We recall the bombing of Dresden on 13-15 February 1945
By then, the War had reached a point where cruelty and violence was indiscriminate, a mad point born of seemingly ceaseless battle. And Auschwitz had been ‘discovered’ shortly before. And Dresden did have some sorts of military value as a target. And the German army were fighting a spirited rear-guard action. “And so it goes.”
“It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land … The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforward be more strictly studied in our own interests than that of the enemy. The Foreign Secretary has spoken to me on this subject, and I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.” (Winston Churchill 27 March 1945 – better to get wisdom late than never)
Bombing, of civilian targets in particular, is prima facie a war crime (for those who lose the war). But there are a myriad nuances in the affairs of men and simple black and white morality often won’t do. For example, take the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killed hundreds of thousands in a horrible way, then and later. But the alternative – a land invasion of Japan – may have killed millions. Or to take another example, the bombing of supply lines in Cambodia.
“Everything is nothing, with a twist.” (Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five)
They will play the Dresden Requiem, that will not only commemorate Dresden, but all the bombed cities of the World through history. That list includes:
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