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The Bombing of Dresden

The Bombing of Dresden

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Published by Scott Abel

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Published by: Scott Abel on Dec 27, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Bombing of DresdenScott AbelApril 16, 2008In February 1945, both American and British bombers flew from their bases withthe intent of destroying the relatively well-off German city of Dresden. Although thedamage done was absolutely devastating, it was doubtful that the bombing contributed tothe shortening of the conflict in Europe. This document depicts the perspective of aresident from Dresden named Götz Bergander, who witnessed an apocalypse occur in hishometown and described the horrors of the carpet bombing of urban areas. Despite thisdestruction and death, he portrays how his people managed to continue with their livesdespite the annahilation of their homes.Dresden had a pre-war population of 640,000 inhabitants, but the war had broughtrefugees into the city and brought the population to around one million inhabitants. Theresidents thought that perhaps the city’s cultural significance or large amounts of peoplein hospitals made Allied commanders to decide to spare the city. These hopes werecompletely false and were destroyed when a British Mosquito aircraft marked an area for an air raid only 500 yards from Bergander’s home. This attack was followed by twenty-five minutes of bombing, which was followed by attempts by civilians to put the fires outwith buckets of water and sand. Then another bombing raid occurred and forced thecivilians back in their cellars for protection. Eight hundred British bombers had attackedDresden and that was just in the night-time. During the daytime the American 8
Air Force dropped their bombs for around fifteen minutes. The destruction of Dresden had been devastating to its inhabitants, many of whom had lost their homes.
Bergander’s observations show us how the war was brought to Germany and whatit was like for the people who had to endure the many sufferings of total war. Human lifewas often taken with little regard during the war by both sides, because the Allies decidedto attack city of limited strategic importance and in that the Germans moved their flak anti-aircraft guns to the Ruhr region. Dresden and its residents must have beenconsidered expendable or at least an unlikely target. Despite the horror of the bombingthat caused the sky over Dresden to turn red, people in the city continued to attempt to put the fires out with what little firefighting equipment they had. The inhabitants panicked when the second raid came, and they fled into relative safety, but panic turnedto fear and despair. The destruction was described as being on the biblical level as thesky turned from red to yellowish-white that produced a single large cloud. Someresidents left the city, but some sought to live in structurally stable buildings still leftdespite such destruction.With much of the city left in ruins, Germans still managed to continue as close tolife as normal. Workers still went to the baked goods factory Bergander’s father managed to see if they the factory was still intact. The factory continued to operate, because it provided its own water and power, and the manager decided that the factoryneeded to be kept open to provide its essential goods to the city. This demonstrated thatthe people of Dresden were still resolved to continue their lives, even when their worldaround them collapsed, literally. By the third air raid, Bergander had to fit around four tofive times more people in his cellar than in the previous raids. By this point people weretoo disheartened to panic, but they could just wait until the raid was over. After a fewclose calls and during 15 minutes of terror, someone exclaimed, “Calm down, calm

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