Fate of the Florence of the Elbe

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 08.54.45How Dresden became a perpetual monument to destruction from the air

It took the Royal Air Force 20 minutes, writes Dalrymple,

to unload the explosives that created the firestorm that turned a city famed for its baroque architecture and its devotion to art into a smoking ruin as archaeological as Pompeii.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 08.57.34No decent, civilised person

can look at pictures of Dresden after the bombing without being overcome by a sense of shock. The jagged ruins of walls emerging from fields of rubble, as far as the eye can see or the camera record, are a testament, of a kind, to human ingenuity. Only the long development of science and knowledge could have achieved this.

As for the funeral pyres of bodies,

piled up with their legs and arms emerging from the mass, or the corpses of the people boiled alive in the fountains in which they had taken refuge . . . one averts not only one’s eyes, but one’s thoughts.

Before

Before

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