In the last months of World War II, Allied bombers from the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force conducted several major bombing raids on the eastern German city of Dresden. Beginning on the night of February 13, 1945, more than 1,200 heavy bombers dropped nearly 4,000 tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the city in four successive raids.

An estimated 25,000 people were killed in the bombings and the firestorm that raged afterward. More than 75,000 dwellings were destroyed, along with unique monuments of Baroque architecture in the historic city center. The scale of the death and destruction, coming so late in the war, along with significant questions about the legitimacy of the targets destroyed have led to years of debate about whether the attack was justified, or whether it should be labeled a war crime. The city of Dresden will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the firebombing

  • In this British Official Photo, on the night of February 13 and the morning of February 14, 1945, Lancasters of R.A.F. Bomber Command made two very heavy attacks on Dresden, Germany. Heavy bombers of the U.S. 8th Air Force attacked this target the following day. The smoke from fires still burning drifted across Dresden on February 14, 1945. The fires involved an engine roundhouse, the central goods depot and any wagons in the heavily loaded yard. 
  • The demolished city of Dresden, after the allied forces air raids on February 13 and 14, 1945

The demolished city of Dresden, after the allied forces air raids on February 13 and 14, 1945 (RAF)

View taken in January 1952 from Dresden’s Muenzgasse street showing people working on the removal of debris in front of the ruins of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). The church was reduced to rubble during World War II allied bombings

A digital composite shows a portion of the Zwinger art museum in 1946 still in ruins from the Allied firebombing of February 13, 1945, 
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