Dresden Photos

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Post by David Thompson » 27 Jul 2003 08:55


(1) Dresden was not declared an "open city" at the time it was bombed, and I've never read of anyone ever making that claim.

(2) To accuse someone of a crime is not a frivolous matter, and most civilized people require that the charge be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

(3) If you have any proof that the US and UK air commanders knew in early 1945 that their bombing of Dresden would be "wanton" and "really not needed," this is the time to produce it.

(4) When you see me "clamoring to the skies when Corporal Schultz shoots two teenagers in some remote Ukranian Village," please let me and the other readers know -- your humorous analogy might be of some use then. However, right now I'm just asking for proof that this particular bombing could and should have been prosecuted as a war crime. Do you have any?

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Post by Whisper » 27 Jul 2003 09:34

David Thompson wrote: (3) If you have any proof that the US and UK air commanders knew in early 1945 that their bombing of Dresden would be "wanton" and "really not needed," this is the time to produce it.

Well, i dont have any proof, but if they really believed that this attack, would influence the outcome of the war in any way, they were blind.

Charles Portal of the British Air Staff advocated that entire cities and towns should be bombed. Portal claimed that this would quickly bring about the collapse of civilian morale in Germany. Air Marshall Arthur Harris agreed and when he became head of RAF Bomber Command in February 1942, he introduced a policy of area bombing (known in Germany as terror bombing) where entire cities and towns were targeted.

It was now argued that one of the main objectives of night-time blanket bombing of urban areas was to undermine the morale of the civilian population and attacks were launched on Hamburg, Cologne, Dresden and other German cities. This air campaign killed an estimated 600,000 civilians and destroyed or seriously damaged some six million homes.

In March, 1945, Winston Churchill gave instructions to Arthur Harris to bring an end to area bombing. As he explained: "It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land."

Breaking the moral by killing civilians, that wasnt necessary, and as i understand that, the targets werent military bases or industrial areas.

Members of the RAF bombing crews became increasingly concerned about the morality of area bombing. Roy Akehurst was a wireless operator who took part in the raid on Dresden.

It struck me at the time, the thought of the women and children down there. We seemed to fly for hours over a sheet of fire - a terrific red glow with thin haze over it. I found myself making comments to the crew: "Oh God, those poor people." It was completely uncalled for. You can't justify it.

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Post by Tarpon27 » 27 Jul 2003 11:27

The Fire-bombing of Dresden
An eye-witness account

Since the facts of the combined USAF and RAF raids on Dresden became known, mostly through the novel 'Slaughterhouse Five' by Kurt Vonnegut, there has been great controversy as to why this appalling raid was considered necessary.

The city had no military targets to speak of, and it was known that it was packed with civilian refugees from the east. Here is an eye-witness account by Lothar (shown here with his sister), just nine years old, who survived.

It was February. 13th, 1945. I lived with my mother and sisters (13, 5 and 5 months old twins) in Dresden and was looking forward to celebrating my 10th birthday February l6th. My father, a carpenter, had been a soldier since 1939 and we got his last letter in August 1944. My mother was very sad to receive her letters back with the note: "Not to be found." We lived in a 3 room flat on the 4th floor in a working class region of our town. I remember celebrating Shrove Tuesday (February 13th) together with other children, The activities of the war in the east came nearer and nearer. Lots of soldiers went east and lots of refugees went west through our town or stayed there, also in the air raid night February13th/14th.

About 9:30 PM the alarm was given. We children knew that sound and got up and dressed quickly, to hurry downstairs into our cellar which we used as an air raid shelter. My older sister and I carried my baby twin sisters, my mother carried a little suitcase and the bottles with milk for our babies. On the radio we heard with great horror the news: "Attention, a great air raid will corne over our town!" This news I will never forget.

Some minutes later we heard a horrible noise — the bombers. There were nonstop explosions. Our cellar was filled with fire and smoke and was damaged, the lights went out and wounded people shouted dreadfully. In great fear we struggled to leave this cellar. My mother and my older sister carried the big basket in which the twins were lain. With one hand I grasped my younger sister and with the other I grasped the coat of my mother.

We did not recognize our street any more. Fire, only fire wherever we looked. Our 4th floor did not exist anymore. The broken remains of our house were burning. On the streets there were burning vehicles and carts with refugees, people, horses, all of them screaming and shouting in fear of death. I saw hurt women, children, old people searching a way through ruins and flames.

We fled into another cellar overcrowded with injured and distraught men women and children shouting, crying and praying. No light except some electric torches. And then suddenly the second raid began. This shelter was hit too, and so we fled through cellar after cellar. Many, so many, desperate people came in from the streets. lt is not possible to describe! Explosion after explosion. It was beyond belief, worse than the blackest nightmare. So many people were horribly burnt and injured. lt became more and more difficult to breathe. lt was dark and all of us tried to leave this cellar with inconceivable panic. Dead and dying people were trampled upon, luggage was left or snatched up out of our hands by rescuers. The basket with our twins covered with wet cloths was snatched up out of my mothers hands and we were pushed upstairs by the people behind us. We saw the burning street, the falling ruins and the terrible firestorm. My mother covered us with wet blankets and coats she found in a water tub.

We saw terrible things: cremated adults shrunk to the size of small children, pieces of arms and legs, dead people, whole families burnt to death, burning people ran to and fro, burnt coaches filled with civilian refugees, dead rescuers and soldiers, many were calling and looking for their children and families, and fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind of the firestorm threw people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from.

I cannot forget these terrible details. I can never forget them.

Now rny rnother possessed only a little bag with our identitiy papers. The basket with the twins had disappeared and then suddenly my older sister vanished too . Although my rnother looked for her immediately it was in vain. The last hours af this night we found shelter in the cellar of a hospital nearby surrounded by crying and dying people. In the next morning we looked for our sister and the twins but without success. The house where we lived was only a burning ruin. The house where our twins were left we could not go in. Soldiers said everyone was burnt to death and we never saw my two baby sisters again.

Totally exhausted, with burnt hair and badly burnt and wounded by the fire we walked to the Loschwitz bridge where we found good people who allowed us to wash, to eat and to sleep. But only a short time because suddenly the second air raid began (February14th) and this house too was bombed and my mothers last identity papers burnt. Completely exhausted we hurried over the bridge (river Elbe) with many other homeless survivors and found another family ready to help us, because somehow their home survived this horror.

In all this tragedy I had completely forgotten my l0th birthday. But the next day rny mother surprised rne with a piece af sausage she begged from the "Red Cross". This was my birthday present.

In the next days and weeks we looked for my older Sister but in vain. We wrote our present adress an the last walls of our demaged house. In the middle of March we were evacuated to a little village near Oschatz and on March 3lst, we got a letter from my sister. She was alive! In that disastrous night she lost us and with other lost children she was taken to a nearby village. Later she found our address on the wall of our house and at the beginning of April my rnother brought her to our new home.

You can be sure that the horrible experiences of this night in Dresden led to confused dreams, sleepless nights and disturbed our souls, me and the rest of my farnily. Years later I intensively thought the matter over, the causes, the political contexts of this night. This became very important for my whole life and my further decisions.

Lothar Metzger
Berlin, May 1999


But what happened to the twins?

Apparently, the account makes no mention of it.


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Post by Tarpon27 » 27 Jul 2003 11:42

The Truth about the 1945 Bombing of Dresden

By John Black, in Workers World
23 February 1995

It is now the 50th anniversary of the terror bombing and burning of the non-military cultural center of Dresden, Germany. Somewhere between 35,000 and 135,000 civilians were killed in the Feb. 13-14, 1945 attack.

The Bonn government is attempting to use the commemoration of the Dresden bombing to expand German imperialism's diplomatic and military reach. Working-class and progressive German groups are protesting this misuse of a great tragedy. They correctly point out the responsibility of German capitalism and the Nazis' own war crimes for the destruction of German cities during the war.

The crimes of Nazi Germany, however, should not prevent the U.S. working-class movement from re-examining the aims of U.S. and British imperialism's vicious bombing of Dresden's civilians as World War II drew to a close.

Dresden was a center of cultural and architectural wonders, including the famous Zwinger Museum and Palace and the cathedral, the Frauenkirche. There were no military objectives of any consequence in the city--its destruction could do nothing to weaken the Nazi war machine. U.S. and British air warfare had left Dresden intact until that point.

By February 1945, refugees fleeing westward before the onrushing Red Army had doubled Dresden's population. The Soviet military forces were poised to seize the city from the Nazis. It was at that moment that the military and political strategists of Britain and the United States decided to launch a terror bombing attack.

Winston Churchill was Britain's prime minister then. He was also responsible for war strategy, especially regarding its political aims. Churchill's goal in Europe was not only to destroy the military machine of Britain's imperialist rival--Germany--but to stop the advance of the Soviet Union. With the latter in mind, he decided to bomb Dresden.

Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had just met at Yalta to discuss the division of post-war Europe. Churchill's goal in bombing Dresden was to impress the Soviets with the air power of the Western capitalist allies and to make sure that the Red Army would seize a dead city.

During three waves of attacks, over 1,300 British and U.S. bombers dropped more than 3,300 tons of bombs on Dresden. Many of the bombs were incendiaries.

The incendiaries dropped on the old city center started a firestorm--a huge blaze that sucked the oxygen from the air. Temperatures soared as high as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. This had not been seen before in Europe, although U.S. bombing started a firestorm in Tokyo and the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki also set off firestorms.

Low-flying planes machine-gunned the fleeing population along the banks of the Elbe river. A fourth attack on Dresden concentrated its bomb load on the roads used by the fleeing population.

The cultural center of the city was totally destroyed. Meanwhile, the only possible military or economic targets--the barracks in the city's north and the train station where trains carrying reserves for the Eastern Front might depart--were left untouched.

A look at aerial maps of the city before and after the terror attacks clearly shows the large white oil tanks owned by British-controlled Shell Oil. These tanks remained entirely untouched by the bombardment.

Official figures issued by the new city government of Dresden, set up in the wake of the city's surrender to the Red Army, indicate that 35,000 people--mostly women, children and older people--suffocated in the firestorm or burned to death. Other studies give a much higher casualty figure for the attack. The presence of so many refugees made accurate counts difficult.

Apologists for the bombing point to Nazi Germany's own crimes. Following the war's end, however, the U.S. and Britain occupiers were quick to allow all but the top Nazi leaders to play a role in western Germany--to gain these criminals as allies against the USSR. To reach the same political goal, the U.S. and British rulers could easily sacrifice more than 35,000 non-combatants with the bombing of Dresden.


Through the horrible firestorm, the OIL supplies managed to survive.

I'd hate to be an oil company, or a stockholder in one. Everybody hates them.

Why did the Allies reduce Dresden to rubble?

As is so often the case of the history we are taught in schools, the books tell a tale differently than what we can learn from first-hand accounts of those who actually lived through the experience. It is from the memories of common people who survived the Dresden Bombing of February 13-14, 1945, that we can understand why somewhere between 130,000 and 300,000 common people had to die. The truth is the Allies (Churchill's England, Stalin's Russia and Roosevelt's U.S.) mass murdered them.

by Don Harkins

On Saturday afternoon of February, 14, 2003, my wife, another couple and their son and I arrived at the home of our dear friend Edda West near Nelson, B.C., Canada. We had dinner and spent the evening talking about a variety of things. When we decided to retire late that evening, we gave Edda a copy of the December edition of Current Concerns -- an opposition newspaper from Zurich, Switzerland.

When we awoke the next morning, the morning after the 58th anniversary of the Dresden bombing, Edda described how she had stayed up for hours reading the survivor account of the Dresden bombing in Current Concerns.

That morning turned out to be very special. We knew Edda had been born in Estonia in 1943 and had been transported in a wagon by her mother and grandmother all the way to Germany as they fled their country ahead of the Russians (who had established a pattern of murdering and brutalizing Estonians for centuries). What we didn't know was that she was a Dresden survivor.

For 45 minutes we were all captivated by the story this lovely, passionate woman related as she recounted the horrors of that day. Three years old at the time, she does not remember specifics -- only the horror that she relived over and over again in nightmares until she was 12. However, she lived with her mother and grandmother telling the stories and she retold many of them for us that morning.

I do not believe I have ever been so moved by a person's story in all my life.

When we got back home, I wrote a letter to Eva-Maria Fullner of Current Concerns (with whom The IO trades a subscription) and told her about this experience.

A few weeks later, Eva-Maria called and said she was in New York and wanted to come for a visit. She also asked if Edda could come.

We called Edda who was elated with the thought of coming down to meet Eva-Maria.

The time with Edda and Eva-Maria during the weekend of March 15 was a resumption of the morning of Feb. 15, but it lasted all weekend. We had these amazing conversations that were only interrupted by sleeping.

Edda wrote a 3,900-word surviver account of Dresden that can be found in the April edition of Current Concerns (http://www.currentconcerns.ch).

We will only excerpt from Edda's story, but we encourage everyone who wants to understand what really happened at Dresden to find the entire article at the website above and, while you are at it, take a look at the article from December as well.

Why? Because the Allies (this time called the Coalition) are about to reduce another large city to rubble and mass murder a lot of innocent people. We think it's important to know that pro-government historians are allowed to bury mass murder stories only when the survivors maintain their silence.


The Dresden Bombing: An eyewitness account

by Edda West

My grandmother would always begin the story of Dresden by describing the clusters of red candle flares dropped by the first bombers, which like hundreds of Christmas trees, lit up the night sky - a sure sign it would be a big air raid. Then came the first wave of hundreds of British bombers that hit a little after 10 p.m. the night of February 13-14, 1945, followed by two more intense bombing raids by the British and Americans over the next 14 hours. History records it as the deadliest air attack of all time, delivering a death toll that exceeded the atomic blasts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In 20 minutes of intense bombing, the city became an inferno. The second bombing raid came three hours after the first and was “intended to catch rescue workers, firefighters and fleeing inhabitants at their fullest exposure.” Altogether, the British dropped nearly 3,000 tons of explosives that shattered roofs, walls, windows, whole buildings, and included hundreds of thousands of phosphorous incendiaries, which were small firebombs that sprinkled unquenchable fire into every crevasse they rolled into, igniting the inferno that turned Dresden into a “hurricane of flames.”

By the time the Americans flew in for the third and last air raid, smoke from the burning city nearly obliterated visibility. One American pilot recollects, “We bombed from 26,000 feet and could barely see the ground because of clouds and long columns of black smoke. Not a single enemy gun was fired at either the American or British bombers.”

The Americans dropped 800 tons of explosives and fire bombs in 11 minutes. Then, according to British historian David Irving in his book, The Destruction of Dresden, American P-51 fighter escorts dived to treetop level and strafed the city's fleeing refugees.

My grandmother described the horrific firestorm that raged like a hurricane and consumed the city. It seemed as if the very air was on fire. Thousands were killed by bomb blasts, but enormous, untold numbers were incinerated by the firestorm, an artificial tornado with winds of more than 100 miles an hour that “sucked up its victims and debris into its vortex and consumed oxygen with temperatures of 1,000 degrees centigrade.”

Many days later, after the fires had died down, my grandmother walked through the city. What she saw was indescribable in any human language. But the suffering etched on her face and the depths of anguish reflecting in her eyes as she told the story bore witness to the ultimate horror of man's inhumanity to man and the stark obscenity of war.

Dresden, the capital of Saxony, a centre of art, theatre, music, museums and university life, resplendent with graceful architecture -- a place of beauty with lakes and gardens -- was now completely destroyed. The city burned for seven days and smoldered for weeks.

My grandmother saw the remains of masses of people who had desperately tried to escape the incinerating firestorm by jumping head first into the lakes and ponds. The parts of their bodies that were submerged in the water were still intact, while the parts that protruded above water were charred beyond human recognition. What she witnessed was a hell beyond human imagination; a holocaust of destruction that defies description.

It took more than three months just to bury the dead, with scores of thousands buried in mass graves. Irving wrote, “an air raid had wrecked a target so disastrously that there were not enough able-bodied survivors left to bury the dead.”

Confusion and disorientation were so great from the mass deaths and the terror, that it was months before the real degree of devastation was understood and authorities, fearful of a typhus epidemic, cremated thousands of bodies in hastily erected pyres fueled by straw and wood.

German estimates of the dead ranged up to 220,000, but the completion of identification of the dead was halted by the Russian occupation of Dresden in May.

Elisabeth, who was a young woman of around 20 at the time of the Dresden bombing, has written memoirs for her children in which she describes what happened to her in Dresden. Seeking shelter in the basement of the house she lived in she writes, “Then the detonation of bombs started rocking the earth and in a great panic, everybody came rushing down. The attack lasted about half an hour. Our building and the immediate surrounding area had not been hit. Almost everybody went upstairs, thinking it was over but it was not. The worst was yet to come and when it did, it was pure hell. During the brief reprieve, the basement had filled with people seeking shelter, some of whom were wounded from bomb shrapnel.

“One soldier had a leg torn off. He was accompanied by a medic, who attended to him but he was screaming in pain and there was a lot of blood. There also was a wounded woman, her arm severed just below her shoulder and hanging by a piece of skin. A military medic was looking after her, but the bleeding was severe and the screams very frightening.

“Then the bombing began again. This time there was no pause between detonations and the rocking was so severe, we lost our balance, and were tossed around in the basement like a bunch of ragdolls. At times the basement walls were separated and lifted up. We could see the flashes of the fiery explosions outside. There were a lot of fire bombs and canisters of phosphorous being dumped everywhere. The phosphorus was a thick liquid that burned upon exposure to air and as it penetrated cracks in buildings, it burned wherever it leaked through. The fumes from it were poisonous. When it came leaking down the basement steps somebody yelled to grab a beer (there was some stored where we were), soak a cloth, a piece of your clothing, and press it over your mouth and nose. The panic was horrible. Everybody pushed, shoved and clawed to get a bottle.

“I had pulled off my underwear and soaked the cloth with the beer and pressed it over my nose and mouth. The heat in that basement was so severe it only took a few minutes to make that cloth bone dry. I was like a wild animal, protecting my supply of wetness. I don't like to remember that.

“The bombing continued. I tried bracing myself against a wall. That took the skin off my hands -- the wall was so hot. The last I remember of that night is losing my balance, holding onto somebody but falling and taking them too, with them falling on top of me. I felt something crack inside. While I lay there I had only one thought -- to keep thinking. As long as I know I'm thinking, I am alive, but at some point I lost consciousness.

“The next thing I remember is feeling terribly cold. I then realized I was lying on the ground, looking into the burning trees. It was daylight. There were animals screeching in some of them. Monkeys from the burning zoo. I started moving my legs and arms. It hurt a lot but I could move them. Feeling the pain told me that I was alive. I guess my movements were noticed by a soldier from the rescue and medical corps.

“The corps had been put into action all over the city and it was they who had opened the basement door from the outside. Taking all the bodies out of the burning building. Now they were looking for signs of life from any of us. I learned later that there had been over a hundred and seventy bodies taken out of that basement and twenty seven came back to life. I was one of them -- miraculously!

“They then attempted to take us out of the burning city to a hospital. The attempt was a gruesome experience. Not only were the buildings and the trees burning but so was the asphalt on the streets. For hours, the truck had to make a number of detours before getting beyond the chaos. But before the rescue vehicles could get the wounded to the hospitals, enemy planes bore down on us once more. We were hurriedly pulled off the trucks and placed under them. The planes dived at us with machine guns firing and dropped more fire bombs.

“The memory that has remained so vividly in my mind was seeing and hearing humans trapped, standing in the molten, burning asphalt like living torches, screaming for help which was impossible to give. At the time I was too numb to fully realize the atrocity of this scene but after I was 'safe' in the hospital, the impact of this and everything else threw me into a complete nervous breakdown. I had to be tied to my bed to prevent me from severely hurting myself physically. There I screamed for hours and hours behind a closed door while a nurse stayed at my bedside.

“I am amazed at how vivid all of this remains in my memory. (Elizabeth is in her late 70s at the time of this writing). It is like opening a floodgate. This horror stayed with me in my dreams for many years. I am grateful that I no longer have a feeling of fury and rage about any of these experiences any more -- just great compassion for everybody's pain, including my own.

“The Dresden experience has stayed with me very vividly through my entire life. The media later released that the number of people who died during the bombing was estimated in excess of two hundred and fifty thousand -- over a quarter of a million people. This was due to all the refugees who came fleeing from the Russians, and Dresden's reputation as a safe city. There were no air raid shelters there because of the Red Cross agreement.

“What happened with all the dead bodies? Most were left buried in the rubble. I think Dresden became one mass grave. It was not possible for the majority of these bodies to be identified. And therefore next of kin were never notified. Countless families were left with mothers, fathers, wives, children and siblings unaccounted for to this day.” [end quote]

According to some historians, the question of who ordered the attack and why, has never been answered. To this day, no one has shed light on these two critical questions. Some think the answers may lie in unpublished papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill and perhaps others. History reports that the British and American attack on Dresden left more than 2-1/2 times as many civilians dead as Britain suffered in all of World War II, and that one in every 5 Germans killed in the war died in the Dresden holocaust.

Some say the motive was to deliver the final blow to the German spirit -- that the psychological impact of the utter destruction of the heart centre of German history and culture would bring Germany to its knees once and for all.

Some say it was to test new weapons of mass destruction, the phosphorous incendiary bomb technology. Undoubtedly the need for control and power was at the root. The insatiable need of the dominators to exert control and power over a captive and fearful humanity is what drives acts of mass murder like the Dresden firebombing and Hiroshima.

I think there was also an additional hidden and cynical motive which may be why full disclosure of the Dresden bombing has been suppressed. The Allies knew full well that hundreds of thousands of refugees had migrated to Dresden in the belief that this was a safe destination and the Red Cross had been assured Dresden was not a target. The end of the war was clearly in sight at that point in time and an enormous mass of displaced humanity would have to be dealt with. What to do with all these people once the war ended? What better solution than the final solution? Why not kill three birds with one stone? By incinerating the city, along with a large percentage of its residents and refugees, the effectiveness of their new firebombs was successfully demonstrated. Awe and terror was struck in the German people, thereby accelerating the end of the war. And finally, the Dresden firebombing ensured the substantial reduction of a massive sea of unwanted humanity, thereby greatly lessening the looming burden and problem of postwar resettlement and restructuring.

We may never know what was in the psyche of those in power or all the motives that unleashed such horrific destruction of civilian life - the mass murder of a defenseless humanity who constituted no military threat whatsoever and whose only crime was to try to find relief and shelter from the ravages of war. Without the existence of any military justification for such an onslaught on helpless people, the Dresden firebombing can only be viewed as a hideous crime against humanity, waiting silently and invisibly for justice, for resolution and for healing in the collective psyches of the victims and the perpetrators.




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Post by Tarpon27 » 27 Jul 2003 12:00

Dresden, according to the witnesses.

(i) Misstatement of circumstances: low-level strafing in Dresden.

1. The most authoritative book on the Dresden raids is by Götz Bergander, published in 1977 after almost two decades of research. Amongst his aims was to combat the many myths and legends which had come to surround the attacks. One such myth was the strafing of civilians and refugees by Allied fighters during the attack, an act most people today would condemn as a particularly despicable or even as a criminal act of war. Bergander points out that although other authors have cited witnesses for such an attack, Irving’s is the last account in which any credence is given to the story. He then proceeds to disprove Irving’s assertion that such low-level strafing of civilians took place, either by night or by day. Irving’s documentation betrays his knowledge of the charge levelled at him.

2. In his book Irving described the 20th Fighter Group’s role in the American bombing of 14 February:

For this mission ... the Group was subdivided into two groups, denoted ‘A’ and ‘B’.... ‘A’ Group pilots were briefed that as soon as the bombers’ attack on Dresden was over they were to dive to roof-top level and strafe what were euphemistically referred to as ‘targets of opportunity’.... Most of the pilots appear from eye-witness accounts to have decided that the safest attacking runs could be made along the Elbe river banks. Others attacked transport on the roads leading out of the city, crowded with columns of people. One ‘A’ Group P-51 of the 55th Fighter Squadron flew so low that it crashed into a wagon and exploded. The other fighter-pilots were, however, disappointed by the lack of opportunities for combat, especially the crews of the ‘B’ Group aircraft.

3. Elsewhere in the same edition of his book (the Corgi paperback, published in 1966) Irving states as a matter of proven historical fact that:

it was the Mustang fighters, which suddenly appeared low over the streets, firing on everything that moved, and machine gunning the columns of lorries heading for the city. One section of the Mustangs concentrated on the river banks, where masses of bombed out people had gathered. Another section took on the targets in the Grosser Garten area.

Civilian reaction to these fighter-strafing attacks, which were apparently designed to perfect the task outlined in the air commanders’ directives as ‘causing confusion in the civilian evacuation from the east’, was immediate and universal; they realised that they were absolutely helpless.

American fighters strafed Tiergartenstrasse, the road bordering the Grosser- Garten on the southern side. Here the remnants of the famous Kreuzkirche children’s choir had taken refuge. Casualties on record here include the Choir Inspector, seriously wounded, and one of the choir boys killed. British prisoners who had been released from their burning camps were among those to suffer the discomfort of machine-gunning attacks on the river banks and have confirmed the shattering effect on morale. Wherever columns of tramping people were marching in or out of the city they were pounced on by the fighters, and machine-gunned or raked with machine gun fire.

It is certain that many casualties were caused by this low-level strafing of the city, which later became a permanent feature of the American attacks.

4. Bergander’s criticism of this account was devastating in its detail. Irving dates the strafing to the day of the 14th and attributes them to the Americans, but many witnesses likewise claimed to have been seen strafing during the British attack the night before. Bergander first explained how it was impossible that the British could have undertaken such attacks on the night of the 13th and exactly why many people may have believed that dive-strafing was taking place. He pointed out that there never would have been enough surplus fuel on such an extended flight over Germany to descend slowly, circle and then regain height. He noted that it would have been unthinkable to risk such valuable machines in low level-flying, at night, over unknown territory. Lancasters were long range-range bombers and unsuitable for such attacks; the smaller mosquitoes were used to drop the initial markers, and were likewise unsuitable for such attacks. Dresdeners who had not yet reached the safety of their cellars may well have seen the Mosquitoes at 300 meters drop their red markers. Finally, the practicalities of the situation made low-level strafing impossible. By all accounts the fire-storm threw immense heat and smoke into the air at great heights. To send planes into this cauldron to strafe civilians would have been pure folly.


SEE: Richard Evans report on Irving's book on Dresden.

ii) Misrepresentation of eyewitness testimony.

1. Irving’s initial witness was taken from one of the first books on Dresden (minus the page number), describing the attack on the Tiergartenstrasse. Bergander approached the same witness who told him that he had been unconscious at the time and that those who related the details to him had been in a severe state of shock. He was hit by shrapnel, not by machine-gun fire. Most tellingly, as quoted by Seydewitz, the witness said that the attack to which he was victim, described by Irving as taking place during the following day, had taken place at night (i.e. the 13th). Irving transposed the story to substantiate his more believable allegation that the strafing of civilians took place during the day.

2. Bergander added that in Und Deutschlands Städte starben nicht an eyewitness was cited by name who described how huge trees were torn out of the ground in the park [Große Garten] and thrown hundreds of metres into the eye of the fire storm. This passage was excised from Der Untergang Dresdens because the ‘witness’ complained that he had said no such thing to Irving and that the story had been put into his mouth. Nevertheless the story remained in 1966 and 1995, albeit minus a source. Here is another example of Irving’s cavalier disregard for the truth.

(iii) False attribution of conclusions to reliable sources.

1. The documentary evidence Irving quoted for the attack is likewise threadbare. Irving quoted the ‘account contained in the 20th Fighter Intelligence Bulletin for 14th February’. Bergander pointed out that this ‘source’ is ‘a partly quite free interpretation’ from ‘Kings Cliffe. The 20th Fighter Group’. Therein appeared the sentence: ‘Shortly after leaving the target ‘A’ Group hit the deck to strafe enemy transportation but found few targets.’ Out of this sentence Irving builds up a narrative which creates the impression that the pilots were somehow spoilt for choice and did not know what to hit first. The implication is also that the pilots were cowardly and that somehow the greed of one of them caused him to hit the truck. Nowhere does the ‘source’ mention a ‘briefing’ to dive over rooftops. Indeed the source mentioned explicitly that ‘Lt. Jack D. Leon (55th) was strafing a truck and either hit the truck or it exploded causing Lt. Leon to crash.’ Another member of the same sortie wrote to Irving that the one thing he distinctly remembered ‘was a friend of mine, Lt. Jack Leon, strafing a truck which exploded. He flew through the debris and evidently struck a piece which downed him.’

2. More slipshod still Irving decided that his source referred to Dresden when in fact Bergander went into painstaking detail to show that the group had in fact attacked Prague! Irving himself had even been provided with a detailed report in 1961 by one of the participants who had gone into some detail to explain exactly how they had hit Prague by mistake. The German Army High Command diaries [Kriegstagebuch des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - OKW] reported fighter attacks on civilians and dive-bombers on 11, 12, and 13 February. On 14 February, the day that Irving quoted from to support a different point, attacks were reported from the upper and middle Rhine areas, but there is no mention of similar attacks on Dresden, although the OKW would have been amongst the first to receive any such reports.

3. How did Irving then proceed to grapple with his critics? Some of Bergander’s criticisms came to Irving’s attention in 1985, through a book review. Irving firstly tried to defend himself by saying that he had proof that general orders existed to fire on civilians, a point that Bergander never contested. He also claimed that the muzzle of a machine-gun could be seen on films of the British bombers taking part: ‘This surely led to an understandable confusion on the part of the living, fleeing targets: but the word legend is rather rough.’ Considering the prominence and care Irving took in the book to excite in the reader a feeling of revulsion against the attackers, his last refuge reads strangely: ‘The question of dive attacks on fugitives on the banks of the Elbe and in the Große Garten is surely of ancillary importance.’ It is not of ancillary importance in his book. Even if it were, that would in no way excuse his manipulation of the truth.

4. In the 1995 edition, rather than acknowledge, let alone tackle Bergander’s criticisms, he exculpated himself with a disclaimer that: ‘Memories may be fickle and eye-witness testimony is ever suspect’ and then proceeded to relate the events anyway with the addition of one more eye-witness account. Thus the effect upon the reader remained the same one of revulsion, but Irving threw in the sop that in the ‘opinion’ of others the attack took place in Czechoslovakia. Thus his account is presented as fact: the actual truth is presented as ‘opinion’.

5. To bolster his argument Irving quoted the Final Report [Schlußmeldung - see below for fuller details] of 15 March 1945 by the Dresden Higher SS and police leader [Höhe SS- und Polizei Führer]. It states that during all the attacks ‘Strafing by machine gun’ [Bordwaffenbeschuß] had been ‘observed’ [festzustellen]. No mention is made here of the targets of such strafing, however, which could well have been military. Details of the strafing of civilians, including time and place, would have had ample time in the month following the attack to have been taken down and noted in this otherwise meticulous report. When noting the various causes of death of those killed in Dresden during the raid, the ‘Final Report’ contains no mention of machine gun deaths. These points had already been made by Bergander, but again Irving saw no reason to alter his account, despite the fact that they told heavily against his allegation of Allied aeroplanes machine-gunning fleeing civilians.

6. Although Irving had interviewed many of the participants in the events of 13/14 February 1945 in Dresden who claimed to have seen machine-gun fire he was likewise aware of the complete lack of any relevant documentary evidence. By his own count Irving had also interviewed two hundred British airmen and ‘about one hundred’ American bomber and fighter-escort crews for this and other sections of the book. He had ample opportunity to ask them to confirm or deny the story, but the strafing story is supported by not a single one of Irving’s three hundred airmen. He was aware of the fact that other reliable authors such as Bergander had destroyed the credibility of his use, or misuse, of these sources to claim that allied airmen engaged in the low-level strafing of civilians. Yet despite being confronted with the facts, Irving persistently repeated a story that he must know was an invention based on the misstatement of circumstances, the misrepresentation of the evidence and the false attribution of conclusions invented by himself to the testimony of reliable sources. It seems that in this, as in so many other cases, no amount of detailed refutation of his historical narrative can bring him to change it.


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Post by Tarpon27 » 27 Jul 2003 12:16




AIRBORNE OPERATIONS (IX Troop Carrier Command): HQ 435th Troop Carrier
Group moves from Welford Park, England to Bretigny, France.

STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): Mission 829: 9 B-24s drop leaflet
in the Netherlands and Germany during the night without loss.

TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 320+ B-26s, A-26s, and
A-20s, attack rail bridges at Sinzig, Neuwied-Irlich, and Euskirchen,
military transport depots at Schwelm and Iserlohn, defended points at
Wittlich, and targets of opportunity; fighters escort the A-20s, A-26 and
B-26s, bomb the Neuss and Zieverich bridges and other targets, fly armed
reconnaissance, and support Third Army elements from Prum to Saarlautern
along the Our and Sauer Rivers, and Saar River bridgehead areas. In France,
HQ 97th Combat Bombardment Wing (Light) moves from Voisenon to Marchais; the
39th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, Ninth AF, based at Amand with
F-5s, sends a flight to operate from Gosselies, Belgium (another flight is
operating from Jarny); and the 405th Fighter Squadron, 371st Fighter Group,
moves from Tantonville to Metz with P-47s. The 155th Photographic
Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), moves from
St Dizier, France to Le Culot, Belgium with A-20s and F-3s.





STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): 2 missions are flown.
Mission 830: 1,377 bombers and 962 fighters are dispatched to hit oil and
rail targets in Germany; bombing of most targets is by H2X radar; they claim
11-0-3 Luftwaffe aircraft; 7 bombers and 7 fighters are lost:
1. 461 B-17s are dispatched to hit the marshalling yard at Dresden (311);
targets of opportunity are Prague (62), Brux (25) and Pilsen (12) in
Czechoslovakia and other (25); they claim 1-0-0 aircraft; 5 B-17s are lost, 3
damaged beyond repair and 54 damaged; 4 airmen are KIA, 15 WIA and 49 MIA.
Escorting are 281 of 316 P-51s; 3 are lost (pilots MIA) and 1 damaged beyond
2. 457 B-17s are sent to hit the marshalling yard at Chemnitz (294);
targets of opportunity are Eger Airfield (38), Bamberg (33), Sonneberg (23),
Tachau (24), Hof marshalling yard (12) and other (17); 1 B-17 is lost, 3
damaged beyond repair and 103 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 4 WIA and 14 MIA.
The escort is 224 of 238 P-51s; 2 are lost (pilots MIA) and 1 damaged beyond
3. 375 B-24s are sent to hit an oil refinery at Magdeburg but are unable to
attack due to weather; 340 hit the secondary, the marshalling yard at
Magdeburg; targets of opportunity are Emlicheim (1), Meppen (1), Bodenteich
(1) and other (1); 1 B-24 is lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 16 damaged; 9
airmen are MIA. 253 of 273 P-51s escort; they claim 10-0-3 aircraft; 2 P-51s
are lost (pilots MIA).
4. 84 B-17s are sent to hit the Wesel road bridge (37); 35 hit the
secondary, the Dulmen oil depot and 1 hits Ahaus, a target of opportunity; 15
B-17s are damaged. 26 of 30 P-51s escort the bombers.
5. 44 of 49 P-47s fly a sweep of the Magdeburg area without loss.
6. 24 P-51s escort photo reconnaissance aircraft over Germany.
7. 29 of 32 P-51s fly a scouting mission.
Mission 831: 10 B-24s drop leaflet in the Netherlands and Germany during
the night.

TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 600+ A-20s, A-26s, and
B-26s attack rail bridges, a marshalling yard, communications centers, an
ammunition dump, a prime mover depot, and several targets of opportunity in
morning and afternoon missions aimed primarily at obstructing enemy movement
and supply; fighters fly armed reconnaissance over wide areas, escort the
bombers bombers, attack river traffic, bridges, and other targets, and
support US Third Army elements E of the Our and Sauer Rivers.




STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): Mission 832: 1,131 bombers and 510
fighters are dispatched to hit oil targets in Germany; with some exceptions,
all attacks are made using H2X radar; they claim 2-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; 2
bombers and 1 P-51 are lost
1. 459 B-17s are sent to hit oil targets at Bohlen; 435 hit the secondary,
the marshalling yard at Cottbus; targets of opportunity are Dresden (1),
Quackenbruck (1) and other (2); 1 B-17 is lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and
34 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA and 9 MIA. 153 of 173 P-51s escort; they claim
2-0-0 aircraft; 3 P-51s are damaged beyond repair.
2. 224 B-17s are dispatched to hit oil targets at Ruhland; 210 hit the
secondary, Dresden; targets of opportunity are Lingen (1) and the Ems-Weser
Canal (1); 4 B-17s are damaged beyond repair and 8 damaged; 7 airmen are KIA
and 8 WIA. Escorting are 141 of 158 P-51s; 1 is lost (pilot MIA).
3. 353 of 372 B-24s hit the Magdeburg synthetic oil plant; 1 B-24 is lost,
3 damaged beyond repair and 32 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA and 3 MIA. The
escort is 110 of 120 P-51s.
4. 58 of 76 B-17s hit a target of last resort, the Rheine marshalling yard;
13 others hit Munster, a target of opportunity. Escorting are 27 P-47s.
5. 4 P-51s escort photo reconnaissance aircraft over Germany.
6. 25 of 28 P-51s fly a scouting mission.

TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): In Germany, around 90 B-26s bomb
Sinzig and Mayen rail bridges and 4 targets of opportunity in the area;
fighters patrol points along the battlefront, attack railroads and other
special targets, fly armed reconnaissance and support the US VII, VIII, XII,
and XX Corps along the Roer and Prum Rivers and in the Saar River bridgehead
area. In France, HQ 371st Fighter Group and the 404th and 406th Fighter
Squadrons move from Tantonville to Metz with P-47s; and the 671st Bombardment
Squadron (Light), 416th Bombardment Group (Light), moves from Melun to Athies
Airfield, Laon with A-26s.

http://paul.rutgers.edu/~mcgrew/wwii/us ... eb.45.html


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Post by Tarpon27 » 27 Jul 2003 12:27

The tragedy of Dresden cannot be denied.

I attempt to not make light of the bombing of that city.

On the other hand, the bombing of Dresden has produced scores of reports and fodder for all sorts of claims...some of which may be true, while others are at least questionable.

Read as you will.



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Post by viriato » 27 Jul 2003 13:05

Caldric as always you are indulging in German bashing and at the same time excusing every act of the allies. This we are already accustomed, unfortunaly. What is even more unpleasent is that you either don't (want to) learn or just have a lousy memory. In another thread, in which this same theme was discussed

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... d&start=45

and you were an interested part, our fellow member tonyh wrote:

>>What about Belgrade?<<

Belgrade I would consider a warcrime as its civilian population and civilian buildings were the primary target for the bombing. The rest of the Luftwaffes and her allies target did not constitute civilian targeting, but military instalations.

>>And what about Stalingrad?<<

Stalingrad I would not consider a warcrime, because the Luftwaffe was targeting the bulidup of Soviet troops within the city in support of the land army on the outskirts of the city. The Luftwaffe high command knew there were civilians within and dropped numerous leaflets urging the population to flee the city, this in turn would aid the Wehrmacht as it would hinder the Soviet buildup. Stalin refused the population access to leave across the Volga, for the same reason, on repeated occasions. Whether the Luftwaffe knew Stalin's decision or the result of it, is another story.

Instead you are always claiming that

Stalingrad was about the identical situation as Dresden. 40,000 dead almost all civilians, fire bombed by German Air Force for days, city stuffed with refugees and broken military units. Far be it for Germany to cry foul and place Dresden upon a pedestal.

even when there is sufficient proof that the Germans tried to minimize any civilian losses in Stalingrad.

BTW as you should have remembered even Roberto akcnoweleded it when answering tonyh:

An even-handed assessment.

Thanks, Tony.

When do you intend to be a little more even-handed Caldric?

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Post by Scott Smith » 27 Jul 2003 16:25

chalutzim wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:
neugierig wrote:I hope we learned something from this war, I am, however sceptical.

I fear that we have not, but there is always hope.

I'm afraid you're right in the first part of your sentence. You have only to look at David Irving's numbers about the bombing and contrast them with the truth, even with the "victor's truth". But the second part, where you say that hope always exists, it's discredited by the same David Irving and his untiring efforts to "revise" that same History that is supposed to teach us how not to repeat the past mistakes. :)

Without Revisionism we would still believe that the Germans started the First World War and that the war was fought to stop Germans from cutting the hands off of Belgian babies and turning corpses into fertilizer. The best way to avoid repetition is a balanced history and not simply regurgitated Allied propaganda--especially where the enemy is portrayed unrealistically as Evil or cartoonish Devils. I've never said that David Irving is the last word on anything. But he is not quite the fraud-Meister that some would hope.

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Post by Scott Smith » 27 Jul 2003 16:39

kelty90 wrote:I know that it is hard to believe, but in 1945, people in Britain and the USA believed that Germany had started the war. The German bombing of British cities and many other cities we all know to be entirely reasonable and justified, but at the time the ill-informed people in those countries were quite happy to bomb Germany in turn. We know now, of course, that German cities were not involved in the German war effort, that urban areas housed nuns and orphans and only produced baby toys and religious pamphlets. But that is not how it appeared at the time. Dresden, like all other German cities, had no significance at all. No railways, roads, factories, and even no defences. So, in retrospect maybe the USA and the British should not have bombed Dresden, but at the time it seemed like a good idea.

When will the British admit that they waged a holy war-of-terror on the German people hoping that they would have a "regime change"? Okay, many already do this thanks to curmudgeon David Irving. But Evil to fight Evil? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Post by Caldric » 27 Jul 2003 18:34

viriato wrote:Caldric as always you are indulging in German bashing and at the same time excusing every act of the allies. This we are already accustomed, unfortunaly. What is even more unpleasent is that you either don't (want to) learn or just have a lousy memory. In another thread, in which this same theme was discussed

No I am not you are very wrong and make little sense actually.

Stalingrad was not a crime, I am not bashing Germany I am putting Dresden in perspective.
I defended German bombing of Stalingrad also, even though it was just as horrid as Dresden and VERY much the same situation.

Caldric wrote:Well the major problem I have with the "It was garrisoned and in the way of an Army" is that is a thin argument. It is no different from saying well it is a major center for arms production (which is more important then just soldiers), and if we go that route then it was ok to bomb Hiroshima because their was an Army Division garrisoned there, and the Army command (Army Group escapes me for the moment). Also Nagasaki was a major heavy industrial are. And we would have had to invade the area and destroy that army, so in that regard it is no different then Warsaw since US and Allied troops were preparing the assault on the Main Island. All of Japan was a garrisoned city so with that argument it was ok to bomb Japan from tip to tip.

At any rate what I am getting at we can not pick and chose what is and what is not allowed to be bombed, sure Dresden was out there a bit, but so was Stalingrad Belgrade or any other city for that matter. I think the encirclement argument is a weak one. But then I do not think bombing was a crime.

As far as even-handed, just consider me a balance point for all the Nazi Apologist on this forum, that would have us turn history to make Nazi Germany the victim, goddamn pathetic.

If you want to hear boo-hoo Germany got a raw deal then do not read my post, go read the IHR.

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Post by Lord Gort » 27 Jul 2003 21:19

Without Revisionism we would still believe that the Germans started the First World War and that the war was fought to stop Germans from cutting the hands off of Belgian babies and turning corpses into fertilizer. The best way to avoid repetition is a balanced history and not simply regurgitated Allied propaganda--especially where the enemy is portrayed unrealistically as Evil or cartoonish Devils. I've never said that David Irving is the last word on anything. But he is not quite the fraud-Meister that some would hope.

While the principles underlying this statement are true Scott I would merely point out that there is strong evidence that lays the blame for the great war at Germanys feet, and that the German army did indeed commit atrocities in Belgium during ww1.


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Post by Scott Smith » 27 Jul 2003 21:39

Lord Gort wrote:
Scott wrote:Without Revisionism we would still believe that the Germans started the First World War and that the war was fought to stop Germans from cutting the hands off of Belgian babies and turning corpses into fertilizer. The best way to avoid repetition is a balanced history and not simply regurgitated Allied propaganda--especially where the enemy is portrayed unrealistically as Evil or cartoonish Devils. I've never said that David Irving is the last word on anything. But he is not quite the fraud-Meister that some would hope.

While the principles underlying this statement are true Scott I would merely point out that there is strong evidence that lays the blame for the great war at Germanys feet, and that the German army did indeed commit atrocities in Belgium during ww1.

It would be absurd to say that nobody committed any atrocities. And there is plenty of blame to go around as far as who started the war.

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Post by Leica » 27 Jul 2003 22:48

David Thompson wrote:For those who claim that bombing Dresden was a war crime, please give some authority (an international treaty, etc.) for your claim.

I don't need another opinion to percept that the unnecessary mass killing of people and the intensive usage of fire bombs is a war crime.

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Post by Leica » 27 Jul 2003 22:50

David Thompson wrote:If someone wants to prove that the bombing of Dresden was a war crime, they must start by showing which provision of international law was violated.

No, they must not. We are not talking about international law, but about innocent victims of an absolutely unnecessary action.

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