In the final months of World War II, British and U.S. bombers pummeled the city of Dresden, Germany. Once called “Florence on the Elbe,” in two days, time the city was reduced to ash.
Dresden’s beginnings trace back to Neolithic and Slavic tribes who settled along the clay-rich banks of the Elbe River, where pottery was produced since 7500 BC.
Dresden’s long history was inseparable from its astonishing city center, where primarily baroque and rococo style buildings accented the city’s cultural and artistic spirit.
By the early 1900s, Dresden was Germany’s seventh-largest city. When it was attacked by British forces on February 13, 1945, inclement weather prevented the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) from taking part in the first scheduled strikes. Instead, the Royal Air Force (RAF) was sent in to carry out raids.
On February 13-14, 1945, American and British forces began a massive bombing in Dresden that continues to be a controversial subject to this day. The two-day attack was done entirely by air and it annihilated the city, leaving large swaths utterly unrecognizable and the history of Dresden in ruins. Over 1,200 heavy bombers were used in the attack. They dropped nearly two tons of bombs on the city – leaving only a small portion of the city center intact.