The Bombings of Kassel
In class, when we were talking about the bombing raids in Germany, specifically Dresden, I was reminded about my time in Germany when some of the staff of the University of Kassel took the international students to a nearby city of Göttingen. The reason they took us there was to give us the opportunity to see a more historic German city. During the war, we were told that the city of Kassel was almost completely destroyed. This is very evident when walking around the city, since one can only see more modern buildings and architecture. If one wanted to see any old buildings, there are some in parks on the far outskirts of the city, like a castle, a statue of Hercules, and a museum.
Kassel wasn’t that large of a city during the war. It had only about 250,000 people before the war. However, it still contained many reasons to be a target. It was very industrial and was a large center for production of tanks and other military tools. It was also the local center of government for its region at the time. So unlike Dresden, the bombing on Kassel was a little more “justified.” The city was bombed primarily by the RAF. By the time that Kassel was reached by the American troops, only about 20 percent of the original population remained.
The image above shows the remaining inhabitants of Kassel helping to clean up the mess of the bombings.
Today, Kassel is just shy of 200,000 inhabitants, which is about 50,000 less than what it was before World War 2 started. Most of the older buildings were not restored, but rather they were rebuilt in the style of the 1950s. The city is still a beautiful city. But it definitely looks nothing like it used to. I highly enjoyed my time there, and I would go back, but it’s a shame that I wasn’t able to see it in its former glory.
“Allied 1943 Strategic Bombing Campaign: Kassel (October 1943).” Allied Around the Clock Bombing Campaign 1943 Kassel. Historical Clothing, 23 Sept. 2009. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.
“Kassel – An Outline of the City’s Development.” Stadtportal – Kassel. Kassel.de, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.
Image: Title: Postwar Period / Reconstruction / Kassel URL: http://footage.framepool.com/en/shot/752738791-kassel-mine-cart-truemmerfrau-reconstruction-rebuilding Retrieved: 31 October 2015