Over 700,000 phosphorus bombs were dropped on 1.2 million defenseless inhabitants of German city Dresden under Britain’s then Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s order, which not only reduced one of the greatest centers of northern Europe to flaming ruins, but also led to one of the worst war crimes of the Second World War.
Dresden’s bombing in February, 13, 1945 was so relentless that some historians believe it was the height of Winston Churchill’s madness.
“I do not want suggestions as to how we can disable the economy and the machinery of war, what I want are suggestions as to how we can roast the German refugees on their escape from Breslau,” Churchill said once.
Toward the end of the war, Churchill’s desired firestorm was finally created. More than 260,000 bodies and residues of bodies were counted after British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) assaulted Dresden. However, those who perished in the centre of the city could not be traced, as the temperature in the area reached 1600 degree Centigrade.
Dresden’s citizens barely had time to reach their shelters and those who sought refuge underground often suffocated as oxygen was pulled from the air to feed the flames. Others perish in a blast of white heat, heat strong enough to melt human flesh.
When the bombing started, no one could imagine that in less than 24 hours all those innocent people could die screaming in Churchill’s firestorms.
If there was a war crime, certainly the Dresden tragedy would rank as one of the most sinister of all time. Sadly, however, Churchill, who ordered the slaughter of up to a half million innocent people in this horrifying tragedy, was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.