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Bombing of Dresden--and for what?

dresden

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#1 C.Evans

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Posted 06 January 2001 - 08:21 PM

I wonder just why it was so much a priority on Arthur "Bomber" Harris's list of places to destroy? Dresden im sure had a few legit targets but, not enough to alter the outcome of the war by not bombing it into rubble and killing many thousands of civilians.

I'm extremely greatful that we won the war but, I have never agreed with the bombing of Dresden.

#2 Otto

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Posted 06 January 2001 - 09:24 PM

I never liked it either. Did you know that sebsequent waves of bombers were timed to catch firemen and rescue workers before they could do their job? Thant's nasty! I have heard many people, (justifiably), bash the Germans for the London Blitz, but that was never anything like pounding Dresden took.

#3 C.Evans

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Posted 06 January 2001 - 09:29 PM

I didn't know about that but, it only figures that Harris would think of such a thing. Terroristic bombing.

#4 Sgt. Schultz

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Posted 06 January 2001 - 11:08 PM

I too always wondered why Dresden was smashed. I have never herd that ther was much there anyway. Wouldny most of the soidiers be used elsewhere?

#5 Sgt. Schultz

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Posted 06 January 2001 - 11:10 PM

Hey, I just noticed that you have four badges now. I wonder what the new one is? it looks like its Polish or Russian.

#6 Erich Hartmann

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Posted 08 January 2001 - 05:31 PM

Let's face it: war is a terrible thing. There is no saying "hey, that was unfair" or timeouts. Marcinko once said that there are no rules, and that you must go into war willing to win at ALL costs. This goes back to the heated discussion on the use of the atomic bomb against Japan. Much of the same applies. This also goes all the way back to Sherman's concept of "total war", in which you pound the enemy to utterly demoralize him. Apparently, Dresden seemed to be the unfortunate candidate.


#7 PzJgr

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Posted 08 January 2001 - 08:38 PM

Since Dresden was never bombed before, my guess would be that they wanted new targets and Dresden was the next largest city on the list. Bomber Harris has always been accused of conducting terrorist bombing. Was for vengenance? He paid back the Germans 10 times in return. Nevertheless, war is a nasty business and the victors don't go before the war crime tribunal.

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#8 C.Evans

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Posted 08 January 2001 - 08:41 PM

Outstanding post Erich!, I agree. Its sad to say that most of the needless destruction might have been avoided if it had not been for some bombs that were dropped on a city by accident, which led to both sides escalating their bombing campaigns. Sometimes though, I have to wonder if the e were really accidents or not.

#9 Yankee

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Posted 08 January 2001 - 11:40 PM

In my own opinion the only motivation behind the bombing was Revenge, The Allies should have known better. No matter how you look at it was a waste,in both human lives and supplies. The bombs and planes lost and use could have been used much mor effectively in other bombing raids.

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#10 C.Evans

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Posted 09 January 2001 - 03:43 AM

darn good answer, and in total agreement with you.

#11 Ron

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Posted 09 January 2001 - 08:39 AM

The bombing of Germany had 2 goals...
1. to destroy factories and germany's ability to wage war effectively.
2. to demoralize to populace by bombing their cities at will.
War is not made to be noble. War is horible and the final product never looks good.
I think someone posted how they would time the bombing raids to catch firefighting crews fighting fires. Well that is sick but war is sick...and thus this strategicly makes sense. 1. you keep them from putting out fires that will add to the destruction of the bomb target.
2. If they cannot fight fire with their firefighting crews gone then future raids will be more destructive because the fires will consume more.

#12 Sgt. Schultz

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Posted 10 January 2001 - 03:01 AM

I think the dresden bombings was nothing but murder. I lost an uncle an aunt, and three cousins during a raid. All for what purpose, none of them were of military age or use.

#13 Killjoy

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Posted 10 January 2001 - 07:27 AM

What rationale did Hitler give for bombing London....
At some point tactics shifted from focusing on the enemy's military capacity to undermining the "will" of the people of the enemy nation to go on fighting.
To think that the bombing of cities which culminated in the Hamburg and Dresden raids was brought about by an error in targeting by a German Bomber unit which, through navigational error, bombed London by night during the raids which were to have preceeded Operation Sealion. Churchil insisted on bombing Berlin in retaliation. Hitler replied in kind, shifting the emphasis of the raids on England to the destruction of cities, and a holocaust of another sort was wrought....

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#14 Erich Hartmann

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Posted 10 January 2001 - 06:01 PM

Originally posted by Sgt. Schultz:
I think the dresden bombings was nothing but murder. I lost an uncle an aunt, and three cousins during a raid. All for what purpose, none of them were of military age or use.


Yes but the same could be said of London, Rotterdam, or Warsaw. Again, war is a horrendous thing in which there is nothing but loss. Schultz, sorry to hear of yours.




#15 Sgt. Schultz

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Posted 11 January 2001 - 02:12 AM

I do agree with what you say Erich. I just have a hard time with the bombings of any city but Dresden of all non-military places.

Thanks for the sorrow for my relatives. I just wish than no one else had to lose so many family members as I did. I know there are many who lost way more than my family. I guess at least they were the only family members in Germany to get killed.

#16 C.Evans

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Posted 16 January 2001 - 11:57 PM

From what I understand on watching some documentaries on Dresden, that it was just a terroristic bombing by Harris. Apparently, most or all of the units in or around Dresden, had been transferred to other areas. Supposedly, there were not any Anti Aircraft Artillery units employed in or around Dresden because of the situations on other fronts.

At one time though, Dresden did have Artillery units employed to protect the city. As the was dragged on and the losses mounted, what was Dresdens defense, had become replacements for depleted or destroyed units in the east.

#17 J.Mahoney

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Posted 28 January 2001 - 01:27 AM

I just watched a documentary on this last week. It was said that the bombing was just so they could kill as many civilians as they could. The British timed their attacks so as to cause additional killings when the second wave of RAF bombers came in. It was designed for the only puropose to catch rescue personnel and survivors out in the open. I say that was messed -up thinking.

#18 R Fogt

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Posted 03 March 2001 - 09:08 AM

For those interested, this address is for a website documenting the rebuilding of Dresden's Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady):

http://www.friends.d...eb.htm#dres-web



#19 C.Evans

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Posted 03 March 2001 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for sending this link to the Dresden Kirch. There is another excellent site pertaining to its reconstruction but I do not have a link to it. I found that back in October and became a member by donating $50.00 to the reconstruction of the Kirch.

Thanks for this reminder......

#20 Martin Bull

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 11:27 AM

I found this old thread and make no excuse for adding to it. I do not intend to reopen the argument for or against the Allied strategy of bombing Germany. This is a topic in itself. Neither do I wish to act as a Harris 'apologist'.

But 'Dresden' has become synonymous with 'Harris' as though this raid was some kind of maverick decision, prompted by personal bloodlust.

The reality is far more complex. It has been conclusively adjudged by recent historians ( eg Martin Gilbert, Henry Probert ) that the prime mover for this particular attack was Winston Churchill ( vide his infamous 'baste the Germans' memorandum of 25 Jan 45 ). The directive was queried by Harris' headquarters : Dresden was a long way to fly in winter and nothing was known about the defences.

The fate of Dresden was sealed at the Yalta conference on February 4th. Forcibly backed by Stalin in person, General Antonov insisted on Allied air attacks against Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig to hamper possible German troop movements to the East. Churchill agreed, and SHAEF ratified the order to Bomber Command.

On February 13th, weather conditions 'favoured' Dresden . . . .
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#21 Paul Errass

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 11:56 AM

Great points Martin,as with the recent Market Garden debate it seems again that a senior British Commander has taken a hammering,when once again it would appear that the decision wasn't actually his alone to make.

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#22 Bish OBE

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 12:02 PM

Its odd you say that Martin. I saw the tail end of a documentary the other day, no idea what it was called, but it was about Bomber Command. It clamed that Churchill questioned the need for raids such as Dresden. And it also clamed that Bomber Comand was almost forgotton in the celebrations after the war. As though there roll was smething to be embarresed about.

Found what it was. It was Saturday nights Timewatch-Bombing Germany.

[ 17 July 2002, 07:06 AM: Message edited by: Bish OBE ]
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#23 Martin Bull

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 02:18 PM

Didn't see the documentary, Bish - but it sounds like the same old story trotted-out again !

TV docu-producers in particular seem to love being 'selective' about their sources ( bit like David Irving, really ), or just plain lazy about research.

The Dresden episode in fact paints Churchill in a very poor light indeed.

What actually happened ? As per my posting above, Churchill issued the 'baste the Germans' memo. Sinclair, the Secretary of State for air, replied that these Eastern German cities could be left to the Russian Tactical airforces, with Allied attacks 'under consideration'. Churchill fired a furious and sarcastic memo back demanding immediate action.

'With the Prime Minister obviously on the warpath, events moved quickly' says official RAF historian, Denis Richards.

After the raid, an American Associated Press correspondent at SHAEF misrepresented an official comment, with US headlines appearing reading : 'Deliberate Terror-Bombing of German Population Centres As Ruthless Expedient Of Hastening Hitler's Doom'.

Six weeks after the raid, with the end of the war imminent, Churchill sent a minute to the Chiefs of Staff saying : -

'It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing German cities for the sake of increasing the terror...should be reviewed....The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing....'

'Coming from one whose eagerness to bomb cities in Eastern Germany had precipitated the attacks, this startled and shocked the Chiefs of Staff' ( Richards ).

Portal persuaded Churchill to withdraw the minute ( no mean feat ! ) and reissue a less contentious note. But the 'original' remained on file and has been exhumed post-war and misused time and again out of context to 'prove' that Dresden was 'nothing to do with Churchill'.

This is now widely recognized as not being Churchill's 'Finest Hour'. But don't forget, he was first and foremost a politician . . . . .

Post war, of course, bombing was not considered 'PC'. Harris was snubbed after the war ( but remained unrepentant to the end ) and the bomber crews, feted as heroes during the war, have been officially shunned ever since. :mad:
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#24 Bish OBE

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 09:06 PM

Originally posted by Martin Bull:

'It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing German cities for the sake of increasing the terror...should be reviewed....The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing....'

QB]

They mentioned this memo, ad its withdrawel. But they said nothing of what went on before. Its really annying that these things cannot get things right. People like us always have others to check things with or set things straight. We know better than to take one programe at face value. But most people who don't take such an interest as we do just except it as fact.
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#25 C.Evans

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 09:40 PM

I dont think its right for anyone to shun the British pilots that were on that mission--it wasnt their faults or decisions on what happened--they did as they were told. (Sounds familiar does it not?) and I mean no disrespect on them of anykind. I think all of them detested such a mission, being the gentlemen that they were.
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