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13-02-1945

Dresden devastated

On February 13, 1945, hundreds of British bombers launch a massive Allied air raid against the city of Dresden, Germany. Over a three-day period, 3,900 tons of explosives and incendiaries were dropped by 1,300 British and American aircraft, reducing much of the city to smoldering rubble and killing between 35,000 and 135,000 civilians. Some Allied officials were outraged--Germany was clearly on the verge of collapse, and Dresden was not a German war-production city. The planners of the attack claimed that by bombing Dresden they were disrupting important lines of communication that would have hindered the Soviet offensive in the east. However, many suspected that the raid was part of an ongoing effort to terrorize the German population and thereby force an early surrender. Dresden had been famous for its historic buildings and artwork until it became the victim of the single most destructive air raid of the European war.