Bombing of German civilians World War II quotes
[back] Bombing of German civilians World War II

Irving then gave a detailed account of the cynical manoeuvrings of Churchill to escalate the aerial campaign against Germany's civilian population to the point at which Hitler was driven to strike back against Britain's cities, supplying the spurious justification for the R.A.F.'s (and later the U.S. Army Air Force's) monstrous terror attacks against centuries-old citadels of culture and their helpless inhabitants. [1987] Irving on Churchill. Dismantling Churchillian Mythology by Theodore J. O'Keefe

Allied apologists for the massacre have often "twinned" Dresden with the English city of Coventry. But the 380 killed in Coventry during the entire war cannot begin to compare with over 1,000 times that number who were slaughtered in 14 hours at Dresden. Moreover, Coventry was a munitions center, a legitimate military target. Dresden, on the other hand, produced only china--and cups and saucers can hardly be considered military hardware!
    It is interesting to further compare the respective damage to London and Dresden, especially when we recall all the Hollywood schmaltz about the "London blitz." In one night, 1,600 acres of land were destroyed in the Dresden massacre. London escaped with damage to only 600 acres during the entire war.   
   
In one ironic note, Dresden's only conceivable military target -- its railroad yards -- was ignored by Allied bombers. They were too busy concentrating on helpless old men, women and children. The WWII Dresden Holocaust - 'A Single Column Of Flame'

Winston Churchill and the War Department set up a situation where London would be blitzed, without telling the people that Britain had started the process several months earlier. This had the effect of getting Britons into a mood for total war, without the traditional restraints of civilised ‘laws’ or conventions, restraints which had hitherto established that civilians would not as such be targeted
......In March 1942 Churchill’s War Cabinet adopted the ‘Lindemann plan’, whereby civilian targeting became official. Working-class homes were preferred to upper-class because they were closer together, and so a greater flesh-incineration-per-bomb could be achieved. The Jewish German émigré Professor Frederick Lindemann, Churchill's friend and scientific advisor had by then become Lord Cherwell. He submitted a plan to the War Cabinet on March 30th urging that German working-class houses be targeted in preference to military objectives, the latter being harder to hit. Middle-class homes had too much space around them, he explained. He was not prosecuted for a ghastly new war-crime, hitherto undreamt-of. Thereby all cities and town over 50,000 inhabitants could be destroyed, or at least brought to ruin. The War Cabinet realised that no inkling of this must reach the public. How Britain Pioneered City Bombing

More than five million Germans lost their lives during the war, including more than half a million who were killed in Allied bombings of German towns and cities, many of them literally "holocausted" in flames and fire storms. [1989] My Role in the [Ernst] Zündel Trial

The Allied bombing of Hamburg in late July 1943 - 'Operation Gomorrah', as the British called it - claimed more than 100,000 lives. Some 40,000 of these victims were buried in the Ohlsdorf cemetery, in four mass graves of 10,000 bodies each.  AIR PHOTO EVIDENCE by JOHN CLIVE BALL

"I recognize that after the battle of Normandy my unit was composed mainly of young, fanatical soldiers. A good deal of them had lost their parents, their sisters and brothers during the bombing. They had seen for themselves in Köln thousands of mangled corpses after a terror raid had passed. Their hatred for the enemy was such, I swear it, I could not always keep it under control." SS Standartenführer Jochen Peiper, 1st SS Panzer Division, Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler

Franz Kurowski in his book "Bombs over Dresden":
"The notion that the actual number of people missing was actually much higher than the lists of missing people reported lies in the special role Dresden had: Between 500,000 - 600,000 refugees from other cities came here to seek shelter. Many of those refugees groups were completely destroyed, so that nobody was left to issue a report on who was missing. That is especially true for those refugees whom were given shelter by Dresden families and then burnt to ashes in their cellars. Who would be left to search for those refugees? Here we can apply what we can apply for all catastrophic events: Every survivor only searches for his/her missing relatives and friends.
And friends or relatives those refugees were not… "

Berlin Archeologist Uwe Mueller:
"We learned, that temperatures as high as 1,300 - 1,400 degrees centigrade and no oxygen existed 3 meters below. On the surface, the temperatures were most likely even higher… so that only ashes would remain from humans burning to death."

Former Chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer wrote:
"The attack on Dresden, which was overflowing with refugees, on February 13th 1945 caused around 250,000 dead."
(source: DEUTSCHLAND HEUTE, Wiesbaden 1955, page 154)

Bomber Harris: "Dresden? There is not such a place any longer." "I want to point out, that besides Essen, we never actually considered any particular industrial sites as targets. The destruction of industrial sites always was some sort of bonus for us. Our real targets always were the inner cities."

Most British readers will be familiar with Dresden, which has come to symbolise the awful horror of a ruthless total war. What they will not know is the fate of a host of other small cities - Kassel, Paderborn, Aachen, Swinemünde, and many more - which were all but obliterated by the bombing, or of the many large cities such as Cologne or Essen which experienced more than 250 raids each, so many that at the end the bombers were simply turning ruins into ruins. ....Hamburg endured the first firestorm, losing perhaps 45,000 people Reviews

Holocaust over Dresden, known as the Florence of the North. Dresden was a hospital city for wounded soldiers. Not one military unit, not one anti-aircraft battery was deployed in the city. Together with the 600,000 refugees from Breslau, Dresden was filled with nearly 1.2 million people. Churchill had asked for "suggestions how to blaze 600,000 refugees". He wasn't interested how to target military installations 60 miles outside of Dresden. More than 700,000 phosphorus bombs were dropped on 1.2 million people. One bomb for every 2 people. The temperature in the centre of the city reached 1600o centigrade. More than 260,000 bodies and residues of bodies were counted. But those who perished in the centre of the city can't be traced. Appr. 500,000 children, women, the elderly, wounded soldiers and the animals of the zoo were murdered in one night. [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

During excavations of the old Dresden market, discoloration of sandstone
from yellow to red three meters below street level were found.
Partially, sand became glass.

During the war, more bombs by weight were dropped on the city of Berlin than were released on the whole of Great Britain during the entire war...... a little over 300 people in Coventry lost their lives. In just ten days an estimated 70,000 citizens of Hamburg were killed.  [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

All German towns and cities above 50,000 population were from 50% to 80% destroyed. Dresden with a population larger than that of Liverpool was incinerated with an estimated 135,000 civilian inhabitants burned and buried in the ruins. Hamburg was totally destroyed and 70,000 civilians died in the most appalling circumstances. Cologne with a population greater than Glasgow's was turned into a moonscape. As Hamburg burned the winds feeding the three-mile high flames reached twice hurricane speed to exceed 150 miles per hour. On the outskirts of the city trees three feet in diameter were sucked from the ground by the supernatural forces of these winds and hurled miles into the city-inferno, as were vehicles, men, women and children.  [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

In his groundbreaking analysis of England’s bombing war, F.J.P Veale summed up. "It is one of the greatest triumphs of modern emotional engineering that, in spite of the plain facts of the case which could never be disguised or even materially distorted, the British public, throughout the Blitz Period (1940 1941) remained convinced that the entire responsibility for their sufferings it was undergoing rested on the German leaders. Too high praise cannot, therefore, be lavished on the British emotional engineers for the infinite skill with which the public mind was conditioned prior to and during a period of unparalleled strain." He added: "The inhabitants of Coventry, for example, continued to imagine that their sufferings were due to the innate villainy of Adolf Hitler without a suspicion that a decision, splendid or otherwise, of the British War Cabinet, was the decisive factor in the case." (12). [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

As the air war against National Socialist Europe developed the civilian populations of Germany, Austria, Hungary and other European cities and towns, were increasingly targeted as a means of causing maximum bloodshed and instilling outright terror. This began on 11 March 1942 with the adoption of the Lindemann Plan by the British War Cabinet.
....This genocidal policy continued with undiminished ferocity until the end of the war in May 1945. "The bombing during this period was not as the Germans complained indiscriminate. On the contrary it was concentrated on working class houses because, as Churchill’s Jewish key advisor, Professor Frederick Lindemann maintained, a higher percentage of bloodshed per ton of explosives dropped could be expected from bombing houses built close together, rather than by bombing higher class houses surrounded by gardens."
    "I am in full agreement (of terror bombing)." added Sir Archibald Sinclair, Secretary for Air (RAF). "I am all for the bombing of working class areas in German cities. I am a Cromwellian - I believe in 'slaying in the name of the Lord." [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

This genocidal policy continued with undiminished ferocity until the end of the war in May 1945. "The bombing during this period was not as the Germans complained indiscriminate. On the contrary it was concentrated on working class houses because, as Churchill’s Jewish key advisor, Professor Frederick Lindemann maintained, a higher percentage of bloodshed per ton of explosives dropped could be expected from bombing houses built close together, rather than by bombing higher class houses surrounded by gardens." (13)

"On 13th February 1945 I was a navigator on one of the Lancaster bombers which devastated Dresden. I well remember the briefing by our Group Captain. We were told that the Red Army was thrusting towards Dresden and that the town would be crowded with refugees and that the center of the town would be full of women and children. Our aiming point would be the market place.
    I recall that we were somewhat uneasy, but we did as we were told. We accordingly bombed the target and on our way back our wireless operator picked up a German broadcast accusing the RAF of terror tactics, and that 65,000 civilians had died. We dismissed this as German propaganda.
The penny didn't drop until a few weeks later when my squadron received a visit from the Crown Film Unit who were making the wartime propaganda films. There was a mock briefing, with one notable difference. The same Group Captain now said, 'as the market place would be filled with women and children on no account would we bomb the center of the town. Instead, our aiming point would be a vital railway junction to the east.
I can categorically confirm that the Dresden raid was a black mark on Britain's war record. The aircrews on my squadron were convinced that this wicked act was not instigated by our much-respected guvnor 'Butch' Harris but by Churchill. I have waited 29 years to say this, and it still worries me." [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan’s only two Christian cities come first to mind when one considers total incineration from the air but the destruction of those great cities, along with their inhabitants, pale into relative insignificance when compared with the greater and more sustained destruction of middle Europe’s great cities. American Martin Caidin, one of the world’s foremost experts on the effects of bombing said, "Neither Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffering from the smashing blows of nuclear explosions could match the utter hell of Hamburg." (See end notes on Martin Caidin). [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

Coventry of course is always thrown up when apologists seek to justify the saturation bombing of European cities. Notwithstanding the fact that it has since been proved that the bombing of Coventry, like the sinking of the Lusitania, was deliberately set up as 'a means to an end', it might be remembered in terms of proportion that Coventry lost 100 acres through bombing. In just ten terrible days in the summer of 1943 British bombers gutted more than six thousand acres of Hamburg.
    During the entire course of the war a little over 300 people in Coventry lost their lives. In just ten days an estimated 70,000 citizens of Hamburg were killed.
    Martin Caidin was furious at the wanton loss of life: "The fire and horror lasted ten full days. This is what makes Hamburg - and the loss of some seventy thousand men, women and children - stand out as the worst of the disasters visited upon civilization during the insanity of World War 2."[2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

The RAF and USAF terror bombing offensive cost not only the lives of over a million German civilians and brought about the total destruction of many of Europe's finest and most historical cities. For Britain alone it also cost the lives of 58,888 RAF aircrew, nearly the same number of British junior officers during the First World War. [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

America’s leading revisionist went on to say: "There are no final figures on the number of civilians killed as a result of the mass-bombing, but 2,000,000 would be a very restrained figure (estimate)." [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

"Kassel suffered over 300 air raids, some carrying waves of 1,000 bombers; British by night, American by day. When on April 4th 1945, the city surrendered, of a population of 250,000, just 15,000 were left alive," reported Jack Bell, Chicago Daily News Foreign Service, Kassel. (May 15th 1946). [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

Douglas Botting the writer and journalist agreed. "Countless smaller towns and villages had been razed to the ground or turned into ghost towns - like Wiener Neustadt in Austria, which emerged from the air raids and the street fighting with only eighteen houses intact and its population reduced from 45,000 to 860."  [2001] TERROR BOMBING: THE CRIME OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Michael Walsh

   On the other hand, Dresden, with a pre-war population of 600,000, had been swelled with hundreds of thousands of refugees from the East, fleeing the Soviet army: its population at the time of the raid was probably comparable to Hamburg's at that city's zenith. Dresden was also struck by a firestorm: but it lacked almost all of the safeguards present in Hamburg. There were no large Hochbunkern in Dresden where people could wait out the storm. Death from asphyxiation would seem to be guaranteed.
    Additionally, the hundreds of thousands of refugees in the city would have no way of orienting themselves or knowing how to escape: we can assume panic among many of them, and desperate retreat into overcrowded underground converted public shelters that would ultimately become death traps. Moreover, since Dresden had never before been seriously bombed, the population had neither fled, nor reduced in number, nor were they likely well versed in procedures that would save their lives: and only one, evacuation, would save them in the firestorm. On top of this, the second wave of British bombers was designed to bomb the center of the city at precisely the time when the maximum amount of aid would be in the streets trying to save the lives of the victims from the first wave: that percentage of losses must also be considered. Finally, the third blow by the Americans, next day, doubtless brought its casualties, along with the P-51 Mustangs who in several well documented instances strafed survivors, including Allied POW's, and clearly marked hospital wings. Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign: Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany, 1939-1945, by Samuel Crowell 

And needless to say as in regular battle the number of injuries would far exceed the dead; in Hamburg alone 37,439 were injured seriously enough to be counted, including many amputees and those with severe and lifelong burns. Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign: Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany, 1939-1945, by Samuel Crowell 

The center of the bombing zone was usually marked off, and the people were forbidden access, as Vonnegut described it, "Germans were stopped there. They were not permitted to explore the moon." [SF213] Then the work crews, supplemented by POW's and camp internees, would turn to the grisly task of recovering the dead. After the Kassel firestorm of 1943, the Police President issued suggestions on the things that would be required by the rescue crews, including protective suits, rubber gloves, goggles, disinfectants, and also tobacco (probably to defeat the sense of smell), alcohol (to encourage the workers), shears and bolt cutters to cut off the fingers of the dead wearing jewelry, and which would later be used to identify the victims.[H320] Buckets of rings were recovered from the Dresden dead in this fashion. [D208] In Dresden, the devastation had been so great that there were no rubber gloves available; an American POW describes how they improvised:
     "The guard pointed at the corpse as one I should remove. He indicated I take a belt off another body and put it around the one I was to remove. It's surprising how much could be communicated by hand motions. I put a belt around the neck of this man and started to drag it towards the ramp, but [the body] broke in half. That was too much for me. I sort of lost it for a bit. I began to scream, yell and dance around. I tried to go out but they wouldn't let me. They got me quieted down, pointed to one of the bottles on the table and insisted I have a few swallows. That was the first I ever tasted liquor of any kind." [A408] Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign: Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany, 1939-1945, by Samuel Crowell 

Firestorms are caused when a number of small fires converge into a single blaze, creating a huge conflagration which in turn sucks in oxygen at high speeds and at very high temperatures. In Hamburg, the conflagration eventually enveloped 4 1/2 square miles, developed 100 mph winds [G110], and reached temperatures of at least 600 to 800 degrees Centigrade [US19](other firestorms have been said to generate temperatures of 1,500 to 2,000 degrees Centigrade). [H314] By way of comparison it should be noted that startup temperatures for crematoria are between 600 and 700 degrees Centigrade. [I262] Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign: Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany, 1939-1945, by Samuel Crowell 

Carbon monoxide gas played a major role in the fatalities, particularly in incendiary raids, which were the type usually employed against population centers. Although this development was unexpected, it was soon recognized as the typical cause of death for those found in underground cellars or bunkers. [US24f] It was also a frequent cause of death for aboveground casualties, because the concentrations of the gas were so great in the streets and because heart attacks and other pathologies could result from exposure to less than lethal levels. [US24f] In Wesermunde, for example, of 210 people killed in a fire caused by an air raid, 175 perished from carbon monoxide poisoning. [US24] Of the victims of the Hamburg raid, apart from mechanical injuries, 70% were poisoned with the lethal gas. [US24] It should be noted that carbon monoxide would be generated not only from incomplete combustion but also by exploding bombs: gas from a high explosive shell would contain 60% to 70% carbon monoxide. [US24] The Germans attempted to develop a number of tests that would test carbon monoxide hemoglobin in corpses even after putrefaction. The indications are simply astonishing: while CO levels of .5% can kill, some bodies found in bomb shelters contained concentrations of up to 95%. [US25] Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign: Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany, 1939-1945, by Samuel Crowell 

At a cost that would project to billions of marks, we have found that tremendous sums were expended on shelters of all types, including what we would conservatively estimate to be hundreds of above and below ground public shelters of reinforced concrete, thousands of public access shelters (�LSR), and tens of thousands of air raid cellars (LS-Keller) and home shelters. The regulations stipulated that all of these shelters were to be equipped for chemical warfare defense, and the references to gas or air tight steel doors in the literature and testimony are so frequent as to scarcely deserve further comment.

........For the documentary, forensic, and photographic evidence clearly shows that the majority of the hundreds of thousands of German men, women, and children indiscriminately killed in the air war perished from the inhalation of poisonous carbon monoxide gas and were in many cases at least partially cremated. Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign: Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany, 1939-1945, by Samuel Crowell 

Contrasting the situation among the civilian population with that in the concentration camps, we find ample reason to expect analogous levels of bomb and gas protection. The camps were important to the war effort. Himmler expressed concerns about prisoners escaping from the system during air raids, including Auschwitz Birkenau, at precisely the time when Auschwitz Birkenau began to make numerous requests for gas tight doors and other gas tight fixtures such as were common for civil defense in other parts of Germany. Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign: Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany, 1939-1945, by Samuel Crowell 

bomb protection in the German scheme of things also meant gas protection.........it should be obvious that the Bath and Disinfection complex at Majdanek was converted at some point in its career to also provide bomb and gas protection, and that its showers were meant to serve as a decontamination center for gassing victims. Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign: Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany, 1939-1945, by Samuel Crowell 

Following is a Japanese report on the fire-bombings of Japan.
"America has revealed her barbaric character before in the terror bombings of civilian populations in Hamburg, Berlin, and other German cities, in her destruction of priceless cultural monuments in various parts of Europe, in her sinking of innumerable hospital ships, and in countless other acts of savagery beyond mention. But the raids on Tokyo and Nagoya with the last few days have demonstrated more spectacularly than ever the fiendish character of the American enemy.
    "For these recent raids have been the most unquestionable examples of calculated terror bombing. Raining flaming incendiaries over a vast area of civilian dwellings, the raiders can make no excuse of having aimed at military or industrial installations.
    "It was an attempt at mass murder of women and children who had no connection with war production or any activity directly connected with the war. There can be no other result than to strengthen the conviction of every Japanese that there can be no slackening of the war effort...
    "The action of the Americans is all the more despicable because of the noisy pretensions they constantly make about their humanity and idealism. They are the first to accuse others of atrocities, raising loud protests over claims of alleged Japanese mistreatment of prisoners of war and alleged Japanese destruction in the zones of hostility. But even the most extravagant of the false American charges against the Japanese pale into insignificance beside the actual acts of deliberate American terror against civilian populations. No one expects war to be anything but a brutal business, but it remains for the Americans to make it systematically and unnecessarily a wholesale horror for innocent civilians.
Hoito Edoin, The Night Tokyo Burned: The Incendiary Campaign Against Japan, March - August, 1945, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1987. p.120