The extreme destruction and burning that came of the bombing of Dresden in 1945, rendered in both Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse IV, violently terrified the population of Dresden and the world as they grieved over the estimated civilian casualties of somewhere between 24,000 and 40,000 people. Information about the firebombing remained classified until 1978, when the U.S. Air Force divulged many of the documents revealing the Allies’ plans in WWII. Even today, the event remains one of the most controversial military decisions in modern warfare; why was Dresden, a most pristine cultural city, utterly destroyed in WWII? Until the night of February 13, Dresden had survived the war…show more content… The Manchester Guardian commented: "Dresden, with the charm of its streets and the graciousness of its buildings, belongs to Europe... We hope it is spared" (Steel 2). Those hopes were scattered in the ashes of the city, along with its civilians and the many refugees that migrated there in hope of protection.
The firestorm began shortly after 10pm on February 13, 1945 as a fleet of 243 British Royal Air Force (RAF) Lancaster bombers arrived over the city and dropped 1,477 tons of explosives in less than half an hour. Three hours later another 529 Lancasters approached the city, but this time they were prepared with firebombs. Another onslaught by 311 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) B-17 Flying Fortress bombers followed in the morning (Steele 2). The bombers proceeded across the charming city until all of Dresden was burning. Flames from thousands of fires consumed air from outside and sucked it in with “the force of a hurricane,” spreading the fire and suffocating thousands of victims (Steele 2). Most of Dresden's baroque buildings fell to…show more content… Air Force declassified many of the documents concerning Thunderclap. However, the true reasons for the excessive bombing remain ambiguous. The Allies affirm that by bombing Dresden, they were breaking up German military installations disrupting important lines of communication. However, it has been proven that many of the camps in Dresden were housing refugees, not soldiers, and that the munition stores were not being used for anything other than mining. In fact, the Dresden raids deliberately missed the large German barracks complex to the north of the town and the key railway junctions. It seems most likely that the attack on Dresden was developed primarily for the purpose of terrorizing the German population and forcing an early surrender; moreover, an act of propaganda. It can be deduced that there was very little mourning for Dresden by the