Which companies were destroyed overnight

background Bombs on Central Germany

From the destruction of industry to "moral bombing"

While Central Germany had moved into the crosshairs of Allied bombers as a vital industrial center in the early 1940s, attacks on civilian targets increased in the years that followed. The intention of the "moral bombing" was to demoralize the population, to weaken the support of the National Socialist regime and, last but not least, to keep workers away from arms production. With the "Area Bombing Directive" enacted by Churchill in 1942, the implementation of this goal under the command of Sir Arthur Harris reached a new, terrible dimension: by this time the bombing war had long since become part of everyday life for Germans. Blackout and air raid drills became normal, also for the children.

Our main game was air raid. We played with the dolls and then someone made the siren and then we quickly gathered the dolls together: 'You have to get dressed very quickly now. You have to go. ' And then we took the most important things from the dolls and crawled under the table. We always hung a blanket over the kitchen table, that was our air raid shelter.

Hannelore Henze, Weimar, born in 1936, History of Central Germany

Air sovereignty over Germany seemed long lost in the war years of 1943/44. The cruise missiles and rockets V1 and V2, known as "retaliatory weapons", could no longer change this. Once again, the bombing war over Germany assumed more tragic dimensions than could previously be imagined. The targeted use of high-explosive bombs and incendiary bombs in the bombing of German cities caused real firestorms and thus previously undreamt-of suffering among the civilian population. As early as December 1943, the city of Leipzig suffered its heaviest bomb attack in this way.

There were burned and charred corpses in the street. So adult people who weren't bigger than a doll. So they melted together. That was awful. And this picture - the glowing red sky over Leipzig and the dead on the street - I'll never forget that.

Hildegard Gebauer, Leipzig, born in 1930, history of Central Germany

The tactics of the bombing were aimed at covering the roofs of the houses with explosive bombs and igniting the combustible material thus exposed with incendiary bombs. Further waves of attacks with high-explosive bombs should then keep people in the air raid shelters and prevent firefighting work. In this way Magdeburg was almost razed to the ground in January 1945.

The city was gone, the city was just gone. There were, for example, in Jacobstrasse and the side streets, there the rubble was three meters high. You couldn't get through there at all. Everything broken.

Gerhard Knoch, Magdeburg, born 1930, History of Central Germany

The Elbe city of Dresden suffered most of the victims in February 1945. Cities such as Dessau, Jena, Nordhausen and Halberstadt or Plauen and Chemnitz followed as further targets of the area bombing in central Germany from March to April.

Scars on cities and people

The central German cities were badly hit by the bombing. Not only their industry and transport hubs were destroyed. Whole city centers lost their face overnight. "Death from the air" claimed several thousands of victims among the civilian population, not to mention the refugees and displaced persons who had sought refuge in the metropolitan areas. However, those who had no chance of escaping the bombs until the end of the day must not be kept secret either. Forced laborers, prisoners of war and other marginalized people who had been denied air protection.

Dealing with this chapter of the Second World War has not been easy for all those involved, victims and perpetrators, civilians and pilots on both sides. The victims of the bombing war were still being used in the last days of the war for propaganda and were also used in politically tinged historical images after the war. The processing of these events and the beginning of a joint dispute continue to this day. Historians and interested citizens are still struggling for a correct scientific analysis. The memory and the debates return with every anniversary.

On the night of February 13-14 and the following day, the British and US Air Force bombs completely destroyed an area of ‚Äč‚Äčaround twelve square kilometers. Only burned rubble remained of the Renaissance and Baroque buildings in the center. Splendid cultural and historical buildings such as the Semperoper, Residenzschloss or Zwinger were largely destroyed, and the Frauenkirche collapsed on February 15.

The 773 bombers of the British Air Force dropped 1,478 tons of high explosive and 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs and air mines on the city in the first two days. American airmen unleashed another 711 tons of bombs during the day. On February 15, there was a final wave of attacks by 210 US B-17 bombers, which dropped 463 tons of high explosive bombs.

How many people in the city of about 630,000 people died in these bombings has long been a matter of dispute. At the time of the bombing, Dresden city center was also overcrowded with refugees from the east. An expert commission convened in 2004 estimated the number of victims at up to 25,000 deaths.

Magdeburg was repeatedly the target of British and American air strikes in 1944 and 1945. The city on the Elbe experienced by far the heaviest bombardment on the evening of January 16, 1945. 90 percent of the city center was destroyed in the 39-minute attack with air mines, high-explosive bombs, incendiary and phosphorus bombs.

At least 2,500 residents were killed. About 190,000 people lost their homes. 15 churches and the Breite Weg - at that time one of the most magnificent baroque streets in Germany - were almost completely devastated. The Magdeburg Cathedral alone survived the attack relatively unscathed. The bombing of Magdeburg was one of the most devastating air raids of World War II.

The East - Discover where you live | Where the steel was hardened - machine building city Magdeburg | 01/14/2020 | 21 clock