WHILE we celebrate the memorial for Bomber Command, (Herald, June 29) what is lost sight of is the terrible damage inflicted on Dresden in 1945, when the war was practically over.
Perhaps the pilots had no idea what their bombs were inflicting on the civilian population, but that is what can happen in war.
February 13/14 1945: Holocaust over Dresden, known as the Florence of the North. Dresden was a hospital city for wounded soldiers. Not one military unit, not one anti-aircraft battery was deployed in the city. Together with the 600,000 refugees from Breslau, Dresden was filled with nearly 1.2 million people.
Churchill asked for ‘suggestions how to blaze 600,000 refugees’. He wasn’t interested how to target military installations 60 miles outside of Dresden. More than 700,000 phosphorus bombs were dropped on 1.2 million people (one for every two people). More than 260,000 bodies and residues of bodies were counted.
But those who perished can’t be traced. Approximately 500,000 children, women, the elderly, wounded soldiers and zoo animals were slaughtered in one night.
Allied apologists for the massacre have often ‘twinned’ Dresden with the English city of Coventry. But the 380 killed in Coventry during the entire war cannot begin to compare with over 1,000 times that number slaughtered in 14 hours at Dresden. Moreover, Coventry was a munitions centre, a legitimate military target. Dresden, on the other hand, produced only China – and cups and saucers can hardly be considered military hardware!