Monday, October 31, 2005
The Destruction of Dresden: A Multimedia Overview of the Firestorm - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News
A Multimedia Overview of the Firestorm
The firestorm that destroyed Dresden on Feb. 13, 1945 wasn't an accident. Rather, it was the result of years of lessons learned and research. New aerial photos provided to SPIEGEL ONLINE from Keele University in England show the horrific extent of the damage.
Virtually the entire Dresden city center was destroyed in the bombing.
The bombers finally arrived in force in Dresden in the final months of the war. On the night of Feb. 13 to 14, the engines of 770 British Lancasters and 330 American B-17 "Flying Fortresses" droned over the so-called "Florence on the Elbe," so named for the baroque beauty of old Dresden.
But it wasn't just practice that made horrifically perfect in the case of Allied air raids. Once they realized that fire was a more effective method of doing damage to German cities than explosives, all research began focusing on the creation of firestorms from the air. In 1943, the US government contracted architect Erich Mendelsohn, an immigrant from Germany, to build exact duplicates of German houses -- complete with identical wood and building materials -- in the Dugway Proving Ground in the desert of Utah.
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