On the Firebombing of Dresden

Dresden In Der Spiegel, an interview with Frederick Taylor on the military logic of bombing Dresden:

Taylor:…The Dresden attack was directly linked to the conduct of the war elsewhere — in this case on the Eastern Front. In Feb. 1945, Dresden was a major transport and communication hub less than 120 miles from the advancing Russians. The aim of the bombing was quite deliberately to destroy the center of the city, thereby making the movement of German soldiers and civilians impossible.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And in that, it was quite effective.

Taylor: There were other targets too. Berlin was also seen as essential to continuing German resistance and was heavily bombed on Feb. 3. Raids on Dresden and Chemnitz were delayed by bad weather. And ultimately, only the Dresden raid was successful — horribly so as the 25,000 or more casualties bear witness. This was, in fact, a clear-cut case where maximum destruction was the central aim of the attack. There can be no question that the presence of many refugees was factored into the Allies' calculations. A Feb. 1, 1945 memorandum specifically noted the huge tide of refugees passing through the eastern German cities as a “plus point,” chillingly adding that attacking these cities would “result in establishing a state of chaos in some or all of these areas.”