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Apocalypse 1945: The Destruction Of Dresden

by David John Cawdell Irving

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AT 10:10 P.M. ON THE NIGHT of February 13-14, 1945 the R.A.F. Master Bomber broadcast the cryptic order: 'Controller to Plate-Rack Force: Come in and bomb glow of red T.I.s as planned.' The ill-famed attack on Dresden had begun. The target city was among Germany's largest, but it alone had developed no single major war industry. The German authorities had made it a centre for the evacuation of wounded servicemen, and by February 1945 most schools, restaurants, and public buildings had been converted into military hospitals. In selecting Dresden for this purpose, the German government probably hoped that this, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, often compared with Florence for its graceful Baroque architectural style, would be spared the attentions of the allied bombers. By 1945, the legend was deeply entrenched in the population's mind that Dresden was a city that would never be bombed. It was not to be. In the summer of 1944, the Allies had shelved as inopportune a plan to cripple German civilian morale by delivering one `shattering blow¿ as R.A.F. staff officers termed it on one selected German city. But in February 1945, with the Soviet armies making striking advances in their invasion of Silesia and East Prussia, and when the war's political and military directors were meeting at Yalta, Mr Winston Churchill was urgently in need of some display both of his offensive strength and of his willingness to assist the Russians in their drive westwards. The 'shattering blow' plan was brought out and reexamined. Dresden, the 'virgin target' just seven miles behind the eastern Front, became the victim of Mr Churchill's desire for a spectacular blow. By a combination of delays and poor weather, the raid, the climax of the strategic air offensive against Germany, and the most crushing air-raid of the war, was not delivered until the day that Mr Churchill was departing from Yalta.



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