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STORY

The Allied strategic bombing campaign

In February 1945, over 1,200 Allied bombers of the RAF and the US Army Air Forces launched four aerial attacks against Dresden. It was the final months of the war in Europe, and would become one of the most controversial Allied attacks of the Second World War. The raids destroyed 75,000 homes and around 25,000 people were killed.

However at the start of the war, the bombing of civilians had been seen as unjustifiable. Over the course of the war, the strategic bombing campaign developed from a limited force into a weapon of immense destructive power, with hundreds of cities subjected to air attack alongside military targets.

How had the bombing campaign escalated? Was strategic bombing effective? Did it actually weaken Germany’s war industries and break the German people’s morale? Or did the air war over Europe become exactly the kind of war of attrition that its proponents had hoped to avoid?