By 1942 when the bombing of Germany started in earnest, Germany had invaded and devastated parts of Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium Greece, Yugoslavia and Russia all without any provocation. She had bombed Warsaw Rotterdam Belgrade Moscow and dozens of other towns. She had bombed in Britain London for a whole winter and many British Towns. She had killed millions of civilians.

Britain was not out for revenge, but felt that the lives of German civilians should not prevent it helping Russia. In 1942 Russia was on the point of collapse, Germany had destroyed its air force and thousands of its guns and tanks and had conquered a large part of its territory including its industrial heartland and its best agricultural land and had killed or taken prisoner millions of its soldiers. Without Russia the war could not be won, and both Britain and Germany thought that Russia was finished.

The only way it could help Russia in 1942 was to bomb the industrial towns of the enemy. As well as reducing industrial production, it had a great effect on the morale of the Russian people. The first 1000 bomber raid was the only topic of conversation in Russia. Hundreds of fighter planes, 88m antiaircraft guns, searchlights and smaller guns, together with thousands of army personal had to be transferred to Fight the bombers. Speer, the German Minister of Production said it was a Second Front.

By 1945 London had once more been devastated by the Flying bombs and the V2 Rockets which were still exploding. Russia was on the point of capturing Berlin and winning this terrible war which every one wanted to finish. The British people felt a bit guilty as Russia had suffered the most and had done most to beat Hitler. How could we help her? The only way was to use its bombing force.

Dresden was an obvious choice, it was an important Railway Junction and had factories which were repairing war equipment including tanks. The occupied peoples of Europe who had suffered 5 yrs of oppression & hunger cheered as the bombers went over; POWs in nearby prison camps cheered as they heard the bombs falling. I do not think many people on the Allied side would not have sent the bombers. Would they have altered their minds if they had known it was full of refugees and had remembered about its historic buildings. It is doubtful. But it must be said that after Dresden Churchill stopped all mass bombings.

The verdict on Dresden must not be left to those who lived after. It must be made by those who lived through the devastating bombings in 1940/41 who saw the great fire of London from a hundred miles away in December 1940, who lived through the flying bombs, and who remembered the near victory of Hitler over Russia in 1942; for without Russia fighting three quarters of the German army in 1944 there would have been no D Day.

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