Was the bombing of Dresden justified?

Question by music: Was the bombing of Dresden justified?
I’m reading slaughterhouse five and im writing an essay on how the book is an antiwar book. I dont really understand though….in real life were Americans in Dresden at the time of the bombing and THATS why its so controversial? or is it simply because the bombing was unprovoked.. thanks.

Best answer:

Answer by Captain Hammer
It certainly wasn’t unprovoked, but many people claim that it was done more to punish the Germans than to help win the war any sooner.

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4 thoughts on “Was the bombing of Dresden justified?”

  1. I don’t know alot about it but I think it was a bad choice. It was provoked by Hitler bombing of London. I guss it was controversial because he city had no real military or strategic value.

  2. It was an attack on a civilian population. It had no tactical or startegic value as a military target. Some say it was retribution for the bombing of London and a pure terror tactic to break the will of the German people. In fact, the bombing of civilian populations has never had the desired effect. It usually has the opposite effect and deepens the resolve of those being attacked (e.g. London during WWII; Hanoi during the Vietnam War)

  3. there may have been numbers of americans in dresden as prisoners of war – if they were not prisoners of war then they were nazi sympathizers and supporters – dresden was flattened to break the will of the germans and further the collapse of thier will to fight. Alot of commies and left-wingers say it was a war crime and it was – it was fighting fire against fire. The germans flattened rotterdam in holland in the begginning of the war and flattened many cathedrals and churces in britain – they intentionally tried to wipe out buckingham palace and st pauls cathedral in london. Is there a kraut out there putting the guilt on all of these post war hippy brain dead intellectuals or what. I argued this in high school against my History Teacher. I have a History Degree and a Sociology Degree and now its more than 20 years later. Pearl Harbour was not justified – american sailors were asleep in their bunks and the guns on the warships were still sealed as americans were still at peace when the japs bombed them without declaring war. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not really much of a threat militarily but the break the will of the japs – there were probably american pows there too – should the allies have used up more of their own troops by lengthening the war because they were worried about a war crime ? Or should they have pulverised the enemy and finished them off. Anyway – the krauts were not bombed nearly well enough because if you meet one they will brag on how it took so many countries to beat them and still have the lousy arrogant attitude with no shame and denial of everything OR a hippy left wing attitude that this or that was a crime. The bombing was justified as was nagasaki and hiroshima in japan – it ended the war faster and spared a conventional invasion of japan would have cost more than a million us casualties and most the hundred million japs that were left would have fought to the death. Dresden saved tens of thousands of allied casualties by speeding up the collapse and retreat of german forces. Even after Hamburg and Berlin were bombed the Germans fought on – it took horrific bombing to speed the surrender of them.

  4. Yes there was a significant amount of American (and other Allied countries) POWs in Dresden at the time. However that is not the reason the Dresden bombings are controversial.

    During the course of WWII the Axis powers regularly attacked civilian populations. Some of these attacks were targeted specifically against civilian targets and some were due to the poor control over aerial bombs and rockets. Coupled with causality rates and material deprivation these attacks lead to a punitive mindset in many people in both the civilian and military leadership. A ‘complete war’ strategy had been enacted by the USA, UK and USSR that called for the total defeat of Germany and unconditional surrender. As the war was drawing to a close Allied forces kept pushing hard, giving no quarter on any front. Allied bombing raids of cities continued even though ‘liberation’ by ground troops were days away, the city couldn’t produce any war material or other aide to the German Army, or the cities garrison was waiting for Allied troops to ‘attack’ so they could surrender (the Bordeaux region of France). Military commanders justified these attacks as hastening the end of the war and saving Allied lives.

    Others have argued that the attacks were purely punitive in nature. Having suffered at the hands of the Luftwaffe, the British wanted ‘an eye for an eye’ and exacted a horrible revenge. Dresden is a good example of this. During the war Dresden was a key manufacturing area. By the end of the war, most of Dresden’s factories were destroyed or otherwise shut down due to lack of raw materials.

    Another viewpoint suggests that as Dresden was to be in the Soviet Zone of Control, it was in the best interests of the West to do as much damage as possible to the East German infrastructure, thus negatively impacting Soviet war gains.

    Still others argue that Dresden was attacked to test the effectiveness of new weapons and tactics. There had been much development of aerial technology and tactics during WWII and military commanders wanted to test the effectiveness of these developments under realistic wartime conditions.

    Depending on your perspective and how much weight you give to each of the above arguments the Dresden firebombing could be justified. Whether or not you consider the Dresden attacks justified, they were a great tragedy. Thousands died and close to a million were left homeless. Through hindsight we know that the bombings had little effect on the war. That is why the Dresden attacks are considered so controversial.

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