But what about Dresden
“You guys burnt the place down, turned it into a single column of flame. More people died there in the firestorm, in that one big flame, than died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.” –Kurt Vonnegut, Jr
I found this quote to be particularly interesting, because when we talk about the atrocities of World War II we relay the stories of Concentration camps and the horrific bombings of Japan. I was interested in what knowledge people I know have of this act, and surprisingly it is little to none. I guess honestly, I shouldn’t be shocked by that fact, growing up we read history books written by old white American dudes.
The allies purposefully and mercilessly destroyed a city and devastated a community. The community within Dresden prior to the bombings was that of Artists, Refugees and Prisoners of War, who all thought they were safe from the danger of Air Raids. The assumption was because the Luftwaffe had not bombed Oxford, that the Allies would leave Dresden. The truth was as far from that assumption as possible. In less than 24 hours the Allies intentionally slaughtered almost 500,000 civilians: women, children, zoo animals, no one was safe from the attack. The initial attack focused on the city center, creating a firestorm that either drove people from the city center or literally sucked them into the storm. Many of the survivors fled to the Grosser Garten, which then became the scene for the second assault. The final assault included low flying planes purposely targeting survivors and the people trying to care for them. One account I read told of nurses who moved people to the banks of the Elbe, perhaps thinking the water would provide safety, only for them to be mowed down by the third assault.
When the attack finally ceased it was uncommon to find survivors, let alone full corpses. What remained of people were limbs, ash and melted pools of fat.
I guess what I am trying to understand is how is an attack so horrific so unknown by a large number of Americans?
Greg, Victor. “Dresden Bombing 70 Years On: A Survivor Recalls the Horror He Witnessed in the German City.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.