A pile of bodies awaits cremation after the bombing of Dresden, 1945

The bombing of Dresden in February 1945 has been one of the most controversial aspects of World War II. Dresden, a city unaffected by bombing until that point in the war, lost many thousands of civilians to Allied fires.

In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers from the British Royal Air Force and 527 from the United States Army Air Forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary equipment on the city. Incendiary bombs created so much fire that a firearm was developed.

The resulting firestorm destroyed 40 square kilometers (15 sq mi) of the city centre. The more the city burned, the more oxygen it sucked in—and the bigger the firearm became. It is believed that the temperature reached 1,800 °F (990 °C). The surface of the roads melted and people running found their feet burnt while running.

In total, 22,000 to 40,000 people were killed by Allied bombings in Dresden. Historians still debate the number of deaths. However, there were so many refugees in the city at the time that the actual figure will almost certainly never be known.

The city was not a military target. It was known as a cultural center full of beautiful architecture with some buildings dating back a thousand years. Furthermore, Dresden was undefined: no searchlights, no burst layers. Dresden was a civilian target.

What is so shocking about Dresden is that they didn't bomb to destroy military infrastructure and help in the war, it was purely to terrorize the German people.

Dresden had a lot of industry and mobility infrastructure, and could have been a real advantage to the Allies if they had targeted it, but they did not. They simply bombed the most densely populated parts of the city.

Bombing methods used by the Allies were to encourage total destruction of buildings: high-explosive bombs first ignite the wooden planks of the buildings, then incendiary bombs ignite the wood, and finally firefighters. They are followed by various explosives to hinder the efforts.

After the raid ended, SS guards brought in from a nearby camp burned the bodies in the city's Old Square (Altmark). There were so many bodies that it took two weeks to complete the task.

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