Until the author’s book “Destruction of Dresden” appeared in 1963 the R.A.F. raid scarcely figured in any official indices of the war. Yet between fifty and a hundred thousand people were killed that night. Politically and strategically, the raid was the fore-runner of the U.S. Air Force atomic blows of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the Dresden death-toll was larger than both combined.
In this work, a considerably revised and updated edition of his famous book, “The Destruction of Dresden,” the author shows how the Dresden raid drew on each of the earlier fire-storm raids on Germany, those on Hamburg, Kassel Darmstadt and Brunswick, and then combined the vital elements of success. The city was undefended – it had no guns, and even the German night-fighter force was grounded by Bomber Command’s trickery. It had no proper air-raid shelters. On the night of the attack, Dresden was housing hundreds of thousands of refuges from Silesia, East Prussia, and from Western Germany in addition to its own population of 630,000. AT 10.10 P.M. OF FEBRUARY 13-14, 1945 THE R.A.F. MASTER BOMBER broadcast the cryptic ORDER: ‘Controller to plate-rack force: Come in and bomb glow of red T.I.s as planned.’