About 56 minutes into the interview, Graf mentions a German document from March 1945 stating that 202 000 bodies had so far been counted in Dresden. Because the counting had not been completed, Graf believes the total deaths from Dresden was “at least 250 000, if not more
Others on this thread have mentioned as many as 500.000 dead. That is a gross exageration. It is likely that the death toll will never be known accuratly. In the new edition of his book about Dresden, D.Irving says 60.000 or more(p.263). The counting stopped according to a police report at around 25.000. One has to take into acount nazi and soviet propaganda.
Apart from this, it is clear that the bombing was criminal and worse, it did not even contribute in bringing the war sooner to an end, not by one day. I feel
ed that 'historians' like Frederick Taylor can still dish out crap like "Dresden : Tuesday, February 13, 1945 ", seeking to justify this monstrosity.
I love the part where F.taylor says "It is rarely mentioned that almost exactly the same number of Soviet citizens died as a result of bombing during the Second World War as Germans: around half a million", and goes on to describe the german air attacks on STALINGRAD! What an dishonest man! Stalingrad was a battlefield, heavily defended by an entire soviet army! Besides, where did he get hsi half a million figure from?
By Taylors account, one gets the feeling that the civilians at Dresden had it coming! A review by R. H. Eggleston summarizes my own feelings about this apologist piece of crap of a book. Read on. comments invited:
The crux is this: in light of the war situation known to exist in February 1945, did Dresden's contribution to Germany's war economy and did its status as a rail center justify selecting the city as the target of a major air attack?
The first key to answering these questions is to consider what information Allied decision-makers had about these subjects - war situation, war economy, rail center - at the time they planned the air attacks for February 1945. The second key is to frame one's response within the context of Allied war ethics, as they existed in wartime 1945. In discussing the attacks, it's important to assess whether they were justified by what Allied commanders knew at the time; and then clearly differentiate that assessment from facts (and analysis) that emerged later.
WHAT ALLIED COMMANDERS KNEW ABOUT THE WAR SITUATION: Commanders knew that, on any given day, scores of Allied soldiers and airmen were dying in combat. On the other hand, they knew that hundreds, often thousands, of allied aircraft flew sorties over Germany daily, virtually unopposed. On many days, the Luftwaffe was effectively grounded, without fuel. They knew, too, that Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS combat formations had become effectively static because of critical fuel shortages. When road and rail transport could move, it was exposed to relentless air attack, visibility permitting. U-boats had declined from a dangerous threat to virtual impotence. Soviet forces had entered Reich territory. Refugees from the east were pouring into Germany, in full flight. Berlin would be physically overrun very soon. The war would be over - soon.
WHAT ALLIED COMMANDERS KNEW ABOUT DRESDEN'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAR ECONOMY: They knew that Dresden was Germany's sixth (or seventh) largest city and that Zeiss-Ikon manufactured high-tech optical equipment there. They also assumed that Dresden manufactured other items of military value. They knew there was lot rail traffic through Dresden. That's about it. Taylor doesn't indicate they actually knew anything else.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS THAT GUIDED ALLIED COMMANDERS: When Allied forces overran Reich territory, they did not systematically uproot, rape, or murder the population. When they took German prisoners, they did not systematically murder or abuse them. That said, there were no ethical standards to speak of. Cities were manufacturing centers to be destroyed. City residents were perceived to contribute to the war effort in some measure, so the policy was to burn down the cities to de-house and disrupt them. It was no secret to Allied decision-makers that unrestricted, massive incendiary attacks on German cities effectively carried out this policy. The resulting deaths of thousands of civilians was a side-effect.
Taylor concludes that the February air attacks were amply justified in light of knowledge available to 1945 planners and from information that came to light after the event. The framework he constructs to support this viewpoint is explicitly or implicitly based on the following hypotheses, in order of importance: Dresden was (1) an important center for arms-related production;(2) an important rail hub and transit point for German soldiers;(3) an armed camp; (4) pro-Nazi; and (5) anti-Semitic.
Upon closer examination, it's apparent the facts (or more frequently anecdotes) Taylor adduces to support his conclusions were either unavailable to Allied decision-makers at all, were not relevant to target selection, or cannot be proved to be true today, even with the benefit of hindsight. Following is a comparison of the reviewer's own observations (which do benefit from hindsight) about these subjects with what Taylor writes:
1. DRESDEN'S IMPORTANCE AS AN ARMAMENTS PRODUCTION CENTER. To prove the contention that Dresden was highly important, Taylor devotes a full chapter to anecdotes. But that's all they are - anecdotes with little or no supporting substantiation. He provides no statistics. Examples: one anecdote is a self-congratulatory phrase that appeared in an official city publication in 1942, citing Dresden's contributions to the Reich war effort. Another anecdote describes a phone conversation between Taylor and a woman about her experience making cartridges. Yet another refers to one facility that manufactured machine guns. If Dresden was a significant site for producing machine guns or cartridges, however, we don't hear any more about it.
Taylor's major focus is on Dresden's role in producing higher technology items, such as Zeiss-Ikon optical products, radios, fuses, electrical components, and other engineered elements of complex weapons systems that required assembly for use in conjunction with other components. Taylor accepts the proposition that this production was critical to Germany's war effort.
It would be very useful to inquire about the contribution of these products to Germany's actual military requirements in February 1945. For example: Were the military organizations (Wehrmacht, Navy, Luftwaffe, and Waffen-SS) and weapons systems for which Dresden's output was intended actually capable of using the weapons at that point in time? Were they being effectively transported, distributed, and assembled? And after assembly: What was the value of in destroying bomb fuses if the planes supposed to drop the bombs cannot fly? Or a high-quality lens used in a submarine periscope, when the submarine literally can't come to periscope depth? Or communications equipment, if the military unit that uses it has been destroyed, with its operators dead, wounded, or captured?
The foregoing questions are important if one is justifying decision-makers' actions by including hindsight information that was unavailable or irrelevant to them. At the time of the February attacks, Allied planners knew only that Dresden produced arms-related materials. We still have no idea how much was made or what practical value these materials had. Taylor doesn't inquire.
2. DRESDEN WAS A MAJOR RAIL HUB FOR THE MOVEMENT OF TROOPS, MUNITIONS, ETC. Taylor provides solid statistical data about rail movements to support his argument that Dresden's marshaling yards were a legitimate target. Let's assume these yards were critically important. But Allied planners did not consider them to be sufficiently important to include them as a target in the RAF's crushing attack of February 13th - which concentrated on the city's residential quarter. When the USAAF attacked rail facilities the next day, there was no follow up then or later, even though the yards were quickly returned to full operation. It's apparent that much of the "communications hub" argument was added later on as a justification - after the attack took place.
3. DRESDEN WAS AN ARMED CAMP. Literally true, but not too important to planners selecting targets. By mid-February 1945, virtually every German male over the age of 14 was in uniform and carried a weapon, if one was available. Certainly there were thousands of soldiers and airmen in Dresden at the time of the attacks. But there's a major distinction between unorganized bodies of military age men in transit, on leave, or recovering from wounds (such as were found in every major German city) and soldiers organized into cohesive, effective combat formations. Although enemy forces of any kind are always a legitimate target, attacking unorganized groups of soldiers in Dresden would have been a low priority. The "armed camp" argument for attacking Dresden seems to be an ex-post facto justification.
4 DRESDEN WAS A PRO-NAZI CITY. It's highly unlikely that Allied decision-makers would have considered this as a relevant factor in target selection if they had known it. Moreover, it's debatable whether Dresden was more or less pro-Nazi than other cities. Pose this question: if Dresden had been anti-Nazi, would the Allies have skipped the attack? For example, if there had been a free election in January 1945 and the Nazi candidates had been defeated, would Dresden have been removed from the target list?
5 DRESDEN WAS A CITY THAT TREATED JEWS POORLY. This has the same validity for target planning as the "Dresden was pro-Nazi" rationale. It's highly unlikely that Allied decision-makers would have considered treatment of Jews as a relevant factor either, if they had known it. It would be difficult to prove any German city treated Jews much better or worse. Ask yourself: if Dresden had had a reputation for treating Jews nicely, would Dresden have been removed from the target list?