Dresden Revisited

Linking to my April 2005 review of Frederick Taylor’s Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945, which discussed what a geopolitical football the city of Dresden has been ever since the end of World War II, Canada’s Damon Penny notes that a panel of German historians has revised the death toll of the allies’ bombing of the city near the end of WWII sharply downward:


For more than 60 years Britain’s Bomber Command led by Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris has been vilified for causing up to 500,000 deaths in the carpet bombing of Dresden during World War II.

But now, after a four-year investigation, a panel of German historians has said that the true number of dead from the Allied air raids in January 1945 was between 18,000 and 25,000.

They reached the figure after combing through death certificates, hitherto sealed eyewitness reports, registration cards for people made homeless and hospital records.

It now emerges that the high number of deaths from ‘Operation Thunderclap’ was a myth invented by the Nazis, perpetuated by Communists and re-born in the past decade to serve the aims of ultra-nationalists.


It suited the Nazi propaganda machine to claim that half-a-million women and children had been incinerated in the firestorm. It helped persuade a struggling population that this was awaited them all unless they fought for Nazism with their last breath.

Then the Communist East Germans perpetuated the myth, mindful that it served their purposes by showing the destructiveness of capitalism and fascism combined.

In the last decade neo-Nazis have sought to keep the lie alive as they praise many of the policies of the Third Reich.


Incidentally, Dresden also makes an appearance near the end of this post on modern architecture and the near universal need amongst the left to start from zero.


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