Monday, May 17, 2010

DRESDEN – A Holocaust that went Unnoticed

In all the popular cultures and entertainment world the story of German and Japanese excesses during World War II are always told with great deal of flair showcasing how these Allied Nations were facing foes who were a blot on human race and were monsters in human flesh who were establishing a world order that was inherently Evil in it’s basic nature.

Little do the people at large know about the excesses of these so called Allied Nations during the course of history which can out beat the excesses of Germans and Japanese by a big margin .However as these very Allied nations are at the helm of world affairs in this Neo-Liberal world order ,most of these excesses have either been downplayed or have been erased in order to sustain their heroic image of saviors of humanity and freedom which gives them the moral right to dictate the other nations as to how they should run.

One such incidence that didn’t find it’s significance in history books was the Bombing of the German city of Dresden during World War II by allied nations which is considered in it’s factual foundations as one of the worst single event of massacre that well surpasses the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The German city of Dresden also known as Florence of North Europe was an established cultural centre for decades and was known for producing cigarettes and china. The city by February 1945 was transformed as a shelter for war torn refugees pouring from the onslaught of the Red Army of Soviet Union and it also became a centre where medical camps were organized for treatment of wounded soldiers.

The German command wary of Allied attention was already under severe pressure from two fronts of fighting and they decided to relocate their limited armed resources to the frontline cities and areas where the danger was perceived more. Hence Dresden was left with meager light defenses that were only meant for ground-to-ground assault , neither it had any effective military unit, anti-aircraft battery or any Luftwaffe ( air force ) support.

However the British Air Command by that time had come up with a concrete policy enunciated in the Casablanca Directive of 1943 as following – “progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system, and undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened”. Thus the agenda for British bombers was set based on the latter part of the directive by the likes of advisors such as Charles Portal and Arthur Harris backed by Winston Churchill the Prime minister of Great Britain who was determined to end this war quickly by yielding a devastating blow to the German psyche of resisting against all odds and to somehow beat the Soviet Union in the race for overrunning Germany.

They decided that a soft target like the city of Dresden would be perfectly suitable for this purpose because the destruction of working class groups in such a city was not only easy but it would yield a psychological blow to the German civilians to the extent that they would consider this war futile and would easily capitulate paving the way for German armed forces to capitulate soon enough. Bombing any other location would had posed the risk of counter-resistance along with lesser damage caused. Thus like having a self-conceived motive behind a cold blooded crime the British bombers along with their American friends flew over to this desolated city of Dresden whose population had swelled up to nearly 1.2 million due to a heavy influx of refugees and wounded soldiers.

The British Air Command had decided to go for ‘Area Bombing’ a concept where a large number of ‘Incendiary Bombs’ were dropped on an extensive area inhabited by civilians so that eventually a firestorm is caused when hundreds of smaller fires join in one vast conflagration. Huge masses of air are sucked in to feed the inferno, causing an artificial tornado. Those persons unlucky enough to be caught in the rush of wind are hurled down entire streets into the flames. Those who seek refuge underground often suffocate as oxygen is pulled from the air to feed the blaze, or they perish in a blast of white heat--heat intense enough to melt human flesh.

Thus the Bombing began on the night of 13th February 1945 by about 10.45 pm the entire city was up in this bizarre firestorm which began the ultimate spectacle of an orchestrated annihilation where chores of people experienced their own cremation from the great fire storm caused while they were running for their lives. A brief lull of three hours was deliberately given for the surviving civilians to come out in open for relief providing efforts for their fellow citizens and soon without any warning a second wave of even more heavy bombardment was carried on at 1.22 Am of 14th February 1945 to wipe out what they considered rats hiding in holes. The Bombing continued for 14 hours since it commenced leaving a city witnessing catastrophic destruction that would fall very nearly short to the prophesied Armageddon in Bible.

Human flesh including included bodies of women, children, elderly citizens, patients , animals etc, melted like ores melt in severely hot industrial furnaces. The underground areas became like death traps where citizens were suffocated to death. The estimated casualty rate has been always shrouded in mystery as any sort of estimation being done in presence of victorious Allied powers conscious of not loosing their humane image had lead to a serious downplay of the incidence by estimating it at around 35,000 dead leaving the wounded and burnt aside.

However neutral researches have revealed with evidences that an estimated range of 2,50,000 – 5,00,000 people died in this mass bombing. The range appears widened as there were corpses that were severely mutilated and melted making the count of dead a very difficult task. 

Soon enough Allied Propaganda was conceived that this mass level annihilation would be cited as a revenge for Rotterdam , Coventry and London bombing which in actuality were cities with military establishments during that time and the damage caused was highly miniscule as compared to Dresden Bombings. The railroads that were cited as the cause of bombings received less damage as the focus of bombing was in true sense that of annihilating the unarmed civilians.

Thus the extent of annihilation at Dresden surpassed Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing where 90,000 – 1,45,000 people died in another dastardly act of Holocaust perpetrated this time by the Americans. The event of Dresden was downplayed heavily by world media at that point of time and subsequently figures were manipulated to a large extent to make it look as an insignificant operation. The officers leading the attack were decorated with bravery awards.

Till date the popular cultures or history books of established authors never mention this Holocaust which was the worst single event of massacre because we all know that history is always written by the winners. Most of the educated class even don’t know whether such a thing took place but now gradually the truth of this brutality has began to surface out just as in Alfred Hitchcock’s movies the murdered corpse begins to surface out of the sea providing the primary evidence of a crime committed with it in the past.I sincerely believe that a day should come when countries like USA , Great Britain and their allies are made to apologize a thousand times for their excesses over the course of human history just as these very nations had forced Germany and Japan to apologize to the extent that they still are saying sorry for what their forefathers had done long before they were born.

 © 2010 Neelabh Chaturvedi .All Rights Reserved.


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