhausen, Heilbronn, Augsburg, Hamm, Knittelfeld, Luneburg, Cuxhaven, Kulmback, Hagen, Saarbrucken, Freiburg, Graz, Koblenz, Ulm, Bonn, Bremmenhaven, Wanne-Eickel, Woms, Lubeck, Schweinfurt, Kleve, Wiener Neustadt, Wiesbaden, Paderborn, Bocholt, Hanau, Hildesheim, Emden, Siegen, Pirmasons, Hale, Bayreuth, Kreuznach, Witten, Aschaffenburg, Kaiserlautern, Gladbeck, Dorsten, Innsbruck, Neumunster, Linz, Klagenfurt, Reutlingen, Recklinghausen, Reuel, Regensburg, Homberg, Elmshorn, Wetzler, Vilach, Hamelin, Konigsburg, Moers, Passau, Solbad Hall I.T, Coburg, Attnang-Puchheim, Friedsrichhafen, Frankfurt-Oder, Danzig, Bozen, Chemnitz, Rostock,  Schwerte, Plauen, Rome, Bad Kreuznach, Neapel, Genoa, Mailand, Turin.




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