Frederick Taylor in his book states the firebombing of Dresden was not a war crime with the following points:
1. BOMBING DRESDEN WAS MILITARILY JUSTIFIED BECAUSE DRESDEN WAS:
• AN ARMAMENTS PRODUCTION CENTER
• A MAJOR RAIL HUB FOR THE MOVEMENT OF TROOPS And SUPPLIES
• AN ARMED CAMP .
First, it is true that Dresden had factories producing Zeiss-Ikon optical products, radios, fuses, and electrical components. However Taylor’s assertion that this production was critical to Germany's war effort is incorrect. If Dresden’s armament production was critical for Germany war effort why did the Allies wait until February 1945 to attack? The question answers itself. The British had been bombing targets deep in German territory ever since January 1944. Yet, Dresden was never targeted. Further, optical products, radios and electrical components were produced elsewhere and are not VITAL to the production of tanks or artillery. They enhance the effectiveness but are not VITAL. In any case, these production are add-ons to the final weapon. The Germans had months of production in the pipeline, and it would been months for lack of optical products, radios and fuses, to effect the war effort. Finally, the factories were in the suburbs, miles from the RAF aiming point.
Secondly, Taylor states Dresden's marshaling yards were a legitimate target and were critically important. The problem is that the RAF firestorm on Feb 13th that killed all the civilians at Dresden was NOT aimed the marshaling yards. The RAF’s aim was to create a firestorm in the old wooden densely packed city center, and kill as many civilians as possible. The RAF bombers carried incendiary and blockbuster bombs for that purpose. The later US attacks were aimed at the marshaling yard and bombing carried HE bombs. Notice, there was no followup to the attack Finally, the Germans were back running trains through Dresden a week after the attack. Since the German’s were not rushing to troops to the Eastern Front through Dresden, during this time period the bombing had no real effect. It's apparent that much of the "communications hub" argument was added later on as a justification - after the attack took place
Thirdly, while Dresden had soldiers and airmen in Dresden, so did every other German city. The people killed in the air attack were almost exclusively women, old people, and children. The Military hospitals were in the outskirts and not the target of the bombing. It should be noted that hundreds of our allies, foreign workers and slave laborers were killed in the attack.
Finally, Taylor simply omits that the War was almost over. It would end in 3 months. In February 13, 1945. The Soviets were on the Oder river only 90 miles from Berlin. The Western allies had complete air supremacy over Germany and were bombing at will. Montgomery and Bradley had launched an offensive to clear the Rhineland and within 2 weeks would be in control of the Rhine’s western bank. By March 6, 1945 we would have a bridgehead over the Rhine at Remagan. Within 5 weeks, Montgomery would launch his massive offensive the Rhine and by April 17, 1945 US troops would reach the Elbe. The attack on Dresden was the last major firebombing of a major German city since all the others had been destoyed.
2. DRESDEN WAS A PRO-NAZI CITY and DRESDEN WAS A CITY THAT TREATED JEWS POORLY. IOW, THEY DESERVED IT.
Its astounding that people make this caveman argument. Supposedly, we were the good guys and morally superior to the Nazi’s and Japanese. The problem with the RAF attack on morale (aka terror bombing) is that didn’t work. It killed women, children, and old men, but had no effect on the war effort. Given the unconditional surrender, Hitler and the Nazi’s had no intention of surrendering. The urban population, ever had they wanted to end the war, had no power to do so. Large numbers of German civilians were killed (500,00), 50,000 British airman were killed for no real reason.
Finally, the RAF attacks on German cities wasted British resources that could have been used in better areas. The lack of 4 engine bombers delayed the winning of the battle of the Atlantic. Instead of building thousands of 4 engine bombers the British could have built 4 times as many fighter-bombers, thereby supporting their ground effort and saving thousands of allied soldiers lives.