Today in history - Bombing of Dresden 1945

etienne_marais

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Granted, forced expatriation is better than genocide, but still not good. Either way, what he actually did was attempt to murder every last one he could get his hands on. Would I be wrong in assuming that you believe that he was forced to exterminate the Jews instead of deporting them by the prolonged war?
Yes, you are wrong. There is no excuse to exterminate anybody and a prolonged war does not suffice as a reason either. I think, that if that is what really happened, a new megalomania gradually developed later on in the war and the mindset and actions of members of the Thule society could have been the driving force, perhaps even without Hitler's consent.

Nonsense. It was a grab for resources.
 

thestaggy

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It was a warning directed at the Soviets, nothing more, nothing less. The city had been left largely untouched by the Allied air campaign (because it was clearly not a vital target. . .) and was thus one of the few still intact major German cities. The Allies reasoned that if they could completely ruin it in a short space of time it would let the rapidly approaching Soviets see what the Allies were capable of.

Both sides were guilty of war crimes.
 

etienne_marais

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It was a warning directed at the Soviets, nothing more, nothing less. The city had been left largely untouched by the Allied air campaign (because it was clearly not a vital target. . .) and was thus one of the few still intact major German cities. The Allies reasoned that if they could completely ruin it in a short space of time it would let the rapidly approaching Soviets see what the Allies were capable of.

Both sides were guilty of war crimes.
Making examples :whistling:

Direct to reading material to confirm please.
 

thestaggy

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Making examples :whistling:

Direct to reading material to confirm please.
I'd recommend The Myth of the Good War: The USA in World War II.

US General David M. Schlatter, former deputy chief of Air Staff SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) and commanding general of the US component Air Staff SHAEF and then current (at the time of the Dresden bombing) deputy commanding general of the US Strategic Air Forces in Europe had this to say one week before the Yalta Conference;

I feel that our air forces are the blue chips with which we will approach the post-war treaty table, and that this operation [the planned bombing of Dresden and/or Berlin] will add immeasurably to their strength , or rather to the Russian knowledge of their strength.
Prussia had fallen and the Soviets had just entered Silesia and Pomerania. The Western Allies were on the Rhine and Hitler was in his bunker. Dresden was labelled a ''virginal'' city, ie it had not been hit like the rest of Germany's major cities and in the eyes of the Allies it would be the first major German city the Soviets would reach and thus it was the perfect target for a show of power.

Sure, people will mention that it was a centre for communication, a transit hub and that it formed part of the ''Alpine Redoubt'', a last line of defence. The reality is Germany was already beaten and the city was jam-packed with refugees, serving no real value as a strategic target.
 
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Cius

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Yes, you are wrong. There is no excuse to exterminate anybody and a prolonged war does not suffice as a reason either. I think, that if that is what really happened, a new megalomania gradually developed later on in the war and the mindset and actions of members of the Thule society could have been the driving force, perhaps even without Hitler's consent.
This is something I am grappeling with at the moment. I am listening to the new Dan Carlin blitz podcast on the nuclear bomb "The Destroyer of Worlds". Carlin is discussing that very issue in detail in the context of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The point the military men make is that a short but terrible campaign at full power has less casualty and suffering than the slower paced conventional military approach of tanks and men rolling over the country.

This certainly made sense for Japan. The Okinawa campaign was a pretty decent acid test on what invading the Japanese mainland would be like and conservative estimates where showing a million allied casualties and far more Japanese deaths. Compare that with
the death totals of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and perhaps it was a necessary evil? I really don't know though. I have read survivor accounts from those cities and what happened to them should never be repeated as far as I am concerned but how do you make a choice like that. Terrible, or terrible x100. Its an impossible choice in a way.
 

Compton_effect

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This is something I am grappeling with at the moment. I am listening to the new Dan Carlin blitz podcast on the nuclear bomb "The Destroyer of Worlds". Carlin is discussing that very issue in detail in the context of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The point the military men make is that a short but terrible campaign at full power has less casualty and suffering than the slower paced conventional military approach of tanks and men rolling over the country.

This certainly made sense for Japan. The Okinawa campaign was a pretty decent acid test on what invading the Japanese mainland would be like and conservative estimates where showing a million allied casualties and far more Japanese deaths. Compare that with
the death totals of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and perhaps it was a necessary evil? I really don't know though. I have read survivor accounts from those cities and what happened to them should never be repeated as far as I am concerned but how do you make a choice like that. Terrible, or terrible x100. Its an impossible choice in a way.
It gets even more interesting. There is some speculation that Japan actually surrendered because of the threat of the Soviets. According to some records - they estimated that America only had enough material available for one or two more nuclear devices, and that there was a bigger chance of Russia invading before they had manufactured more. The Imperial army had also evaluated that the bombing of the cities would not have seriously affected their land forces, forcing the US to go ahead with the planned invasion of the main islands.

The American's very successful minelaying campaign in the main sea-lanes around Japan had done more to affect their wartime capacity. The use of nuclear devices might not have been the cause of their surrender, just one of the contributing factors.
 

Solarion

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War is hell.
Yet today's world leaders keeping banging the war drums like it's some kind of game.

Yeah sure it's fine for them, they are happy to send the sheeple into battle to be slaughtered by the thousands while they sit high up in Olympus safe n sound.

Send those same leaders into battle. All wars would end overnight.
 

garyc

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Yet today's world leaders keeping banging the war drums like it's some kind of game.

Yeah sure it's fine for them, they are happy to send the sheeple into battle to be slaughtered by the thousands while they sit high up in Olympus safe n sound.

Send those same leaders into battle. All wars would end overnight.
Carl von Clausewitz - "War is the continuation of politics by other means."
 

Cius

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Then send the politicians to war. They will think twice before they consider war again.
Agreed. Although for a large portion of human history leaders did actually go to war. Alexander, the kings of Persian and Assyria, even during WW1 you had Teddy Roosevelds kids in the ranks, in fact most ancient warfare often had the king in the ranks as well as senior family members and political figures. I guess the investion of the sniper rifle changed all that.

I forget who said it but one general said after another round of failed peace negotiations that the Mothers of the soldiers on the front line should negotiate the peace treaties, they would then always succeed.
 

Solarion

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Dresden was to demoralize the Germans completely.

Churchill was a cruel bastard. He bombed all the major cities except Dresden. It had no industry to speak of right? Right.
So what happened is that tens of thousands of woman and children flooded into Dresden because it was viewed as a safe haven. Once Churchill was confident that the war could be ended with a massive strike against German civilians he bombed it.

However his gamble did not work. It only made the German soldiers more resolute because now they had nothing left to lose.
 

Cius

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Dresden was to demoralize the Germans completely.

Churchill was a cruel bastard. He bombed all the major cities except Dresden. It had no industry to speak of right? Right.
So what happened is that tens of thousands of woman and children flooded into Dresden because it was viewed as a safe haven. Once Churchill was confident that the war could be ended with a massive strike against German civilians he bombed it.

However his gamble did not work. It only made the German soldiers more resolute because now they had nothing left to lose.
Very true. A hostage has no use when he is dead. A lot of people also pointed that out regarding the atomic bombing of Japan. It was not the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima that caused the Japanese to surrender so much as it was the potential for the US to continue on to every other Japanese city.

For a while during the cold war the plan in the event of all out war with Russia was for the USA to use two thirds of their nuclear arsenal to bomb every major Russian city within a day or two and then use the remaining third to re-bomb where necessary. Once the top thinkers really thought about that plan they realized it was not a long term winning strategy as world opinion would turn against you almost instantly, and Russia would have nothing left to lose and hence would embark on a fight of extinction in revenge. Having cities as a hostage can be far more powerful than just destroying everything in sight.
 

etienne_marais

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The Destruction of Dresden

Between 13 and 15 February 1945, the city of Dresden was destroyed by over 2,000 bombers of the RAF and the USAAF. Dresden had been chosen as a target by the Soviets. Joseph Stalin persuaded Churchill and Roosevelt at Yalta to target Dresden, which was a major receiving area for refugees. The city was swollen with civilians fleeing the Red Army's rapid and destructive advance.

On the evening of 13 February 1945, 796 Lancaster's and 9 de Havilland Mosquitos dropped 1,478 tonnes of high explosive and 1,182 tonnes of incendiary bombs between 22:14 and 22:22. Three hours later another 1,800 tonnes of bombs were dropped by a second group of Lancasters...

 

etienne_marais

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Often called the Florence of the North.

"
Dresden becomes a city of art
To a degree, Dresden’s reputation as one of Europe’s great art and architectural treasures also started in destruction when, in 1491, half the city was devastated by fire. The city was rebuilt in a more Renaissance style, the royal palace being a prime example, which had become the permanent home to the royal family in 1485. In the 16th century, the city’s defensive walls were modernised, the Reformation transformed the religion of Saxony to Protestantism and the state’s leader was awarded ‘elector’ status – meaning he was part of a select few who could vote for future emperors "
 

thestaggy

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Dresden was a statement with three major motivating factors;

1. The only relatively untouched major German city.
2. The city and the roads heading in and out of the city were clogged with German refugees fleeing the advancing Soviets.
3. The first major German city the Soviets would encounter on their drive toward Berlin.

Point 1 was simply a case of a lot of stuff left to be destroyed and it showed the Germans nothing they valued would be left untouched.
Point 2 falls in the same category as the London Blitz. Hammer civilians with the objective of turning public opinion against the ongoing war effort. Essentially destroy morale on the home front in the hope that it puts pressure on the government.
Point 3 would show the Russians what Allied airpower was capable of. A show of force.

The primary strategic targets were relatively untouched, including the railway yards and bridges spanning the Elbe. Major omissions when the Brits and Yanks cited it as a strategic military hub used for transferring troops to the Eastern Front. If that was the case you'd have prioritised destroying the bridges and railway yards.

End of the day, like Japan, Germany started something and then got hit back. Hard. You can't initiate a war of annihilation (Hitler's own words) and expect the other guys to play fair.
 
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Cray

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End of the day, like Japan, Germany started something and then got hit back. Hard. You can't initiate a war of annihilation (Hitler's own words) and expect the other guys to play fair.
So war crimes all around because the Germans and Japanese did it first?
 
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