Dresden: 13 February, 1945

Dresden Old Town

FlFi FTA

75 years ago on this day, the beginning of the end came for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. It was on this day, February 13th, 1945 when the city of Dresden, with over 640,000 residents, plus tens of thousands of refugees who had fled bombed out cities, was reduced to rubble thanks to the air raids by British and American troops. While a total of 15,000 tons of bombs were used, many of them were advanced technology designed to destroy blocks and entire buildings. Fires raged throughout Dresden with thousands of people fleeing, most of them burning. Between 30,000 and 200,000 people perished during the air raids that lasted through the 15th. 90% of Dresden’s city center was destroyed, including many known landmarks- Semper Opera, Church of Our Lady, the Castle, many buildings dating back to the Baroque Period. The attack could be compared to the atomic bombs that would later be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two that would end World War II in its entirety.

In commemoration of the tragedy, there are two films that feature the attack in its entirety. In the short clip produced by Pathé, the film looks at the strategy behind the attacks and the plan to drive Hitler out of the places he wanted to hide his government in the event Berlin falls. Dresden was option number two until the events of February 13-15. When Germany surrendered less than three months later, it was Flensburg, but not before the Führer and much of his cabinet (and their families) had killed himself.

The second one features a recollection of the events, which included the motives behind attacking Dresden and the survivors who told of the horrors of the events. Basically, it looks at Dresden from all aspects, both in black and white as well as in color.

The purpose behind this is to serve as a reminder of what wars can do to civilizations and that such events should not be repeated again. When looking at what happened to Germany in the final year of World War II and the current situation facing (for example) countries in the Middle East- in particular Iraq, Yemen and Syria, we can see the experience the countries have dealt with, especially when they have to rebuild their cities and the livelihoods of their residents. We also see the standpoint and the drive never to let this happen again. Yet others who have not paid attention to the effects of war on others but focus on their interest, maybe watching such films will garner questions regarding the legitimacy of war and the impact it has on both the instigator and the victims. After all, after watching this, one thing is certain: We all lose in a war.

 

FlFi10

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