Friday, February 13, 2009

February 13, 1945

One of the hardest moments to swallow in American/ Ally history is the decision to obliterate the city of Dresden at the end of World War 2. The city was designated as the seat of post war government by the ally forces. It was also a main center of the Red Cross for the area. It was a cultural treasure of Baroque architecture and art with little strategic military importance. It was the destination for countless refugees fleeing the advance of the Red Army.

Taking all that into consideration, the heads of Allied forces decided that a “show of strength” was needed to quickly bring the end of the war. They ordered the repeated bombing of the city with 3,900 tons of explosives and firebombs, killing tens of thousands of people, mostly refugees and civilians. The raids were designed to be about 3 hours apart, so that the second would come as the fires from the first raid were being fought. The attacks created fires so intense, that the updraft pulled everything in surrounding areas, people included, into the fire.

Not a proud moment in the fight against the great evil of the Twentieth Century. It sometimes makes it hard to see who the good guys were, as is often the case in war. Today, many people try to use the history of these attacks to defend the racist philosophies that caused the war in the first place. The Germans living in Dresden have a good argument against that. They say that the Neo-Nazis are arguing from forgetfulness, revenge, and hate.

Instead, they remind people that the bombing of Dresden was caused by the German aggression against freedom and democracy in the first place, and that the story is a good reminder of the evils of extreme politics and war that everyone in the world should remember and heed.

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