Dresden was an undefended cultural city of no of military or industrial importance
Holocaust Deniers Say:
Dresden was an undefended cultural city of no of military or industrial importance.
What the Holocaust deniers say about Dresden
David Irving, whom the High Court in London declared to be a Holocaust denier, racist and antisemite, is the principal advancer of the argument that Dresden was not a military target but an undefended cultural city. According to Irving: "Dresden was a disaster waiting to happen. It was a city to which all the old folks had sent their pensioner fathers and mothers and grandfathers because it was safe . . . Dresden was an almost undefended city. . . ."1
What happened at Dresden
On February 13 and 14, 1945 British and American air forces bombed the German city of Dresden. The old part (Altstadt) of the city was completely destroyed and, according to most historians as well as the Nazi era Dresden police, 25,000 to 35,000 people were killed.
The truth is that Dresden was a military target
Dresden was an important industrial center with over 110 factories and industrial enterprises that employed 50,000 workers. These factories made armaments (shells and ammunition), torpedo parts, aircraft parts, field radios and telephones, steering elements for U-boats, specialized turbines for the Navy, X-ray equipment and precision optical instruments. There was also a poison gas factory and an anti-aircraft and field gun factory.
Dresden was also a key junction in the railroad system for Germany with rail lines radiating from it in all directions. In 1944 special tracks and platforms were installed to expedite supplies to and from the major armaments and war-related factories in the city to the front in the east. There were four freight (marshalling) yards and four main railway stations, all of which were legitimate military targets.
Dresden was an important transit point for military traffic to and from the eastern front, which was just 90 miles away in February 1945. A total of 28 military trains, carrying almost 20,000 men and officers went through just one Dresden train station each day. The destruction of these stations and rail lines in order to disrupt troop movements and reinforcements to the Russian front, which was less than two hours away, was a legitimate military aim.
Dresden was also an important river port and a center of freight traffic on the Elbe river, one of the major waterways of Europe.2
The truth about Dresden defenses
Dresden was undefended in large measure. Until one month before the air raid it had been encircled by antiaircraft guns, but by February 13 the Germans had ordered most of them to the approaching Russian front. The British and Americans didn't know it was undefended at the time of the raid and they were very surprised at the lack of resistance.
Dresden was a legitimate military target.
Dresden was largely undefended because of the Germans' own decisions. The allies were surprised to find the city undefended.
1. David Irving in Firestorm Over Dresden (video, Big Little Picture Company, 1991).
2. Frederick Taylor, Dresden: Tuesday, February 13 1945 (HarperCollins, 2004: pp. 148-153, 160-163; Marshall De Bruhl, Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden (Random House, 2006): pp. 182-185.