Talk:Bombing of Dresden in World War II/Archive 15

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The history of the edit of Archive 14 is included in this page's edit history.

Archive 10 Archive 13 Archive 14 Archive 15 Archive 16 Archive 17 Archive 18

absolutely exemplary tragedy

Really? I know hundreds of bigger tragedies, many of them not described in this Wikipedia. See Eurocentrism and Dead white males - to be exact Dead Western peoeple. Xx236 (talk) 16:35, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Your point? Thousands of people died in horribly ways in a single night. That is and exemplary tragedy. No matter if there are "bigger ones". Is this some kind of contest? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 11:16, 21 December 2007
Please don't feed the trolls. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:52, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree; a quote by a random historian is very obviously in violation of WP:NPOV. It should be moved to Wikiquote.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 02:30, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Saying it is 'exemplary' is not in itself a sign of systemic bias. However, there's usually no reason to have a quote in the lead unless the quote itself is considered very closely linked to the article subject by sources. Relata refero (talk) 20:12, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

POVed quote - should stay or not?

RFChist | section=POVed quote - should stay or not? !! reason=Should a discussed quote stay in lead of the article or not? !! time=17:33, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Regarding [1] - the quote about "epically tragic quality" and "an absolutely exemplary tragedy". Should it stay or should it be removed? I like the part about the 'best and the worst', but the above qualifiers are I am afraid unencyclopedic. There were many especially tragic and absolutely exemplary tragedies during that terrible period, and the current lead is pretty bad - too short (this was also pointed out during the GA review) and bloated with this poetic but unencylopedic quote. For that reason, I'd like the community to express their opinion, by commenting and or voting here.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:32, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Keep as it is

Keep the lead with the quote as here:
  • Oppose --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:32, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose --Molobo (talk) 01:49, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support The quote introduces two opposing views of the Dresden bombing in a concise and, I think, neutral way. Wanderer57 (talk) 23:44, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose There is nothing to stop the quote being included in the main body of the articles or it possibly being reinserted into an enlarged introduction (personally I am not a fan of large introductions but FA/GA reviewers do seem to be). As the intro stands, I think Piotrus has a point. Aatomic1 (talk) 16:40, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I think the quote should be merged into the body of the article. --Nn123645 (talk) 04:50, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Move it to the article body. - Darwinek (talk) 16:15, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Remove the quote

Remove the quote.

Other suggestions and comments

I think a poll before a discussion is a premature. The reason for having the quote is because when the lead section was larger it was continiously subject to POV incluslions about whether the attack was or was not a war crime. The quote is a way that the concerns of both points of view could be put accross without the need for the automatic gamesaying that occured when the lead was longer. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 19:50, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

We can and should have a discussion, but a consensus (or lack of one) will be seen more clearly in an accompanying vote. Parts of the quotes are ok, parts are not. There are reasons why similar quotes don't accompany other encyclopedic articles, many of whom are at least as controversial (Holocaust, anyone?).--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 11:45, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Please see polls are evil and wikipedia:consensus. If after a discussion no clear consensus emerges then there may be a some justification for a survey to clarify what the stakeholders opinions are. But to start with a poll and "an accompanying vote" is a bad idea as it tends to force editors to express an opinion, possibly before they have considered all the options, and having expressed an opinion, many people do not like to be see as changing their opinion, this often makes it more difficult to reach a compromise that is needed to build a consensus. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:27, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

I would remove the frame and watch the result. Gulag has a quote from Ann Applebaum, but no frame. However neither Auschwitz concentration camp nor The Holocaust starts with a so strong quotation and they had better reasons to hit the reader.Xx236 (talk) 17:04, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Neither Auschwitz or the Holocaust have a similar debate. Both articles are discussing internal crimes not the question of war crimes see this article by Telford Taylor

But the laws of war do not cover, in time of either war or peace, a government's actions against its own nationals (such as Nazi Germany's persecution of German Jews). And at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, the tribunals rebuffed several efforts by the prosecution to bring such "domestic" atrocities within the scope of international law as "crimes against humanity."

In recent months I renamed the sections of this article from "Was the bombing a war crime?" to the "Debate over the bombing of Dresden" because I think that the arguments put forward by authors such as A. C Grayling and Donald Bloxham and Geoffrey Best allow for a much more balanced debate to be put forward (see above #Case for and against war crime). But although I have changed the section titles, I have not altered the text and until someone is willing to to take on the task I think that the introduction should stay as it is. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:05, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Neither Auschwitz concentration camp nor The Holocaust were "a government's actions against its own nationals". The majority of Holocaust victims weren't German and the majority of Auschwitz concentration camp inmates and victims weren't German.
  • Which other Wikipedia articles start with a quote displayed using a frame and background? It's propaganda.
  • This article and this discussion absolutely exemplary case of your bias and refusal to accept other points of view. The destruction of Dresden was one of tens or hundreds such tragedies of WWII and you break basic rules of this Wikipedia imposing your POV and using false arguments.

Xx236 (talk) 08:18, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Keep the quote, because I agree that it subtly diffuses the whole argument over whether the opening statement should say whether Dresden was a war crime or not. But it looks a bit messy like that, if it doesn't break a policy can't we copy the style of quoting in, for example, the My Lai Massacre? Also please don't respond to this opinion, I make a point of not watching or checking back on RFC's in order to avoid wikistress. Ryan4314 (talk) 01:53, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I have changed the lead quotation from {{quotation}}
The destruction of Dresden has an epically tragic quality to it. ...
back to {{cquote}}
It used to be {{cquote}} but I changed it when I changed the other quotations to {{quotation}}. If the quotation is to stay then there are at least two other options available. {{quote}}

The destruction of Dresden has an epically tragic quality to it. ...

or <blockquote>

The destruction of Dresden has an epically tragic quality to it. ...

--Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:39, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

The quotation marks are much nicer in general, compared to that ugly frame, yet a quote in the lead is rather odd. A quote might fit to e.g. Hamlet, but here? I'd like to know how it compares to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as A-bombs are considered the ultimate weapon. A quick scan gives me: "1,478 tons + 1,182 + 800 + 1,800 + ... 466 tons of bombs. During these four raids a total of around 3,900 tons". Well, that sums up to c. 4900, I'd say. Hiroshima received a blast equivalent to about 13 kilotons of TNT from a height about 600 meters, radius of total destruction was about 1.6 km, with resulting fires across 11.4 km². Estimates of total deaths by the end of 1945 range from 90,000 to 140,000. Nagasaki got a 469 meters high equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT. Total deaths by the end of 1945 may have reached 80,000, radius of total destruction was about 1.6 km, followed by fires across 3.2 km. Considered that in Dresden, the bombs went off much closer, I'd say the total blast force was similar, the ensuing fire and area destroyed comparable. The number of proven dead victims, given as 25,000 to 35,000, is lower, but as it was quite possibly higher, I'd say it is comparable. Don't know much about the Japanese cities, but I guess they have not been crowded with unregistered refugees nobody misses when they disappear into ashes. So, how about stating. "The conventional firebombing of Dresden from about 1000 bombers was roughly comparable with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki in terms of destruction and victims." I'd like to see an overview on the total numbers in Germany, compared to Japan and Luftwaffe acts in Guernica, Rotterdam, Coventry. "It is estimated that raids of Allied air forces on the Third Reich killed between 305,000 and 600,000 civilians of which about 80,000 were children" and "In World War II, aerial bombardment claimed the lives of over 100,000 airmen,[3] 60,595 British civilians and between 305,000 and 600,000 German civilians, [4][5] while American precision bombing, fire bombing and atomic bombing in Japan killed between 330,000 and 500,000 Japanese civilians" are starters. Also interesting is the total tonnage dropped by the RAF, close to 1 Megaton. -- Matthead  DisOuß   12:57, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

The Luftwaffe destroied the city of Wieluń and village Frampol during first days of the WWII. We say in Polish The beginning of evil happens to be nice, but the end lamentable (my poor translation). Mr Matthead hasn't mentioned any Slavic town bombed by the Luftwaffe. Do you regard us as humans? Xx236 (talk) 13:37, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I have reread the introduction and I find the quotation still POV. It was an exemplary tragedy eventually in Western Europe, but it was standard for Eastern Europe. Warsaw was a million city, Breslau was bigger than Dresden. Stalingrad was totally destroied (850,000) and reconstructed in an another place. For many people the Siege of Budapest and the destruction of Central Europe's "Pearl of the Danube" is exemplary. So the quotation misinforms. I believe that Wikipedia shouldn't misinform.Xx236 (talk) 12:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
OED exemplary, a. and adv.
  • 1. Of or pertaining to an example; furnishing examples.
  • 2 a. That may serve as a specimen or type; in a typical form; typical.
  • 2 b. Serving for an illustration; illustrative.
  • 3 a. Of a penalty, damages, etc.: Such as may serve for a warning, or act as a deterrent.
  • 3 b. Phrases: to be exemplary: to become a warning. to make (a person, also a thing) exemplary: to make an example of. Obs.
  • 4. Of a kind to become an example, liable to be turned into a precedent. Hence in weaker sense: Such as to attract notice; remarkable, extraordinary, signal. arch.
  • There are more ....
There is nothing in the phrase "an absolutely exemplary tragedy" that excludes others from also being described as an "exemplary tragedy". If the author had used the words "preeminent tragedy" then your complaints would be pertinent, but not when he uses the word "exemplary" --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:41, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
If an absolutely exemplary means only exemplary, why to write an absolutely exemplary? It's probably the only appearence of absolutely exemplary in this Wikipedia's 2,156,875 articles. Why to write it in the lead? It's POV, it should be quoted eventually somewhere near the end as Taylor says that it was... but X says .... Xx236 (talk) 13:19, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Because it was a quote from an expert on the bombings to put a form of words into the introduction that gives a reasonable summation of why this was a controversial raid. The controversy takes up a large part of the text and when no mention of the controversy was in the lead -- due to persistent POV warring a consensus was reached to drop the subject from the lead -- some thought that there should be a mention and this quote allowed for such without reopening the POV wars over the issue. I do not think that it is an none neutral point of view and you have yet to point to what is not neutral about it. As to your last question why not email the author of the quote and ask him? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:56, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

The problem is that the controversies dominate the article. This is POV. You believe your POV is better than other ones. It's human but Wikipedia hs certain rules. I'm not going to email anyone, but rather to remove the propaganda. Xx236 (talk) 10:33, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Random break

This article is featured on German Wikipedia, and doesn't seem to feature a quote in its lead. Can we translate it and consider using it instead? There is a proverb about being 'more holy than the pope' to consider, too.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 02:40, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Do you mean "More Irish than the Irish and more Catholic than the Pope"? I do not think that putting the German version in here is not a good idea. The English language version addresses problems and concerns that are tailored to English language readers, just as the German version emphasises German point of view. There is little debate about the facts of the raid and the English version is very well sourced. The controversy is where the problems lie. Putting in the German version would just open up the lead to all the POV problems we had in the past. What is needed is someone to rewrite the debate section from a moral perspective (as do A. C Grayling and Donald Bloxham) then hopefully the sterile "war crime" debate will no longer be such a magnet to POV warriors. The reason I say this is because most people who use the term war crime do not literally mean "war crime" (because if they have read the literature on aerial bombardment, they would know that most experts disagree with such an analysis) they mean this particular bombing was a moral crime and it therefore undermines the Allies claim that they were fighting a Just War (see Jus in bello). --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:41, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
"it therefore undermines the Allies claim that they were fighting a Just War (see Jus in bello)." Were Allies classifing Germans as subhumans targetted for extermination. No. Now Germany did, I am certain some people could be ignorant about that, but Wikipedia isn't an education project.--Molobo (talk) 01:53, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
The quote is obviously not neutral and ignorant of horrors of Second World War. Whole nations were being exterminated, while a city with military targets was bombed. That's hardly a example of horrors of Second World War.
At Auschwitz concentration camp 200 to 300 Polish children from the Zamość area were murdered by Germans by phenol injections. The child was placed on a stool, occasionally blindfolded with a piece of a towel. The person performing the execution then placed one of his hands on the back of the child's neck and another behind the shoulder blade. As the child's chest was thrust out a long needle was injected into the chest with a toxic dose of phenol. The children usually died in minutes. A witness described the process as deadly efficient As a rule not even a moan would be heard. And they did not wait until the doomed person really died. During his agony, he was taken from both sides under the armpits and thrown into a pile of corpses in another room.... And the next victim took his place on the stool
Is bombing optical factories and transport hub of Nazi Germany a horror compared to that ? Please, common sense.--Molobo (talk) 01:49, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Just War has nothing to do with the classification of the enemy. It has to do with whether a belligerent abides by what are considered to be the norms of civilised behaviour in war which can roughly be expressed as abiding by the international legal concepts of Military necessity, Distinction and Proportionality.
Common sense has little to do with it. Rightly or wrongly the Bombing of Dresden in Feb 1945 and the controversy surrounding the issue has generated large debate in the English speaking world which needs to be reflected in this article. The quote at the start was a way to work around the POV wars in the lead which dogged this article for a long time, which in its self is an indicator of the passions raised by the Dresden debate. This debate in the English speaking world is very different from that about the Holocaust, because there is near universal agreement that the Holocaust was a crime against humanity, but the only part that reflects on the conduct of the English speaking world is how much they knew, did they publish what they knew and whether more should have been done to interdict the rail transport of victims. There is not near universal agreement that the strategic bombing of Germany in 1945 was necessary to shorten the war and if it was not necessary and as the US, Britain and the British Dominions were directly involved in this campaign, the debate over Dresden is pertinent to how the English speaking world views its conduct in World War II. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:03, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

The quote at the start is not neutral, pushes one point of view, is emotional and unencyclopedic. The lead should be neutral and short. The article can be written without emotional and POV quote hanging over the article. --Molobo (talk) 12:35, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Please explain clause by clause what non neutral point of view the quote is pushing? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:43, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

The one already presented in the title from which it came "Dresden Bombing Is To Be Regretted Enormously". The quote itself uses such non-encyclopedic words as "epic", "tragic". --Molobo (talk) 21:57, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Copied from below

Very true, but that means - per NPOV - we should not pander to such biases, by including non-neutral quotes. It's great the article is quite comprehensive, but it's bad pats of it resembles more an eulogy than an encyclopedic article.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 10:58, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Please explain what you think is a misrepresentaion of the debate over the Bombing of Dresden in the quote in the lead? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:11, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

As has been explained in this thread several times, we can find (reliable) sources for all sort of event with unencyclopedic poetic metaphores, comparisons or plain adjective 'gretest, most tragic, best, worst, etc.'. That, however, doesn't mean that we should quote them - especially not in the lead. The quote fails NPOV and should go (off to Wikiquote).--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:02, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't see anything POV about it now that it's part of a proper lead. The problem before is that it was the lead, more or less. But Taylor is an acknowledged expert; his book has been touted as perhaps a definitive account; and the quote takes no side. To say that it's unencyclopedic is, I think, to miss the point of leads and good writing. Encyclopedic doesn't mean dry and boring. It can be emotional, it can be moving, it can compel. Taylor's quote sums up what pretty well everyone who is informed about Dresden thinks about it, regardless of what else they might think about it too. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:13, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Based on the discussion so far, I think that the best solution would be to move the quote somewhere into the article proper.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 08:09, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Random break 2

Putting a quote from "Dresden Bombing Is To Be Regretted Enormously" in the lead is obvious POV. It pushes one view over letting the reader read and decide for himself the nature of the bombing. --Molobo (talk) 12:39, 4 January 2008 (UTC) Also for now we have 3 editors agreeing to remove the quote and one opposing. If no further opposition is going to be voiced I think it is safe to say we have consensus and the quote can be removed.--Molobo (talk) 12:41, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I would be disappointed if the quote were removed. It provides a poignant introduction to discussion of tragedy--it is hardly a POV. --Joel Mc (talk) 15:30, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I couln't have described it better - poignant comes from French poigne - fist. So yes, the quote hits the reader, not allowing him to think.
  • Which comparable tragedy is described this way? You don't even realize your prejudices. The East is a black hole for you, where some wild people in sheepskin coats yell in their barbarian languages, not deserving poignant British quotes.
  • This article is about the Bombing of Dresden in World War II but it is dominated by the debate over the Bombing. Maybe the debate should be separated? The problem of non-German victims should be discussed instead.

Xx236 (talk) 16:22, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I was asked to comment here. The quote is good and should stay, but the lead was too short, so I have lengthened it a little. [2] The whole article seems to be written in a POV tone, and could really use a rewrite to make it flow better and be less defensive. For example, these sentences: "The firebombing consisted, of the by-then standard methods, of dropping large amounts of high-explosive to blow off the roofs to expose the timbers within buildings, followed by incendiary devices (fire-sticks) to ignite them and then more high-explosives to hamper the efforts of the fire services. The consequences of these standard methods were particularly effective in Dresden ..." Repetition of "standard" as if to push the point home, problems with punctuation, problems with flow; and in the article as a whole, little or no eyewitness testimony, and it doesn't make the issue come alive. There has been so much written about Dresden that it should be possible to construct a beautifully written article that would be widely read, but as it's currently written, it's very hard to read. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:44, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Well, unsurprisingly, Philip has reverted already. [3] Philip, I remember trying to improve this article in 2005, as I recall, and you were in ownership of it then too. I don't mind when someone knowledgeable takes control of a page to stop deterioration, but in this case, it has stopped improvement. The writing really does need to be fixed up. This could be a showcase article for Wikipedia, and it really should try to aim for FA status. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:12, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
The problem with the changes you have introduced to the introduction is that you have used weasel words "but several historians have argued" and you have introduced a specific number which is not supported by the best research and so is misleading:
In 1994 research by the Dresden historian Friedrich Reichert was published, using a previously unused source, which convincingly reduced Bergander's figure of 35,000 to 25,000.51 This figure can be regarded as close to definitive.((i) Introduction David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, by Richard J. Evans)
which is why I think it better not to mention a specific number in the introduction. What is the source for the statement "The Allies saw the operation as the justified bombing of a military target in a fight between good and evil that they had to win"--Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 23:38, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Philip, let me ask you: do you find the article well-written and do you believe that it makes for compelling reading? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:40, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Lets address the questions you have raised by altering the introduction before we attempt to fix all the sections in the article in one go. Here is another one for you, where did you get the "13 square miles of the city"? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 23:51, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

The lead is way too long and obviously shouldn't include the disputed quote. As per WP:LEAD. What is with the proliferation lately of RfCs regarding what to put in lead sections? It's a ridiculous trend. Dlabtot (talk) 01:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Forced workers

The article doesn't inform that many victims weren't German but forced workers. Xx236 (talk) 08:54, 31 December 2007 (UTC) There are a number of first hand accounts documenting the civilian experience amidst the firebombing but you quote only German non-Jewish ones.Xx236 (talk) 09:15, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

What is your source that "many of the victims weren't German" instead of "some of the victims weren't German"? I think you mean "we quote only German non-Jewish ones", In the past there was a section about Dresden and the Holocaust it was removed by RedSpruce with the comment "a piece of human-interest trivia; doesn't belong in this article". --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:19, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, I removed that section because although it mentioned "several hundred" jews, it was almost entirely the (atypical) story of a single couple. Calling it "trivia" may have been harsh, but spending that much space on the story of two people in an article that encompasses the death of so many seemed very inappropriate to me. RedSpruce (talk) 12:42, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Not of a single couple. Henny Brenner is quoted in German article, she has published a book I was saved by the attack. The German article gives two numbers - 174 and 70.Xx236 (talk) 09:52, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

You write only about German victims in the article. Prove that the victims were exclusively German. The German article informs about concentrations camps subcamps, this article doesn't.

Non-Germans were frequently mistreated in Gerrmany, not allowed into shelters. Was the situation in Dresden better?

The Dresden and the Holocaust paragraph shoud be rewritten, but not reduced into 2 lines in Influences on art and culture. Xx236 (talk) 11:28, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I have checked the section Impact of the attack and AFAICT there is no mention of the nationality of the victims. Where in the text is it specifically mentioned that the article is only about German victims?
I suppose one could infer it from this sentence "Estimates are made difficult by the fact that the city and surrounding suburbs which had a population of 642,000 in 1939 was crowded at that time with up to 200,000 refugees, and some thousands of wounded soldiers." and if we can find a reliable source that the number of foreign workers and POWs in the city was significant I think it should be added to this sentence. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:45, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

An average reader doesn't have any idea about the number of foreign workers in Dresden 1945. If you know, why don't you simply put the numbers into the article closing the discussion?Xx236 (talk) 16:29, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

As I have written the German article contains some data. Xx236 (talk) 13:24, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

More than 10 million sklaves worked for Germany, so probably about 10% of Dreden inhabitants were non-German.Xx236 (talk) 08:15, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Richard Evans mentions that the Germans kept very detailed records on the dead. These could be used to get a precise breakdown of the percentages of German civilians to German military and foreign workers, but I have not seen such an analysis. The two books on the bombing of Dresden that I have to hand do not include foreign workers in their indexes. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:58, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

According to some German sources many archives were cleaned in 1945, to remove traces of slave work.Xx236 (talk) 15:43, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Wola massacre vs Bombing of Dresden in World War II vs Bombing of Budapest in World War II

  • Number of victims comparable, probably more died in Wola~than in Dresden.
  • The Wola article is about 10 times shorter, no eyewitness acounts, no details of the crimes.
  • Unequal victims?

Xx236 (talk) 12:01, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Such is life; different victims get different amounts of attention. Note, for example, the number of red-linked or unlinked disasters in List of natural disasters by death toll; the Gansu earthquake (1920, China; 200,000 dead) and the Ashgabat earthquake (1948, Soviet Union; 110,000 dead) to give two notable examples.
It's not justifiable, but it's a common occurrence. RedSpruce (talk) 18:34, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Very true, but that means - per NPOV - we should not pander to such biases, by including non-neutral quotes. It's great the article is quite comprehensive, but it's bad pats of it resembles more an eulogy than an encyclopedic article.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 10:58, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I have copied Piotrus comment to the section #POVed quote - should stay or not? and added a question as there seems little point spreading the debate over the use of a quote in the lead all over the talk page. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:17, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Historical context

Germany was fighting, prisoners were transported between concentration camps (Death marches (Holocaust)), death sentences were executed, last Jews were to be killed. Thousands were working for SS and Gestapo in Dresden. Xx236 (talk) 08:08, 2 January 2008 (UTC) The German government fought against Western allies, instead to transfer all units against the Soviets, saving at least some German civilians. The German government continued its crimes against anyone, including Germans - shot and hanged as cowards till May 1945.Xx236 (talk) 16:41, 4 January 2008 (UTC) Indeed, the elimination of Dresden military and transport complex most likely saved many Jewish and Polish lives from Nazi German death machine. I wonder if anybody made calculations how the bombing hindered the last desperate efforts of genocide.--Molobo (talk) 16:42, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Polish crews refused

Polish crews were told they would help the Red Army, so some of them revolted and didn't take part in the bombing [4].Xx236 (talk) 08:38, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Was the squadron No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 10:28, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes.Xx236 (talk) 11:40, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps you should discuss the article on that page. It is certainly an interesting point because as the article mentions:
RAF briefing notes mentioned a desire to show "the Russians, when they arrive, what Bomber Command can do." The specific intent of this statement is now unclear, and there are different possible interpretations: a statement of pride in the RAF's abilities; or to show the Soviets that the Western Allies were doing all they could to aid the Soviet advance; or a demonstration of western strength as a warning or threat to the Soviets in the lead-up to the Cold War.
some have argued that the reason for the Dresden raid was to threaten the Soviets not to help them. Clearly the Poles who revolted (and as I do not read Polish I am taking you word that is what it says) did not see it that way. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:16, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Magierowski in a letter: “Tej nocy mamy atakować Drezno, jako wsparcie dla Armii Czerwonej" - "This night we'll attack Dresden, as support for the Red Army".Xx236 (talk) 14:06, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Personal attack instead of arguments

The only argument I see here is we like the quote. You try to impose your values, your POV, even using censorship and threats. A specific editorship.Xx236 (talk) 16:51, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Counterbalancing view

As some editors noted the article presents mostly the debate in English-speaking world. Perhaps to counterbalance and enrich the article views from the victims of Nazi Germany that were classified as subhumans regarding this supposed "tragedy" should be presented as well ? A section on historic assesment can be made where the quote can be moved and other views presented--Molobo (talk) 23:46, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Problems with this article

This article has been deeply problematic for the last three years, and all efforts to improve it are met with reverts by Philip Baird Shearer.

In his defence, he is trying to stop the article from deteriorating into a POV battle, with one side arguing the bombing was a routine part of the war, and the other arguing that it was a crime that ranks alongside the Holocaust. He is also trying to make sure the article is sourced to the best scholars. Both of those aims are commendable and he is to be thanked for sticking with the article for such a long time.

Despite those efforts, some deep problems persist. The worst of these is the writing. It is not compelling. It doesn't make people want to read on, and at times is dense, with grammar and puncutation problems. The lead that Philip wants is far too short for an article this size. It should be 3-4 paragraphs long, and should be capable of standing alone as a summary of the article, according to WP:LEAD. It should include all the major issues, particularly the number of civilians killed and prevailing views of the bombing, but Philip keeps removing precisely those points, leaving a lead that doesn't say anything.

Also, we need to try hard to put all POV issues aside, and just tell the facts as described by reliable sources. The sentence I pulled out above is illustrative of some of the problems: "The firebombing consisted, of the by-then standard methods, of dropping large amounts of high-explosive to blow off the roofs to expose the timbers within buildings, followed by incendiary devices (fire-sticks) to ignite them and then more high-explosives to hamper the efforts of the fire services. The consequences of these standard methods were particularly effective in Dresden ..."

It is POV, not well-written, and arguably false -- repetition of the word "standard" to indicate that there was nothing special about the ordnance used, whereas I believe a mock-up of the city had been created to ensure that just the right type and amount of explosive would be used to maximize damage. So it wasn't that the standard methods just happened to be particularly effective at Dresden -- they were fully intended to be particularly effective. Also, poor grammar and punctuation, and a flat, two-dimensional quality, so that the event doesn't come alive for the reader.

I feel the article needs a thorough copy edit. I tried to start this two years ago, but Philip engaged in a revert war against me and several other editors, so we had to give up. Does anyone else agree that the article needs to be copy-edited? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:04, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

SV the methods used by the RAF were standard methods. The had originally been developed by the Germans back in the Blitz and first fully utilised when the Germans bombed Coventry. I agree that there does not need to be a repetition of the word standard and I will remove it. One really needs to read the on line RAF Bombing diary to see that this really was just one of many raids which by that stage of the war resembled and industrial production line -- see for example the raid on Pforzheim ten days after the Dresden raid (RAF diary for Feb 45). There was a much larger raid the next month (and even closer to the end of the war) between 11 and 13 March 1945 "2,541 sorties by daylight to Ruhr targets in a 3-day period. Approximately 10,650 tons of bombs had been dropped through cloud with sufficient accuracy to cripple 2 cities and 1 town."(RAF diary for March 45). --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 01:10, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
That may be true. But the sentences were badly written. The writing is in this article is a big problem. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
The other problem is that the article is terrible one sided, it completely for example misses the question on views about Dresden bombing outside English speaking world and Germany.Comparision with other large scale military events involving deaths of civilians like Wola Massacre, or Siege of Leningrad would also be welcomed--Molobo (talk) 00:08, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, why is it called "Bombing of Dresden in World War II" rather than just "Bombing of Dresden"? Does anyone mind if I move it? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:30, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes all the articles on World War II Allied bombings of German have a similar names because it helps with searches and it stops problems with other bombings in a city at other times being included in the articles. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 01:10, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand your reply.
Yes I object to moving the page. There have been bombardments and bombings of many European cities at many different times of which not all of them are know to all people (For example I have no idea if after WWI there was fighting in Dresden or it it included bombing as a political tool. Also Dresden certainly been bombed in the past as all areas of Germany have been involved in many wars over the centuries). To avoid this type of problem all the articles on the Allied bombings are under the format "city in World War II" and the German strategic bombings are in the format "city Blitz" (see The Blitz). At the moment there is an article on the Rotterdam Blitz and in time there will probably be one on the Allied bombings. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:28, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Philip, don't remove material because it doesn't have a source when you know there are hundreds of sources for it. Instead, please go and find one yourself, or else just leave it unsourced, or ask for a source on talk. But simply removing it is a violation of WP:V. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:10, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
SV you know perfectly well that is not true. WP:PROVEIT says "Any edit lacking a reliable source may be removed, but editors may object if you remove material without giving them a chance to provide references." and that in practice a well cited controversial article like this all new material should carry a citation. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:28, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Being very new to this article, I'm reluctant to comment on the substance of it. I do want to say that I see two editors, both clearly committed to improving the article, arguing in this Talk page and also in edit summaries. Based on my experience with other articles, I think using edit summaries to "discuss" anything more than very basic edits is not a good idea. Wanderer57 (talk) 02:21, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Later reassessments ?

Quoting from the lead: "Later reassessments"

Would "Later assessments" suffice? Wanderer57 (talk) 00:44, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Either would be fine. "Reassessments" is more accurate though. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:54, 5 January 2008 (UTC)


In just a few hours, the lead is hugely improved. Thank you to Richard (and to Philip for not reverting). SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:47, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

From the history SV wrote:
(removed the proportionate thing which is trivially true (an example of the problematic writing I mentioned on talk), and added a source for terrorize, among the hundreds available for it)
The reasons for the attack are laid out in a section. There is no mention in that section that the motive for the attack was to terrorize the Dresden population. Further the possibility of knocking Germany out of the war by such methods had by 1945 been discounted by the high commands. (see Addison Firestorm: The bombing of Dresden, 1945 Page 21 "By 25 January the JIC had reached the conclusion that 'Thunderclap' as originally conceived, i.e. as a climacteric blow to push the Third Reich into extinction, was unlikely to succeed") So what is the exact wording of the source you (SV) have given and what are their sources for making the claim that the Dresden raid was to terrorise the population? The argument put forward by Colin McKay Grierson (at SHAEF) was that it also helped destroying "what is left of German morale." That does not mean terrorise because if he had meant terrorise he could have said it. Comments by Berliners like "The only promise Hitler has kept is one he made before coming to power. Give me ten years and you will not be able to recognize Germany" highlight the difference (quote from page 231 of Beevor "Berlin The downfall 1945). For the introduction The wording you dismiss as "trivially true" is a far better reflection and carries less of a bias on the debate than introducing the terror argument. BTW this is exactly the sort of problem that occurs when the lead is expanded!
Other problems is that you have removed the word "and industrial target". Dresden was selected primarily as a communications centre but a secondary consideration was that it had intact industries (see Bomber Harris's comment "Dresden was a mass of munitions works, an intact government centre, and a key transportation point to the East. It is now none of these things"). The added phrase "at the end of a long war that they had to win," does not add anything to the article because who fights a war they have to loose? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:20, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
What do Wilms, Wilfried and Rasch, William. says in Bombs Away!: Representing the Air War Over Europe and Japan. Rodopi, 2006, p. 362. Is it a specific mention of the Dresden raid or area bombing in general? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:31, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
The latest source ( you have given does specifically attribute the reasons for this attack on terror. What do the other sources you have provided says? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:45, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
The latest latest source you have given ( does not state that the reason for this specific raid was a terror raid, what it says is that that area bombing is immoral further you will note that Grayling explicitly excludes American precision bombing "Contrast it also with the US bombing in the European theatre, which strangled Germany's war effort." --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 17:42, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
With regards to a specific clause you favour Tens of thousands of civilians were killed during the resulting firestorm that destroyed 13 square miles of the city
I favour The raids destroyed 13 square miles of the city because as I pointed out in the history of the article "Not all of the 13 square miles were destroyed in the firestorm some were destroyed by conventional bombing. If we must have a number of dead lets used accurate numbers" --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:37, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Would you ever like to try to get this to FA status? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:48, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's address one problem at a time. I would like the article to be accurate in what it say. Do you agree that the 13 miles refers to the total area damaged and not just the area damaged by the firestorm and if so to say "13 square miles were destroyed in the firestorm" is not accurate? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 17:34, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
What is your source? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:38, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


My source is the other way around, the sources say that the raids damaged that area, none of them put it down to only the firsstorm. Also look at the map on the article page. The firestorm by its nature does 100 % damage and much of the area was not 100% dammaged. I think unwittingly you are doing a little bit of WP:SYN --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 17:47, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
SV if we are going to cooperate in editing this article I need you to address the specific issues I am raising else we get into edit wars on the article page which benefit no one. Please engage in the discussion about the thirteen square miles and the firestorm before makeing further edits to the article. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 19:25, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

21st century?

QUOTING the opening: "The consensus among historians who have published estimates in the 21st century is that the number killed during the raids was in the range from slightly under 25,000 to possibly a few thousand over 35,000 with more recent research indicating that the number was probably towards the bottom of the range.[3]"

The impression I get from looking at the references included in "3" is that most of them represent 20th century work, not 21st century. Is the wording "published estimates in the 21st century accurate? Wanderer57 (talk) 05:32, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

The publications rely on 20th century research, but the 3 books cited were all first published after 2000. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:08, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
That kind of detail doesn't belong in the lead, especially not the first para, which should be strong and clear -- 35,000 seems to be the mainstream consensus figure. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:43, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
But 35,000 is not the current mainstream number, there is a range. I have cited three sources for this and included the sources that contain the primary analysis. As I said before that is why expanding the lead is complicated. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 15:58, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
It is the current mainstream consensus. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:01, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Prove it. Three sources given says a range and unlike the one you have given are recently published books by historians and not newspaper articles. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:06, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
That level of detail is not appropriate for the lead, except in a footnote. Philip, please let others work on the lead. The writing is deteriorating again. It really was a good lead as it was. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:07, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I am not stopping you working on the lead, but putting in 35,000 when it is clearly not the consensus among respectable historians who are working in this area is misleading. Also what specifics clauses do you think indicates that "writing is deteriorating again" --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:17, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
The confusion, the lack of flow, the punctuation. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:21, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Specific clauses please and you have not addressed the issue of a range. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:25, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Acts of terror

There used to be a section in this article about Winston Churchill's famous memo talking about "acts of terror," the one that was withdrawn and softened. Has that been removed, or am I just missing it? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:01, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

You are missing it see Bombing of Dresden in World War II#British --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:05, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:07, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


Philip, please write citations the standard academic and WP way -- with a book, it is name of author; name of book; publisher; year of publication. Or else write a short Harvard ref, with details in the Refs section. But you seem to be doing a bit of one, a bit of the other. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:20, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

From the history

  • removed <--needs the publisher, year--> it is included with the ISBN in the References section
  • tidied writing again; and please give publisher and page number in the footnote -- not everyone wants to have to look up an ISBN number.

The date of publication and the ISBN is included in the Reference section so it does not need to be included with every citation. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:24, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

SV please stop adjusting the citation to include the book. The article is already much too large without putting in repetitive and therefore redundant text. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:57, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

People have to be allowed to write citations up if they want to. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:37, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
What do you mean? I am not objecting to citation, but with edits like this, you are changing citations from a format that others have placed in the article. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:40, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


See Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Images, Wikipedia:Images#Using images and Wikipedia:Image_use policy#Displayed image size in general images should be defaulted to thumb. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:52, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

The MoS is not mandatory, as you have so often pointed out yourself. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:38, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
And even it doesn't say what you're claiming: "a lead image that captures the essence of the article (recommended not to be smaller than 300px, as this will make the image smaller for users who have set 300px in their user preferences)."
Look, this is not a good article. Poorly written, text so dense no one will read it, poor image layout, tiny little thumbs no one can see and too small for the sections, no flow, no energy. Therefore, please either help to fix it, or let other people do it, but pls. don't waste time discussing details that can easily be sorted out later. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:41, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Better that they are sorted out now rather than having a revert war about it. I think you are taking a very regal attitude to editing this article. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:37, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Regal, me? :-) Philip, you have literally owned this article for at least two years, possibly three. I wouldn't mind that if it didn't need work, but it really does.
You were saying about the 13 square miles, and I asked for your source. Do you have one? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:37, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I have already answered this point in an earlier section. If my answer is not clear in that section then please ask for a clarification in that section. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:57, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


What I'm doing here, in case anyone wonders, is adding fuller citations in preparation for a copy edit. So instead of writing <ref name=Longmate344/>, I'm writing out each time <ref name=Longmate344>Longmate, Norman. The Bombers. Hutchins & Co, 1983, p. 344.</ref> This is because once the copy edit starts, some refs might disappear completely if the first reference is removed along with some text. Writing them out makes no difference to the footnotes, and it's just as easy to copy and paste them in each time. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:51, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

The article is already very large why add kilobytes of redundant information when the format <ref name=Longmate344/>Longmate p. 344</ref> can be used as the books full reference is given in the reference section? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:54, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

From the edit history

  • PBS: Only needs best reference for the size of the destruction. Book on the bombing better than newspaper article by none expert. Harris does it in acres, difficult to [work out the square miles]
  • SV: don't remove references)

Why not just the book reference? It it not a more reliable source than a newspaper article? Why do you insist on keeping 3 references for this factoid? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:26, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

The size of the area of destruction is not a "factoid." The cites are all in one footnote, are therefore not unsightly, and are in fact quite interesting, including one from Bomber Harris himself. The whole point of footnotes is to document things like this. There is no reason at all for you to remove them. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 14:31, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


Some of the text in the attacks section is identical to this. Question is: have they copied from us, or have we from them? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:42, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Probably us from them, given that it seems to be a British govt site. That section should probably be written from scratch. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:44, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Just to give some examples of the copying:

  • RAF website: "796 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitoes were dispatched in two separate raids and dropped 1,478 tons of high explosive and 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs. The first attack was carried out entirely by 5 Group, using their own low-level marking methods."
  • Wikipedia: "During the evening of February 13, 796 Avro Lancasters and 9 De Havilland Mosquitoes were dispatched in two separate waves and dropped 1,478 tons of high explosive and 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs by the early hours of February 14. The first attack was carried out entirely by No. 5 Group, using their own low-level marking methods and tactics."
  • RAF: "A band of cloud still remained in the area and this raid, in which 244 Lancasters dropped more than 800 tons of bombs, was only moderately successful."
  • Wikipedia: "A band of cloud still remained in the area and this attack, in which 244 Lancasters dropped more than 800 tons of bombs, was only moderately successful."
  • RAF: "The weather was now clear and 529 Lancasters dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs with great accuracy."
  • Wikipedia: "The weather had by then cleared and 529 Lancasters dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs with great accuracy between 01:21 and 01:45."

There are similar examples in other sections. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 14:26, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

This certainly needs to be addressed.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 08:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

October 7, 1944 bombing

Over 400 died. This context is important for the February bombing - the government knew about the danger, but removed the Flak.Xx236 (talk) 09:19, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Nazi camps in Dresden

The German article informs about concentration subcamps in Dresden, this article doesn't. Xx236 (talk) 09:26, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Where those camps affected by the bombings? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 08:07, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Gerhart Hauptmann

Gerhart Hauptmann survived the bombing and returned to his home, where he died in 1946.Xx236 (talk) 10:15, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Requested move

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was no consensus for the move --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:23, 18 January 2008 (UTC) Bombing of Dresden in World War IIBombing of Dresden — Titles shouldn't be longer than they need to be. We don't say "The Holocaust in World War II," or "World War II, the one that came after World War I." This bombing is unique and well-known, and the expression "the bombing of Dresden" is iconic.

Wikipedia:Naming conventions says: "Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature." The Bombing of Dresden is consistent with that advice. —SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 12:07, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support, for the reasons outlined above. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 12:12, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. "Bombing of Dresden" is what it's known by. It is unique, simple and correct. This is exactly what WP:NAME requires: "Article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature." Crum375 (talk) 12:18, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Pretty famous bombing, the qualifier is unneeded, IMO, as people who are searching for it are going to be looking for this bombing and telling them it was in WW2 in the title is likely not useful. Narson (talk) 13:16, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support As explained in the Discussion section below. --Richard (talk) 16:37, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose All the articles on the aerial bombardment of German cities by the Allies are in the formation "city in World War II" as it keeps the articles clean of other bombings that may well have happened to those cities at other times. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:49, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Neutral There is no need for consistency with the other WWII bombing articles, and there is not another bombing of Dresden to disambiguate this one from. That being said, it is a borderline case. I think the passage of time has had a tendency to make this event slightly less notable. Jd2718 (talk) 17:07, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose As Philip points out, all the articles on the aerial bombardment of German cities use this format. There is no need to add ambiguity to the title or inconsistency in the pattern. -- Rmhermen (talk) 16:10, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support this and all other related articles. Per Bombing of Wieluń and our naming conventions (=KISS).--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 15:47, 9 January 2008 (UTC)+
  • Oppose Per Philip and Rmhermen. Spot87 (talk) 17:34, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support per user:SlimVirgin, but only if the redirect from Bombing of Dresden in World War II is preserved. --Uncle Ed (talk) 17:39, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - provided no other bombing of Dresden has occurred - in WW II is redundant, but not massively harmful. Rich Farmbrough, 19:06 9 January 2008 (GMT).
  • Oppose I would only support this move if all of the other articles in Category:World War II strategic bombing were renamed as well. Otherwise, it seems that this would not be a consistent naming style within the various articles of the MILHIST project. wbfergus Talk 23:59, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Mild oppose The idiom for the destruction is "Firebombing of Dresden", and the proposed title would include other strikes. Did the Red Air Force strike Dresden tactically, and if not, why not? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I forgot this, yes. Whether technically correct or not, you are right about the idiom. "Firebombing of Dresden" would be best, and would be quite distinct from the " WW2" articles. Jd2718 (talk) 00:31, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
That's not the expression most of the sources use, though, and it would preclude the other bombings on Feb 14-15, which weren't fire bombings, yet are very much part of the iconic bombing. Google: "Bombing of Dresden" -- 59,500 hits; "fire bombing of Dresden" -- 15,200. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:46, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
For the raid on the 14th the Americans used a similar mix of bombs to the RAF for this raid (which they usually did not do) -- I don't know what they used on the 15th -- So the USAAF was also firebombing on the 14th.(Taylor "Dresden Tuesday 13 Feb 1945" p.365) --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:30, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Just a minor point here, doesn't really affect anything either way. I guess it also shows the difference a day will make. I just repeated Slim's search conditions above, and this is what I got:
    • "Firebombing of Dresden" - 23,900 hits
    • "Fire bombing of Dresden" - 12,600 hits (same results as "Fire-bombing of Dresden")
    • "Bombing of Dresden" - 57,300 hits
And I guess it should be noted as well, that the results of the first two searches are included in the third search, since Google ignores white space and punctuation. wbfergus Talk 13:56, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support SuperGodzilla2090 4 TACOZ! 16:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As per Philip for consistency, and further disambiguation. – Axman () 08:01, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, as per nominator. The only major bombing of this city in its recent history, so the qualifier of "in WWII" is unnecessary. -- (talk) 03:39, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
What about the siege of Dresden, July 13-22 1760 when the city came under bombardment? I found that with a quick Internet search. Are you sure that such a prominent German city has never been bombed at other times? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 06:53, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
But can you call it a "bombing", I'm not so sure about that? -- (talk) 02:46, 15 January 2008 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

There are many articles with names Bombing of X in World War II, so I assume that you want to move all of them?Xx236 (talk) 12:14, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

This proposal is about this page title only. There may be other lesser known city bombings where the qualifier would be useful. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 13:24, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I mean articles in Category:World War II strategic bombing. If they are lesser known is POV. I find this discussion an Ersatz. Let's correct the article first. Xx236 (talk) 14:21, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Qualifiers like "in World War II" should only be used if they serve to differentiate the rest of the title from another period. Thus, "Invasion of France" or "Invasion of Belgium" need qualifiers. How many bombings of European cities require a qualifier under this principle? I would suggest very few if any. Thus, I support the proposed move. --Richard (talk) 16:37, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I am not sure if the following text is explicit enough...

If disambiguation is needed, the year [period] may be added in parentheses (as in Battle of Salamis in Cyprus (306 BC)). Multiple battles at the same place in the same year should be called "First", "Second", and so forth (as in First Battle of Zurich and Second Battle of Zurich); alternately, the month of the battle may be used as a disambiguation (as in Invasion of Tulagi (May 1942)).

...or not. Note that i've added the term 'period' to the text. -- FayssalF - Wiki me up® 19:22, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Philip, this reversion mode is very disruptive. I don't really think we have major differences on any issue, yet the wholesale reversion is counter-productive, and makes it more difficult to find common ground. Please address each item specifically on talk, and we can discuss. Crum375 (talk) 14:47, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

a moral cause célèbre of the Second World War

One more POV statement. Get some reading about the horrors of WWII. The war in Western Europe was a partition.Xx236 (talk) 16:06, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

If I understand, your complaint is that this wasn't important because it was in western europe? It may have been a part, but it was an important part none the less. It was also touted by both sides as a famous example. The Germans of the allied brutality, the British of what they would give to the Germans (I believe they even intimated the Germans deserved it). Narson (talk) 18:42, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I state that some people from Western Europe believe that the WWII was extremely cruel there and impose this opinion here. Learn about the outside world.Xx236 (talk) 09:35, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

WW2 involved alot of cruelty. That other cruelty exists does not negate the fact that millions of people, including a hefty number of civilians or prisoners of war, died in the conflict. I mean, you have the holocaust, the slaughter of various nationalities of POW (most notably the Russians in the european theatre), forced sterilisation of disabled persons within Germany, stalinist purges in the lead up to the war, death marches through jungles....Dresden was a pretty famous event (personally one that I think was not some great cruelty etc) that was and still is used as a cause celebre about morality in WW2. No, it isn't fair that things such as this get so much attention in things while other similar or worse events get little coverage or plain ignored, but thats life for you. Heck, September 11 certainly gets more coverage than, for example the 1990s Rwandan Genocide (3000 odd dead vs...1 million+?). Or if you prefer a 20th century reference, compare the attention paid to the Amritsar Massacre, which seems to get more 'rawr this is bad' attention than the 1971 supression of the Bangladeshi successionists by Pakistan (100 odd vs 100,000 dead). I really cannot understand what it is you want here? Narson (talk) 14:15, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I want:

  • to mention non-German victims of bombings of the III Reich, ignored both here and in Strategic bombing during World War II, see above the Overall, Anglo-American bombing... paragraph.
  • to mention the KZ infrastructure in Dresden, described in the German article but not here.
  • to use non-POV language rather than a moral cause célèbre, epically tragic quality, absolutely exemplary tragedy.
  • you have quoted a number of distortions in this Wikipedia. I believe it's a list to do rather than a prove that I'm wrong.Xx236 (talk) 09:23, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't talking about wikipedia with my examples, I was talking about the western world in general there. The distortion is inherent within the main English language community (Being the UK and US) and so it is likely that such a distortion will carry on into projects, like this, that rely wholly on external sources. Now, as for the mention of non german victims and KZ infrastructure, find the sources, put it in. Thats the joy of wikipedia. moral cause celebre, I would say, is a description rather than a POV. I do think we should avoid the term 'tragic' or 'tragedy', I agree. Narson (talk) 01:31, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Remaining problems

I'd like to remove all or most of the cultural references section, as much of it is "X wrote a song called "Fire" inspired by the bombing," which doesn't really tell us anything, yet it's taking up a lot of space.

I'm also not keen on the post-war debate section as currently written. We give too much space to the report from the U.S. Air Force Historical Division report, and I don't think we even need to mention that the editor of the Times once called it a war crime (unless it was the editor of the Times at the time, but it wasn't), or that Christopher Hitchens says the Allies did it because they could, and similar.

Any thoughts about either of these? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 11:30, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the USAFHD report has the most thorough and and detailed fact-based analysis of the historical and military circumstances. The other groups seem to do a lot more hand waving and are much less fact based. I support removing anything from the cultural section that does not give the reader a better or clearer understanding of the bombing and its effects. Crum375 (talk) 14:34, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I see you've restored yet another talking head. :-) [5] Really, does it add anything to the article to have non-specialists giving their opinion? It's one thing to cite Frederick Taylor and similar specialist views, or important political figures, but to quote anyone else seems pointless. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 14:46, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I think Roberts's view, writing from the perspective of the "History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900" is no less important than Taylor's. It is the broad historical view that is needed in such controversial cases. Also, at the moment we have lots of anti-raid material and minimal pro-raid, which needs correction for a proper NPOV balance. Crum375 (talk) 15:00, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
You're arguing elsewhere that we should use specialist scholars for the Holocaust, but not here? Roberts only has an undergrad degree in history; he is not an academic; he has never specialized in Dresden. Why should a view from him be included at all, but especially why should it head that section? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:16, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with everything you say, about all non-specialist sources. I would like to see, ideally, only reputable scholarly historians who specialize in Dresden and similar events as our sources. I think people like Hitchens, Grass, and anyone else who is not a recognized specialist historian should not be there, since controversial issues require the best possible sources for all sides. So I would rather take out anything that doesn't meet these stringent qualifications. Crum375 (talk) 20:18, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Numbers "Schlußmeldung des Höheren SS- und Polizeiführers Elbe" is the single document of that time

  • Dresden 25,000
  • Leningrad 700,000

Xx236 (talk) 14:09, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Overall, Anglo-American bombing of German cities claimed between 305,000 and 600,000 civilian lives

"German Deaths by aerial bombardment. It is not clear if these totals includes Austrians, of whom about 24,000 were killed (Austrian Press & Information Service, Washington, DC) and people other territories in the Third Reich but not in modern Germany"

The numbers include probably non-German forced workers from territories occupied by Germany but not in the Third Reich. Xx236 (talk) 14:18, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Postwar response section

Now we have Taylor etc talking about it not being a war crime before anyone said it was. Looks a bit odd. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 14:42, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

We can put that in a separate section, perhaps. Crum375 (talk)
Don't follow. You put it in a separate section, which lifted it out of context, so now it looks a bit strange. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
It's a question of structure. Does each section represent one POV? If so, do we include the counter-arguments? And if so, do we trust ourselves as editors to do that without introducing WP:SYNT or WP:POV? I feel we are safer to just classify the arguments and collect them into separate sections. Crum375 (talk) 15:15, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Necessary and justified makes no sense -- if it was necessary, it was ipso facto justified. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:08, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I think "justified" is ill-defined. It seems to imply a moral value, based on some undefined code of conduct. I can see an argument for saying that something is necessary but not justified by that code of conduct. I agree that "justified" alone would include "necessary", however. Crum375 (talk) 15:15, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, so it has to be "or." "And" makes no sense. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:17, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I think "or" is problematic too, as it leaves open the implication of justification without necessity. Perhaps we can just say "justified" vs. "unjustified", where "unjustified" would include war crime. Then we can have the counter-war-crime arguments in the justified section. Crum375 (talk) 15:41, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:43, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
We need to cover in the title those who believe it was not necessary, but also not a war crime, i.e. a legitimate action though perhaps ill-considered. Saying "necessary or justified" would imply that that contingent feel the action was "justified", yet that is not a good description of their position, as "not war crime" does not equate to "justified". Crum375 (talk) 16:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Marshall inquiry

There are no Google hits for this. The USAFHD source says it was just a review conducted by this one person, who wrote a memo to the Secretary of State about it. Do we have a source that says it was a real inquiry? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:43, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Necessary and justifed section

Another concern about this is that some of the language suggests plagiarism. It also makes no sense in places, as though sources have been copied without carefully reading what they're saying. For example:

... the size of the Dresden raid — in terms of numbers, types of bombs and the means of delivery — were commensurate with the military objective and similar to other Allied bombings. On February 23, 1945, the Allies bombed Pforzheim and caused an estimated 20,000 civilian fatalities; a raid on Tokyo on March 9–10 caused civilian casualties over 100,000. The tonnage and types of bombs listed in the service records of the Dresden raid were comparable to (or less than) throw weights of bombs dropped in other air attacks carried out in 1945. One contributing factor to the large loss of life in Dresden was the lack of preparation for the effects of air-raids by Gauleiter Martin Mutschmann, as the city did not expect to be bombed.[74] When Braunschweig was bombed on nights of October 14 and 15, 1944, hochbunkers and well trained fire fighters saved 23,000 people from death in a firestorm. In the case of Dresden, as in many other similar attacks, the hour break in between the RAF raids was a deliberate ploy to attack the fire fighters and rescue crews.[75]

This paragraph is meant to be an argument in favor of saying that the raids were commensurate with the military objective. We include as evidence of this commensurability, if that's the right word, that the Allies deliberately bombed the rescue services. How could that be an argument in favor of saying that no more was done than needed to be done? (Also, there was a three hour break, not one hour.) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:00, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree. That entire section, which originally had the inquiry report merged in, needs a major re-write. Crum375 (talk) 16:06, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
First, we have to establish how important that USAF report is. It just looks like something they put up on the web. Secondly, we need to find the Marshall inquiry report -- does it even exist as such?
There might be some material here we can use. It's an old version, but as you see quite a bit of it is no longer in the article. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:09, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Agreed with all points. This needs work. Crum375 (talk) 16:14, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Background section

The Background section does not establish the event's context within World War II. How close was Germany to defeat? Where were the allied armies? The only point it seems to make (over 9 paragraphs) is that the Soviets wanted Britain to bomb a German civilian center. What is there should be condensed. And broader context (with suitable links) should be added. Jd2718 (talk) 03:24, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that the background is short on context within WWII. Something else that needs work. Crum375 (talk) 03:34, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, definitely. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
The position of the respective armies is important to understanding any possible military significance of Dresden. The Soviet position needs to be more than a footnote, and the level of detail about the eastern front needs to be at least as great as the detail on the western front. Jd2718 (talk) 04:57, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I shortened it a bit, and then some of it was restored by Crum [6] but I don't know whether that was an edit conflict, or a deliberate restoration, so I'll leave it for the two of you to decide. :-) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:00, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
It may have been a conflict. The eastern front should be described at least as much as the western. We could leave it in its current version, or add more detail to both fronts? It might be possible to also talk about the material condition of the German military (in hindsight we know that they fought very hard for four more months. Is it worth mentioning their remaining strength?) Jd2718 (talk) 05:03, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I think it was a 3-way edit conflict, effectively. I agree that we need equal detail where relevant, on all fronts, but the reason I think the Bulge and Nordwind detail is important is that these counter-offensives surprised the Allies, and kept them from seeing Hitler as a defeated enemy on the run, about to capitulate. This is relevant for the Dresden article, because it helps establish the context for the Dresden raid, which took place about 3 weeks after the end of the two counter-offensives. Crum375 (talk) 05:15, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
(ec) I'd like to see something about the German military, and maybe even something about the German people, given that morale was an issue. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:17, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
(ec)I agree. We need to establish a good background to really understand the context of the raid. Crum375 (talk) 05:21, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I just tried putting east and west into separate paragraphs; east first, but much shorter. See how that reads. I agree with SV's suggestion, above. Jd2718 (talk) 05:19, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
It looks good. I'll maybe try to work on a paragraph about German morale tomorrow if I can find material. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:24, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) I am not taking out the Battle of the Bulge casualty figures. However, we should think about 1) how much context they provide for a bombing near the eastern front, and 2) if we should consider using the figures from the comparable period on the eastern front: about 50,000 Soviet soldiers and over 300,000 German soldiers killed. Jd2718 (talk) 05:38, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

The context is the mindset of the Western Allies High Command. Three weeks before the Dresden raid, they come out of two costly and unexpected counter-offensives. In both cases they assume the enemy is on the run, near defeat, and yet in the Bulge they lose more men than in any WWII battle, and 2/3 of an entire division are forced to surrender. This would have a very significant impact on the thinking of the military planners, as they cannot afford to perceive the enemy as defeated. I don't think we need to just arbitrarily include casualty figures from all battles — these specific and very recent ones, ending 3 weeks before the raid, establish the immediate context for the Western Allies. Crum375 (talk) 05:59, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
And the numbers I found (should have been 43,000 Soviet soldiers killed, 377,000 German soldiers killed) were from three weeks in January, immediately before Dresden. (The Vistula-Oder Offensive). The numbers in the east are startlingly massive. No rush, there's other work to be done first, but perhaps we should take a look and find if we can find a source indicating any of the Allied High Command considered the temporary setbacks on the western front as they planned the Dresden bombing. Jd2718 (talk) 06:10, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the eastern numbers from January could be relevant if we can find sources that connect them to Allied thinking and planning. In the case of the Bulge, I have seen sources that make the connection, which I'll try to find. Crum375 (talk) 06:19, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
In the meantime, our existing articles can help with sources on troop strengths, etc. Phillip's existing references in this article might be good for civilian evacuations from the east - undermining civilian morale, and contributing to the large numbers of refugees in Dresden (and to the civilian trains). Some of the references are books, which means a walk to find them... Jd2718 (talk) 06:26, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Taylor makes it clear that the main JIC paper to the chiefs of staff that the strikes on Dresden was to aid the advance of the Soviet forces as that would help shorten the war. He writes (Page 208-209):
"The main JIC paper to the chief of staff actually says it is time for major strikes behind the Russian front, the air forces should move from their habitual strategic campaign against industry, infrastructure, and housing towards using their overwhelming strength to create chaos in the areas behind the battlefield. In other words, the air forces should assume a quasi-tactical role. This alone represents a substantial change in policy, Thunderclap or no. On the other hand, the JIC says, we cannot commit ourselves ti the extent of abandoning the oil program, and we do not expect to destroy German morale by our use of air power (no longed-for 'knockout blow'). We just expect powerfully to help the Russians on the eastern front and by this further discourage German resistance."
--Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 22:28, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Here is one source connecting the Bulge with Thunderclap: [7]
"World War II in Europe: The Final Year", Charles F. Brower, p. 103: "Pressure for THUNDERCLAP began to mount after the Battle of the Bulge in December, however." I suspect there are more. Crum375 (talk) 06:57, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Portals comment "a severe blitz will not only cause confusion in the evacuation from the East, but will also hamper the movement of troops from the West" should remain in the section as should the paragraphs on the Soviet involvement in the decision should stay in this section. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:03, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm in favour of removing the paragraph that starts

RAF Air Staff documents state that it was their intention

But I think the others should stay--Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:39, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Three editors agreed last night that those parts should be removed. You've now almost certainly violated 3RR. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 14:42, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
You've also reverted the copy editing and the flow. You've now got the Bomber Harris told to carry out the bombing before the Secretary of State has made that decision, and before Churchill asked for action. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 14:48, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
SV in a government not all decisions are arrived at in a chain of serial connections, often things happen in parallel. Please reread the section carefully and you sould see the Churchill memo was a follow up -- one of several -- note the "I asked [last night] whether Berlin..." in the memo. That specific Churchill memo was written on the same day that the Air ministry took the decision to bomb Dresden. Sinclair replied the next day after the decision was made to that Churchill memo. Whether Sinclair passed on to Bottomley the specific Churchill memo to Sinclair that is quoted is not mentioned in the sources I have (nor is the time the memo was read by Sinclair or the time Bottomley made is decision), but they do mention that Bottomley was aware of the PMs interest in the matter. What several of the sources do is note the Churchill memo and Sinclair's reply. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 22:28, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Background section 2

This paragraph is problematic. It's too dense, there are no sources, and we introduce names without saying who they are (e.g. Portal):

When the Allies met at the Yalta Conference on February 4, the Western Allies had already decided to target Dresden. The Deputy Chief of the Soviet General Staff, General Aleksei Antonov raised two issues at the conference relating to the Western Allied strategic bomber force. The first was the demarcation of a bomb-line running north to south to avoid accidentally bombing Soviet forces; Western Allied aircraft would not bomb east of the line without specific Soviet permission. The second was to hamper the movement of troops from the western front, Norway and Italy, in particular by paralysing the junctions of Berlin and Leipzig with aerial bombardment. In response to the Soviet requests, Portal (who was in Yalta) sent a request to Bottomley to send him a list of objectives which could be discussed with the Soviets. The list sent back to him included oil plants, tank and aircraft factories and the cities of Berlin and Dresden. In the discussions which followed, the Western Allies pointed out that unless Dresden was bombed as well, the Germans could route rail traffic through Dresden to compensate for any damage caused to Berlin and Leipzig. Antonov agreed and requested that Dresden be added to his list of requests. Once the targets had been agreed at Yalta, the Combined Strategic Targets Committee, SHAEF (Air), informed the USAAF and the RAF Bomber commands that Dresden was among the targets selected to degrade German lines of communication. Their authority to do this came directly from the Western Allies' Combined Chiefs of Staff.

It's also not clear what it's saying. Portal asked Bottomley for a list of objectives to be discussed with the Soviets. The list sent back to him included oil plants etc. In what sense did this need to be discussed with the Soviets?

Also, which troop movements needed to be hampered from the Western front, and how would bombing Berlin and Leipzig achieve that? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 14:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

The paragraph explaining the JIC explanation of troop movements has been deleted. IMOH this section in the last week has had much of the informaiton of how the Allies came to their decison about the bombing of Dresden stripped out and replaced with tangental information about the battle of the Bulge and bombing Berin which is not directly relevent to the Dresden raid. -Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:03, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I added the Bulge as part of the context leading up to Thunderclap, ending just 3 weeks before the Dresden raid, and showing the Germans could still mount a serious counter-offensive. The Berlin raid was the first operation in Thunderclap. I also added more information about the intelligence estimate predicting a possible end by April if the Soviets were successful in their advance, and a delay till November if not, increasing the importance of supporting the Soviets. Crum375 (talk) 21:19, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
providing the article is kept to a reasonable size I see no problem with including the information about the Bulge etc, but that should not be in the article at the expense of the details of who was involved in the decision to launch this raid and the specific reasons this target was chosen. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk)
I don't think it's one or the other. We need to provide the broader context, such as the Bulge, Yalta and Thunderclap, as well as the more specific details about the Dresden raid itself. It can still be done with minimal verbiage, we don't want to overwhelm the reader with minor details. Crum375 (talk) 22:22, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

The information on who Portal was had been removed from one of the previous paragraphs without the additional information being about who he was being added back into this paragraph. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:30, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

SV if you do not know why bombing Berlin Leipzig and Dresden would hamper troop movements to the east I am not sure that you are qualified to edit this section. It is in all the books that discuss the raid in any detail. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Philip, that is an uncivil comment. Please focus on the message, not the messenger, and everything will work smoother. Thanks, Crum375 (talk) 21:19, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
It says: "The second [issue raised at Yalta] was to hamper the movement of troops from the western front, Norway and Italy, in particular by paralysing the junctions of Berlin and Leipzig with aerial bombardment."
It is, like the rest of the paragraph and indeed like much of the rest of the article, extremely unclear to anyone who doesn't already understand it, as your comment confirmed; and the grammar is wrong (how can an issue raised at Yalta be "to hamper ..."?).
What has happened with this article is that people have copied the sources word for word, or very close to it, resulting in a cut-and-paste mish-mash of other people's narratives. Philip, I found material you had copied directly from, for example, a website for schools, without attribution, and someone (I've not yet looked up who it was) plagiarized from the RAF site -- examples above.
So, Philip, given that I'm too stupid to fix the sentence, could you please write it on this talk page in a way that would be clear to the average reader? E.g. -- the sentence needs to say which troop movements hampered, and to where. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:32, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Put back the paragraphs that were removed before this one. Two of which say:

The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) had concluded that the Germans could reinforce their eastern front with up to 42 divisions (half a million men) from other fronts and that, if the Soviet advance could be helped by hindering that movement, it could shorten the war. They thought that the Germans could complete the reinforcement by March 1945. The JIC's analysis was backed up by Ultra Enigma-code intercepts, which confirmed that the Germans had such plans. Their recommendation was that "the assistance which might be given to the Russians during the next few weeks by the British and American strategic bomber forces justifies an urgent review of their employment to this end. ... Attacks against oil targets should continue to take precedence over everything else ..."
The Soviets had several discussions with the Allies on how the strategic bomber force could help their ground offensives once the eastern front line approached Germany. The U.S. ambassador to the USSR, W. Averell Harriman, discussed it with Joseph Stalin as did General Eisenhower's deputy at SHAEF, British Air Marshal Arthur W. Tedder in January 1945, when he explained how the strategic bomber could support the Soviet attack as Germany began to shuffle forces between the fronts. On January 31 after studying the JIC recommendation which was contained in a document entitled "Strategic Bombing in Relation to the Present Russian Offensive" and consulting with the Soviets, Tedder and his air staff concurred and issued a recommendation that Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, and associated cities should be attacked. The intention to use the strategic bomber forces in a tactical air-support role was similar to that for which Eisenhower had employed them before the Normandy invasion in 1944. He was counting on strategic airpower in 1945 to "prevent the enemy from switching forces back and forth at will" from one front to the other.

--Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:36, 10 January 2008 (UTC)


Taylor considers the use of the term Thunderclap misleading/wrong. I'll look up the exact wording he uses when I have a moment to do so. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:30, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

The Davis source explains that although the original Thunderclap plan called for massive continuous night-day bombing effort, the actual result was a restricted version. So the term Thunderclap is used informally to refer to the more limited actions against the eastern cities in February. I am not sure we need to get into deep detail, as long as we have references using the term. Crum375 (talk) 21:41, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
The question is was it a formal operation like Operation Hurricane (1944) or just a series of raids. If the latter then there really is no need to mention the bombing of Berlin on February 3. It may be that it was a code name given for the Western Allies attacks on the German railway network to aid the Soviets, but if it was then that should be made clear because otherwise it gets mixed up with the August plan called Thunderclap that suggested droping 25,000 tons of bombs in three or consecutive days and inflicting 220,000 casualties 50% of those deaths. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 22:40, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Found it Page 214 Taylor writes noting the words of Sir Douglas Evill (vice chief of the Air Staff) minutes of a January 30 meeting in Whitehall of the Chief of Staff Committee, decision of the Air Staff that a "..'Thunderclap' attack would not be feasible ..." and Taylor goes on to say "In other words, Thunderclap was to be replaced by a number of very powerful - but not in the numbers of aircraft dispatched, freakishly large - air raids on eastern German cities, including Dresden." BTW in case you are wondering I am using a London paperback edition, (type set in Scotland and printed in GB) of Taylor's book, but for some reason it uses US spelling (program center etc) --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 22:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it's an issue of terminology. If you read the Davis reference, pp. 490 - 498, and search for "Thunderclap", you'll see how Davis refers to the modified and restricted version as Thunderclap in many places. Yet he himself in a footnote 7, p. 513, says: "Thunderclap itself referred to only the one raid on Berlin. The linking by Harris of other cities in eastern Germany to the operation has led to some misunderstanding by later historians, such as David Irving, who incorrectly apply the operation’s designation to the entire bombing campaign in eastern Germany." It seems that they (at least Harris) saw the eastern city bombing campaign in February as a related effort, which was a restricted and modified version of the original Thunderclap plan from the previous July. Crum375 (talk) 23:13, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
And here is a reference to Thunderclap from the RAF side (see: "13/14 February 1945"). Crum375 (talk) 23:39, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

I checked in Harris Bomber Offensive he does not mention Thunderclap but does mention in the index under Berlin "projected mass attack abandoned 245-246". On those pages he mentions that in late summer that vast Anglo-American daylight air attack on Berlin might cause the German government to throw in the towel. But Harris claims he pulled the plug on it when he realised that as most of the RAF were not trained in daylight formation flying they would be in a bomber stream sixty miles long and the USAAF did not have enough fighters to protect them so the operation was cancelled. Harris also says on page 242 "Here I will only say that Dresden was considered a military necessity by much more important people than myself". This is of course disingenuous and self serving because Harris was on a mission to destroy all major German cities, but it does not suggest that he considered Dresden etc to be any more of a target than another city.

Looking specifically at Davis page 490-495. We have a problem because he draws different conclusions from Taylor. But he does mention that Spaatz was against it and wanted to implement a plan called Clarion (page 494). On page 495 Davis writes "The upcoming mission to Berlin was not part of Thunderclap because it was not a combined RAF-AAF round-the-clock attack." which means both Davis and Taylor do not consider that raid part of Thunder clap (Davis writes about targets hit in Berlin that were on the Thunderclap list -- but does not make it clear if these had been extracted from an old plan and reused in a new one).

Cox writing in Firestorm: The bombing of Dresden (ed Addison) writes on page 19 that the Thunderclap plan of summer 1944 that "The official historians were later to comment that the [plan] could be regarded 'if only indirectly, as the title deed of that controversial operation [i.e. Dresden]'". Over the next few pages he talks about a scaled down Thunderclap with the aims that both Taylor and Davis discuss. But he also adds one important detail that Operation Clarion was a USTAAF plan to attack cities throughout Germany not already attacked. He concludes that Spaatz was not in principle against attacking cities behind the German eastern front line to sow confusion and so hamper German eastern front operations (although he notes that the most recent biography on Spaatz draws a different conclusion). In the same book (Firestorm: The bombing of Dresden) Biddle writes on page 103 "The residue of 'Thunderclap' was apparent on 3 February 1945 when the Americans launched a major raid on Berlin city centre". Neither of these authors seem to endorse the idea that the bombing of Dresden was part of an "Operation Thunderclap". --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:36, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Patric Bishop in Bomber boys Fighting Back 1940-1945 goes into some detail about "Thunderclap" in the summer of 1944. On page 341 he gives the same quote as Cox "The attack on Dresden .. 'if only indirectly, as the title deed of that controversial operation'", and just mentions that in 1945 the February operations "as well as perhaps fulfilling the objectives of Thunderclap"(page 344)

Irving of course is a man on a mission and it suits his political stance to emphasise the amoral motives of the Allies. Given Irving's position on this (his strategy trying to draw a moral equivalence between the Allies and the Nazis), and the fact that the sources we are using do not agree on what if anything was implemented as Operation Thunderclap, I think we should avoid using the term as it is tainted by Irving (use unless there is a clear source that states these raids were codenamed Operation Thunderclap). --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:36, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Other raids

Before the start of the year all the major raids on the city were listed. Now they are not. How do we fix that? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 23:12, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

We do have the table from the USAFHD report included as an image. It may make sense to expand on it slightly. Crum375 (talk) 00:26, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I also think we need to decide about the exact subject of this article. If it is the overall bombing of Dresden in WWII, then we need to add the few additional raids, both before and after the Feb. 13-15 raids, and mention something about them, at least generically, in the lead. As it stands, the lead is focused strictly on the Feb. 13-15 raids. Crum375 (talk) 03:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
No, not in the lead. This is about the iconic bombing. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:34, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the lead is correctly focused on the February 13-15, 1945. If there is any mention of previous or subsequent bombings, they should be quite brief, and not prominent; they are not likely to be what readers are here for; links to the allied bombing campaign may be sufficient for the curious. Jd2718 (talk) 03:35, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
We need to first decide what the exact subject of the article is. If it's the 13-15 raids, also known as the firebombing of Dresden, we should retitle the article appropriately. If it's Dresden's entire WWII bombing history, then we should rephrase the lead so it doesn't sound as if all the bombing occurred during those 3 days. As it is, 3,200 tons of bombs were dropped on Dresden before and after the "iconic" raids, vs. 3,900 during the 13-15 raids (although most of the casualties occurred during the 3 days). Also, even within the 13-15 time span, only the first and second RAF raids contributed to the firestorm, the USAAF raid that came the next day did not cause a firestorm to my knowledge, and similarly for the one on the 15th. So we need to decide where our focus is and how to present it. Crum375 (talk) 03:45, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
What's wrong with the current focus? It makes clear that we're in the main talking about the first fourteen-and-a-half hours starting Feb 13 10 pm CET (I wrote 15 because it's in Taylor's book blurb, but I'll change it if he himself says differently). That is what people think of as the "bombing of Dresden" -- the initial attacks by the RAF and the follow-up the next day by the Americans. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:53, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
If we decide to cut out the raids on the 15th, then the tonnage would drop to 3,441 (from 3,900). All sources I have seen lump all 4 raids (RAF 1 and 2, and USAAF 1 and 2) as one operation. And in any case, this doesn't address the issue of the article's subject: is it the WWII bombing of Dresden as a whole? If so, given that almost half the tonnage was outside the 13-15 operation, then the lead has to at least imply it. If it's strictly the 13-15 operation, then the title should be changed. Crum375 (talk) 04:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the title should be changed. This is about the well-known bombing Feb 13-15. The rest should be mentioned, but not prominently, and not in the title. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:39, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
If we change the title to focus on the 13-15 raids, there are some problems. For example, if we choose to call it "The Dresden Firebombing", and specifically exclude the other raids, then where would the other raids go? It doesn't make sense to create a stub just for them and then link to this article, because they were not very important. Also, the raid on the 15th, though considered by all sources to be part of the operation, did not contribute to the firestorm, and even the one on the 14th most likely didn't (I haven't seen a single source that said it did). So calling the article "the firebombing" would be problematic. In my opinion, the best solution would be to include all other bombings in this article, and just change the lead's wording slightly to allow for the other raids. Crum375 (talk) 04:52, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
But as Jd says, that's not what readers will be coming here for. The other raids weren't significant in terms of what people think of as the bombing of Dresden. Tonnage of bombs dropped isn't what matters in itself -- what matters is where they are dropped, how they are dropped, over what time period they are dropped. So to argue that more tonnage was dropped outside the Feb 13-15 period is irrelevant, because it obviously didn't do the same damage, and it's the damage that counts. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:59, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
People will come here depending on the title. If the title says, or implies, that this article is about all the bombings of Dresden in WWII, then the lead should allow for that. If the title says it's Feb. 13-15, then we can focus on that, but then have to deal with the other raids, as I noted above. Yes, in terms of damage to people and structures the 13-15 raids were by far the most effective, but tonnage is a factor also, as are bomber aircraft numbers. Some cities, like Berlin, have two articles, one for the Battle of Berlin, and one for the rest of the war. But in this case, the "rest" is not important enough to justify a separate article. Crum375 (talk) 05:09, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Some of the smaller raids might not end up in their own article. I assume there is a general article on the aerial bombardment of Germany? In any case, a solution can be found. This article need not provide a home for all of this. As far as "firebombing" being imprecise, you are correct. However, many articles called "WP Article" might more accurately be called "WP Article and associated events." It would not be a big deal to move this to Firebombing of Dresden, and still include the bombs that fell over the next few hours. Jd2718 (talk) 05:02, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
The issue is not just the ones that fell over the next few hours, but also the ones that fell months before, and months after. Crum375 (talk) 05:25, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Except, not every bomb need be in its own article. What happened here, those two days, that's highly notable and having an article specifically devoted to that makes sense. Jd2718 (talk) 05:31, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Someone has changed the figures in the lead. They come from Taylor's book blurb, which you can see yourself if you look it up on Amazon. Second page (which I think is a cover page). I'm going to change it back until we get a definitive number from a secondary source (no OR, please, counting ourselves). SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I changed them based on the USAFHD numbers, which appear very authoritative. Our own numbers, in the "Attack" section, match up very closely to the USAFHD. The ones that were in the lead were simply wrong, based on the existing sources and the article itself. Crum375 (talk) 04:45, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
How can you tell whether those numbers are authoritative? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:47, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
First, they come from an official source that should know, the USAF. Second, they match up against the numbers we ourselves use in the "Attack" section. Crum375 (talk) 04:56, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
That's a circular point, using WP as a source. The USAF webpage is problematic because it's anonymous. Was this written by an experienced USAF historian, or an undergraduate at their Air University? We have no idea. Also, the table giving the figures isn't sourced.
What I normally do in cases like this is, after a few weeks of reading, I decide who the other sources regard as the most authoritative, and I use his figures and place the contradictory figures in a footnote. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:06, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I didn't rely or refer to any article but this one. The "Attack" section is in this article, and its numbers closely match up with the USAFHD 's. Also, we use the USAFHD in many places in the article, including presenting the very table that includes the tonnage numbers. The lead cannot contradict the rest of the article. Crum375 (talk) 05:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I have seen some sources referring to the USAFHD article as having been written by Joseph W. Angell, the USAF's chief historian. Also, if we can't rely on that source we can't use its numbers in one part of the article and not in another. Either we accept it or we don't. Crum375 (talk) 05:20, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, regarding the Talyor "book blurb", AFAICT it was not written by Taylor, as it also mentions Taylor in the third person. Inside the book proper, it talks about the Brits dropping 2,600 tons, which matches USAFHD. Does anyone have an actual reference to Taylor saying there were 4,500 tons dropped in 15 hours? If so, a page number would be helpful. Crum375 (talk) 07:02, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
On Page 365 of "Dresden Tuesday 13 Feb 1945" by F Taylor, he states that the USAAF planned to use used 678.3 tones of HE and 400 tones of incendiaries, but not all were dropped on Dresden (See Bombing of Prague in World War II) AFAICT Taylor does not give totals for the RAF but breaks them down by bomber group. The First wave (no. 5 group) 881.1 tons of bombs -- 57% HE, page 296. He shows the second wave as a table by bomber group on pages 320-321 and the totals by my addition are 964.6 tons of HE 801.3 tons of incendiaries equals 1765.9 tons for the second wave. RAF total of 2,647 tons. Here is another source 525 Lancs dropped 1,471 tons of high explosives and 1,175 tones of incendiaries and flairs. The two USAAF rainds added 1,235 tons to the total weight.(Addison Firestorm:The bombing of Dresden 46,41) Makes 3,881 tons. Over FOUR raids more than 15 hours apart! . Given rounding differences Taylors and Addison are the same for the RAF. BTW the sources do not make it clear if they are dealing in short or long tons. Could that make any difference to the totals? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 15:07, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
David Irving names the author of the USAF thing as Walter F. Angell, although elsewhere he also discusses a Joseph W. Angell. [8] SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:06, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I think Irving is confused. As I understand it, Joseph W. Angell, Jr. was the assistant chief historian, working under Albert F. Simpson, the chief historian, and produced that document in 1953. The US Air Force published it on its website, so it is the publisher. Crum375 (talk) 07:19, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you have a source for that?
See p 315 for Irving saying Angell said the Soviets never asked for Dresden. The whole of our background section needs to be rewritten, I think, and carefully sourced. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:22, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I would point you to what Evans said about Irving "Not one of [Irving's] books, speeches or articles, not one paragraph, not one sentence in any of them, can be taken on trust as an accurate representation of its historical subject. All of them are completely worthless as history, because Irving cannot be trusted anywhere, in any of them, to give a reliable account of what he is talking or writing about. ... if we mean by historian someone who is concerned to discover the truth about the past, and to give as accurate a representation of it as possible, then Irving is not a historian."(Holocaust Denial On Trial). --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 10:26, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I have seen this in more reliable places too. As I understand it, the Soviets did not ask for Dresden specifically. When they were asked if would be helpful for them, along with the other cities, they said yes, it would. So it was not their idea originally, but they supported it when offered. I believe later Marshall went telling people that the Soviets asked for it, without giving this detail. Crum375 (talk) 07:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

The bombings before February 45 are very significant to the debate on the bombings, because it puts to bed the argument that Dresden had never been bombed so the population thought that the city would never be bombed. Perhaps there should be a timeline section listing all the bombings. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 10:26, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

We already have a timeline in the USAFHD table. It shows only two previous bombings — on Oct. 7, '44 and Jan. 16, '45. Someone mentioned that there is a German newspaper source claiming a raid in Aug. '44 with hundreds of casualties, which needs to be investigated, since the USAFHD claims its list includes all the Allied raids. The USAFHD does not give results, so we really don't know what the pre-firebombing destruction was, if any. Still, compared to all other cities, it seems Dresden was hit far less, so one can see how from the Germans' optimistic perspective, it would have appeared to be a relatively "safe" place. Crum375 (talk) 13:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • There were three of them. The subject has been discussed, below as 24. August 1944 bombing not mentioned.
  • The German article discusses the problem from German point, not so optimistically.Xx236 (talk) 13:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Xx236 (talk) 13:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Tokyo firebombing reference

I added the Tokyo firebombing as a footnote for comparison, since the typical reader would not know where the bomb tonnage, square mileage destroyed, or fatalities total stand in relation to other WWII bombings. This was my footnote:

As reference, in the March 9-10, 1945 Tokyo raid by the USAAF, 16 square miles (41 km²) of the city were destroyed, and over 83,000 people are estimated to have died in the firestorm.[9]

This was removed as possibly not relevant. I think knowing how the Dresden firebombing numbers compare to the Tokyo ones is relevant, but I could be wrong, or perhaps this needs its own section. Crum375 (talk) 04:41, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Why Tokyo specifically? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:47, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Because it was the biggest firebombing raid in WWII, so it gives us a scale by which to measure other attacks. Crum375 (talk) 04:59, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
We should include the biggest firebombing raid in the sentence; if it's worth explaining here, it's worth explaining to the reader. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 05:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
We could include it in the lead explicitly, but that would add clutter. I like tight language and clean flow in the lead, so a footnote would be fine there. But it may make sense to add it explicitly and even expand on it in the body, where we have more space. Crum375 (talk) 05:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
No, I think PM means explain it in the footnote. The problem was that the footnote didn't explain itself. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 06:58, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that would make sense, we can say:
As reference, in the March 9-10, 1945 Tokyo raid by the USAAF, which was the most destructive firebombing raid in WWII, 16 square miles (41 km²) of the city were destroyed, and over 83,000 people are estimated to have died in the firestorm.[10]
Would that work? Crum375 (talk) 07:09, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but I would say "For the sake of comparison," rather than "as reference." SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I put that in, a bit more succinctly. ;^) Crum375 (talk) 07:32, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

German air defences

I think we need to say something about the lack of German air defences. If Dresden had been an important military and industrial target, they would have defended it, which raises the question as to why they didn't. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

According to the USAHD report, they did defend it, lightly. The rationale I have seen (I believe in Davis) for the light defense is that because of its relative distance from the British airfields, Dresden was harder to reach, and therefore hadn't been attacked much previously, which led to complacency on the Germans' part. Apparently some of the anti-aircraft guns were sent to other cities that were attacked more often, and to the front for shooting at tanks. Crum375 (talk) 07:25, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
No, I meant we need something in the article about it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:35, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree, that was what I have seen the sources say about it, and it is relevant. Crum375 (talk) 07:43, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

The German article quotes Hermmann Rahne: Die „Festung Dresden“ von 1945. In: Dresden - Das Jahr 1945. Dresdner Hefte, Bd. 41. ISBN 3910055273 Xx236 (talk) 07:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Bomber Harris writes that by this stage in the war the German early warning radar systems were severely compromised, so the night fighters (of which there were a lot) were having problems vectoring in on their targets. The radar net was compromised by two factors. The Allies were ahead in the cat an mouse game of jamming and detecting but more importantly now that the western front was so close to Germany the bombers could fly south and then east (forcing the Germans to cover a much larger front than they had before the second front opened up) and so even if picked up on radar the night fighters had little time to get into the air in sufficient quantities to take out many aircraft. Also electronic navigational aids had improved and with the front line so much closer to Germany GEE transmitter were positioned behind the foront lines allowing passive accurate navigation further into Germany before H2S had to be switched on. (Harris "Bomber Offensive" pages 424,428,429) The Americans had all the same advantages plus one more big one the P-51 Mustang. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 10:43, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Excellent, thank you. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 10:45, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

The most effective German anti-aircraft piece was the 88 mm gun. It was also he German's best anti-tank gun and the supply was a limited. The Germans had decided that destroying Soviet tanks had a higher priority than defending Dresden against air attack. The debate about this is important in only two respects. AAA around a city did tend to disrupt the bomb patterns so reducing the likelyhood of a firestorm. But more important politically is the requirement in the Draft Convention for the Protection of Civilian Populations Against New Engines of War Amsterdam, 1938. Art 2. This of course was drafted before radar and national air defence was known to be public (Neither the British or the Germans in 1938 would have mentioned a word in public about radar developments, which in the British case led to Chain Home), but was obviously a consideration in the minds of those who wrote the Marshall inquiry, because of their search for AAA guns within a certain distance of Dresden. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

24. August 1944 bombing not mentioned

The German article says: 24. August 1944 Dresden-Gittersee, Freital-Birkigt, 241 died according to a German newspaper.

7. Oktober 1944 - 312 16. Januar 1945 - 334 Xx236 (talk) 07:47, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

We already have the Oct '44 and Jan '45 attacks in the USAFHD bombing table, plus other attacks, in Mar '45 and Apr '45, but not the August '44. That needs to be researched because USAFHD claims its list shows all the Allied bombings. Crum375 (talk) 08:20, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

This article doesn't inform about numbers of victims. I have added more than 400 (October 7, 1944) after a GDR book, the German article says 312.Xx236 (talk) 08:42, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Whose initiative

I am resuming discussion about this issue here, as I think it's a key point that needs good sourcing and phrasing. According to the USAFHD, Antonov told the Western Allies at Yalta:[11]

Our wishes are:

a. To speed up the advance of the Allied troops on the Western Front, for which the present situation is very favorable: (1) To defeat the Germans on the Eastern Front. (2) To defeat the German groupings which have advanced into the Ardennes. (3) The weakening of the German forces in the West in connection with the shifting of their reserves to the East (It is desirable to begin the advance during the first half of February).
b. By air action on communications hinder the enemy from carrying out the shifting of his troops to the East from the Western Front, from Norway, and from Italy (In particular, to paralyze the junctions of Berlin and Leipzig).
c. Not permit the enemy to remove his forces from Italy.
(emphasis added)

The Western Allies then decided that Antonov's desire "by air action ... to paralyze the junctions of Berlin and Leipzig," meant that, because of the rail lines layout, Dresden had to be added to Berlin and Leipzig. (See para 18 in USAFHD.)

This was later transmitted to the Soviets. If anyone has a source to the contrary, that the Dresden raid was requested by the Soviets as opposed to being proposed by the Western Allies and accepted by the Soviets, please provide the source. Crum375 (talk) 08:36, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Taylor page 218-219 says that there as no record in the minutes that the Soviets asked for Dresden, but the translator Hugh Lunghi (who translated for the PM and the chiefs of staff) "firmly maintained" that the Soviets twice requested Dresden because it was an important rail junction. Even if they had not, as the Soviets had included Berlin and Dresden in the their Bomb Line request, the cities had to be discussed because if the Bomb Line ran through Dresden and Berlin then the Allies could not bomb either without the Soviets agreeing. The Western Allies thought the Bomb Line was too far west so Portal (at Yalta) asked Bottomley (in London) for a list of targets east of the Bomb Line. The list he got back included tank and aircraft factories, oil installations and the cities of Berlin and Dresden. Taylor then goes on to say that Yalta was important because "Portal replied on February 6, agreeing that a new directive should be issued to enshrine the new priorities. So why issue a new directive, when Harris already had his orders to attack Dresden when the conditions were right? First, because (if Major Lunghi's memory serves him well) the bombing of Dresden, as a specific target, was now a direct matter of high policy, decided among all three great power representatives, political and military. The idea of bombing eastern Germany to help the Russians had originally come from London. A new, joint Allied directive would broaden responsibility and give the planned attacks on Dresden an other cities behind the Russian from a coalition, rather than a predominantly British, stamp". --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 10:26, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the question is simple: did the Western Allies propose Dresden first, based on their perception of what was good for the Soviets, or did the Soviets specifically ask for it first? As it stands, it seems the former was the case, unless we have a source to the contrary. Crum375 (talk) 13:44, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Taylor says that Lughi said that the request was made by the Soviets first then the Portal asked for the RAF list before the second chiefs of staff meeting where Dresden was mentioned again (page 219 first paragraph). I suppose it depends on whether one accepts Lunghi statment. Cox writing in Firestorm: The bombing of Dresden (ed Addison) agrees with Taylor that the Soviets asked twice, mentioning that Lunghi said that both Antonov and Stalin made the request, but makes the point the he thinks that as the Brits had already decided to bomb the city "The question of whether the Soviets themselves specifically requested that Dresden be bombed is in any case irrelevant and largely tied up with Cold War politics."(page 29) --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:58, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Factor of 10

Is it really necessary to repeat "by a factor of 10 or more" in the lead? We already give the up-to-date figures. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:28, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Many sources I have seen make the point about the "extra zero" that Goebbels put in, and some say that that initial propaganda actually created much of the public firestorm in later years, despite the corrected numbers. So I think emphasizing the factor of 10 is important, and adds perspective for the reader. Many readers gloss over raw figures. Crum375 (talk) 15:39, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

the factor of 10 issue is most propably criminal revisionism, like denying holocaust actually happened, one thing all the people here and everywhere else, fails to take a note when comparing dresden to "similar raids, with firestorm" is the fact that great many of the population failed to take any kind of shelter cause they thought it was just a another false alarm, havent practicly ever got a real air raid to the city and what is more the lacking defences, there was no or little FLAK defences and more importantly, the city had no dedicated / proper air raid shelters what so ever cause resources werent spend on these because city wasnt bombed before, so these people claiming 35 000 or less victims dont just have any idea what they are talking about given that the claims for 300 000 victims are propably also false but im pretty sure something like from 100 000 to 200 000 people did actually die, just look at Tokyo, they had a firestorm, and people had no shelters and "flak" and other defenses were ineffective yet it is AGREED that there in single night, more than 200 000 souls lost their lifes. So if you want to compare bombing of dresden the caused loss of life so on to something similar, compare it to Tokyo firebomb raids cause those are the only similar ones.

Cheers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Would you be so kind to read the German article? It seems they have other sources than yours.Xx236 (talk) 08:08, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Moral issues

The lead implies, by "moral cause celebre", that this bombing ranks high in WWII moral issues. If we use the Holocaust as a moral reference point, the total who died in the Dresden firebombing were approximately equal to the Jews gassed and incinerated in Auschwitz alone during five normal "working days."[12] There were also many Soviet and other civilians who suffered staggering losses. It sounds like Wikipedia is taking a moral position here, and I think that's wrong per WP:NPOV. Crum375 (talk) 15:54, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

In what sense a moral position? That is what the sources say, and clearly it is a major cause célèbre. It ranks extremely highly in WWII moral issues, which is why so much has been written about it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:13, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
There are countless sources out there, many reliable, for the moral issues of WWII. It is up to Wikipedia's editors to determine the proper weighting and any flat statements, like "moral cause celebre," that are not attributed in the text to a specific source. Implying that the death of civilians in one WWII attack, which amounts to only 5 days of operations at only one death camp, is among the most egregious moral issues of the war, is simply not WP:NPOV. There is a lot more written about the moral aspects of the Holocaust, which at least numerically, far outweighs any bombing. Crum375 (talk) 16:25, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
This isn't an article about the Holocaust. It's about the Allied bombing of Dresden, and what sources and commentators have said about it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:17, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
The article is about the bombing of Dresden in WWII. The statement we make, "... the raids ... have become a moral cause célèbre of the Second World War", is very sweeping, and clearly implies that the Dresden bombing is one of the most egregious moral issues of WWII. This becomes a moral judgment by Wikipedia which is not WP:NPOV. Crum375 (talk) 17:35, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, you've lost me. You clearly have strong feelings about this, and I think it's colouring your views. I don't have any feelings about it one way or the other. I would just like to write a good article. The phrase "cause célèbre" means something that's discussed a lot, a controversy. It is undeniably that. You may not like that it is, but it is. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:49, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
The phrase "moral cause célèbre of WWII" means it's considered a key moral issue of the war, comparable to the other top moral issues. Since the category here is the killing of unarmed civilians, the clear implication of saying that the bombing has "become a moral cause célèbre of the Second World War" is that it's comparable to others in that category. So the point is not to deny that some people consider it a key moral issue, but to first recognize the numerical comparison, e.g. 5 days at Auschwitz alone, and second to ensure that Wikipedia itself does not take a moral position. By making that statement flatly, without in-text attribution, we as Wikipedians are saying we consider the killing of 30,000 civilians as part of a bombing mission to try to shorten the war, in the same moral category as, for example, killing 6 million people because they happen to have the wrong race or religion. If we attribute the statement to some scholar, that would be OK, and then perhaps balanced by other views, but saying it as Wikipedia editors we are violating WP:NPOV. Crum375 (talk) 18:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You're engaged in OR. No one has said the key issue is the number of dead. The key issueS that made it controversial are that the dead were mostly civilians, and in fact mostly women and children; that there were an unknown number of refugees in the city at the time, who were defenseless, which means the number of dead can never be known; that an entire city was destroyed; that it was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe; that it was a city most educated people had heard of, were fond of, and might have visited, unlike some of the others places that were bombed; that it appeared to be undefended; that it was toward the end of the war; that even Churchill distanced himself from it; that he appears to have admitted it was a wanton act of destruction; that the airmen were advised to show the Russians what Bomber Command can do.
Our job is to write about the controversy in the article, without paying any attention to whether it makes Dresden sounds better/worse than the Holocaust/Berlin/Tokyo/Hiroshima/whatever else. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 18:22, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Our job is to write about the subject, the bombing of Dresden in WWII, in a way that meets WP's requirement. That includes telling the reader what happened, how and why it happened, and what was the aftermath. We must do it neutrally, and base ourselves on reliable sources, balancing them carefully. The easiest way to deviate from the true path is if we let our emotions take over. As far as comparison to the Holocaust, there were innocent civilians, women and children there too, so that is not a distinction. I would first focus on the physical facts, and only once those are reliably established delve into moral judgments and controversies. For us to flatly say, without in-text attribution, that this was a "moral cause celebre", where it pales in comparison to many worse (at least numerically) WWII events, is not WP:NPOV. Crum375 (talk) 18:49, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

The issue is not weighed in body counts. No one (who is not a Holocaust apologist) would try to balance the scales. The question posed by people like Grayling is given Western Allied propaganda that they were on the side of the angels, was the British and to a less extent the Americans bombing in Europe a moral crime? Bomber Harris sums it up very well in his book Bomber offensive -- He obviously came down on the side that it was not a moral crime Grayling comes down on the other side. Far more I suspect would take the middle ground that before the D-Day landings, strategic bombing of Germany was nasty but necessary to take the war to Germany so that the Western Allies could be seen to be doing something to help the Soviets, but when strategic bombing of Germany resumed in September 1944 was nasty and unnecessary. Rightly or wrongly this debate has centred on the Dresden raid as a yard stick by which this moral question is judged. Probably because of:

  • Goebbels propaganda
  • The AP terror bombing wire report.
  • Irving's Book in the 1960s was widely read and many people thought that the number of deaths in Dresden was as high as the two abombs combined.

It seems to me that since Irving was debunked so publicly that Dresden bombing is losing its iconic status, and becoming just one of a series of large raids. For example Graying in Among the dead cities prefers to focus on Hamburg. However bombing Dresden is still used as a symbol for the debate, as it is still representative of many similar raids and still the best known if moth-eaten example. In Firestorm: The bombing of Dresden (2006) a whole chapter is put aside to "Dresden as a war crime" the author Donald Bloxham sides with Grayling that it probably was not a war crime but it was a moral crime. But on the last page of the chapter he concludes "Dresden is perfectly appropriate in the vital but narrow terms of illustrating lapses in British military morality during the Second World War. However, for the wider purpose of illustrating lapses the morality of the world war as a whole, Dresden's value is tightly circumscribed owing to the far greater and more variegated crimes committed by Nazi Germany." He goes on to say that it is not even a good example for British behaviour because as an aggressive imperial power there are clear examples of crimes against humanity and that "to focus on Dresden will only tell a rather unrepresentative part of Britain's story" --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 19:52, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Here is Taylor, who is regarded as having defended the bombing -- to the point of needing police protection when he visited Dresden. He writes that the second wave of bombers "turned the raid into a byword for slaughter." He explains that the second areas bombed were the suburbs, the station containing the refugees, the areas where the homeless lived. He calls them "killing grounds without compare." (p. 284) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem quoting Taylor. My problem is when we state our own moral opinion as Wikipedians, such as flatly saying the Dresden attack was a "moral cause celebre", without in-text attribution. We are neither qualified to act as moral judges, nor expected to, and the result is non WP:NPOV. Crum375 (talk) 20:56, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Crum. If we find a dissenting voice that calls Dresden a minor event, it should not be added per WP:FRINGE/WP:UNDUE. But claiming that Dresden is 'unique' or 'greatest', and putting it above the Holocaust, atomic bombings, or [add your favorite WWII tragedy here], is not neutral. We can say it was 'one of the greatest/most tragic' etc. This is indisputable and not controversial. But to claim it was the greatest is not neutral.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 23:19, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, we are not directly saying it was the greatest, just that it's a "moral cause celebre". The problem with that term is that it implies that it's topmost in everyone's mind (because people have a limited attention span for "cause celebres"), and there were so many other WWII tragedies that it's hard to place them in order like that. Similarly when we say, right in the first sentence, "one of the most controversial Allied actions of the Second World War" — I think we should present the clear facts first, and the controversies later. And I prefer to rely on published sources, and not voice our own opinion as editors. By not using in-text attribution we are effectively passing judgment on moral issues. Crum375 (talk) 23:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I think 'one of the moral...' would be a much more neutral qualification.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 05:27, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Source request

Can we have a source for Tokyo being the most destructive fireboming of the war? The source provided seems not to say that. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

This is the source provided, and it says: "No other single air raid in history had killed so many people." Crum375 (talk) 17:46, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay, then we should say that. It doesn't say it's the most destructive. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:50, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Hang on, that's ridiculous. What about Hiroshima? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:52, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
A lot less died in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The nuclear bombs had more of a psychological effect. Crum375 (talk) 18:17, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Adding a note to my own message, the A-bombs were of course awful, caused massive devastation and loss of life, as well as horrific short and long term injuries, spreading genetically into future generations. And today's H-bombs are potentially far worse. So I am not in any way diminishing from their horror, and hope they are never used again. But of course conventional bombs are not much nicer if they get close. Crum375 (talk) 23:01, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Where are you getting your figures from, and what does any of this have to do with the bombing of Dresden? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 18:23, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
If you'd like to discuss the nukes, we can do that, though I think it's drifting off course. As far the connection to Dresden, it was in the category of firebombing, or firestorm bombing, and when describing its magnitude in numbers, it makes sense to compare it to some yardstick. The biggest one was Tokyo, so that gives us a feel for Dresden's relative size. As far as the terminology, Tokyo was largest in devastated area (16 square miles), and in fatalities (over 83,000). I am not sure we need to dig much deeper into this at this point, as it is in a footnote. If we promote the issue into the main text, we can expand. Crum375 (talk) 18:39, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You still haven't produced a source saying Tokyo was the largest in area or the most "damaging," and the nuclear attacks are certainly no more off course than Tokyo and the Holocaust. Your source said: "No other single air raid in history had killed so many people," and that's clearly false because more died at Hiroshima, which was also an air raid. So could you find a source, please, saying it was the most damaging? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:45, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I specifically used the term "firebombing", to stay in category. The nuke situation was more complicated because of radiation effects, that can last generations and are hard to quantify, so I would stay away from it. I have seen a source for the 16 square miles in the Tokyo bombing, and we can emphasize the term "conventional warfare" (or bombing) to skirt the nuke issue, though I believe that firebombing also avoids it. Also, we can say Tokyo was the "deadliest" instead of the most destructive, to avoid needing to define "destruction". Crum375 (talk) 19:57, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You're doing WP:SYN. Your source says "air raid," not firebombing, and talks about deaths, not area destroyed. All I'm asking for is a source that says precisely what you said. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:05, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I am not doing a SYN. The source says air raid, which includes a firestorm. We also have lots of sources that establish the Tokyo raid set off a firestorm. The former source is only used to show it was the biggest one. This is not A+B=C, it's source A says X about subject S, and source B says Y about it, and we say both X and Y about S. Also, there are lots of sources, they are just hard to access online. Crum375 (talk) 20:49, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
And re-reading this source it specifically says that that Tokyo raid set off a firestorm and that it was the most devastating air raid. I am not sure if they mean "conventional" or not, but we ourselves are limiting the comparison to firebombing only. Crum375 (talk) 23:07, 10 January 2008 (UTC)


I'm noting here that we use the USAF document 26 times as a source, more than any other, even though it is clearly a piece of propaganda e.g. it blames the communists, and says that even Americans are being taken in. That doesn't mean its figures are wrong, but I'm surprised we're relying on them with such blind trust. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Actually, now that I think of it, we use it a good deal more than 26 times -- that's just the number of times it has been used with the same ref name, but it's also cited several times as a secondary source along with the primary source it relies on, without the ref name format. So basically much of this article is a direct reflection of it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:16, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
From what I have seen, most other sources out there, on all sides of the spectrum, tend to rely on it, so we are not alone. It is the official USAF historical report, and they are liable for its accuracy. I have not seen any other source that has this amount of clear detail. I am working on getting more information about the individual author. Crum375 (talk) 17:39, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Can you give an example of good (scholarly) sources who rely on it? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:46, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Here are some:
  • Civilians in the Path of War, By Mark Grimsley, Clifford J. Rogers, (Grimsley is Associate Prof. of History at OSU, and Rogers same at USMA) [13]
  • Ultra and the Army Air Forces in World War II, Lewis F. Powell, Diane T. Putney [14]
  • The Last 100 Days, By John Toland (Random House says about the book: "When it was first published, The Last 100 Days made history, revealing after-action reports, staff journals, and top-secret messages and personal documents previously unavailable to historians. Since that time, it has come to be regarded as one of the greatest historical narratives of the twentieth century.") [15]
  • Strategic Bombing by the United States in World War II: The Myths and the Facts, By Stewart Halsey Ross [16]
Working on vetting the authors and getting more. Crum375 (talk) 19:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I didn't ask who cites it -- lots of people cite it because it's a primary source. I was asking which good sources actually rely on it for their figures, as we do. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:42, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You asked who relies on them, and all these sources cite them. If they found them unreliable, you'd think they wouldn't cite them. Also, I have yet to find a single source that disputes any of the USAFHD numbers. They seem to match up very closely with Taylor's numbers, although he doesn't seem to rely on them directly. To get every scholarly source that actually uses their numbers requires more digging, and googling, and unfortunately google-books is not exactly friendly. Crum375 (talk) 21:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
BTW, Davis also cites Angell, on p. 516, footnote 67.[17] Except, he calls him "Charles", and promotes him to "chief historian" (where we have reliable sources he was assistant to the chief historian in 1953). Since Angell's report is not signed, that could explain Davis's confusion, but it's still disconcerting, because Davis seems otherwise reliable. This means we need as many independent reliable sources as we can get. Crum375 (talk) 01:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

13 square miles

Philip, back to this -- I see now that Taylor does say the initial British firebombing destroyed 13 square miles; see p. 7. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:03, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Not in my version :-) Page 8 says "more than twenty-six hundred tons of high explosive and incendiary devices on the targeted city utterly destroying thirteen square miles of its historic center." He goes on to say at lease 25,000 dead ... or suffocated by the effects of the firestorm. But it does not say that the 13 sq miles were destroyed by the firestrom. Further Addison says "In the centre of the city an area of thirteen square miles had been more or less completely destroyed" He does not say completely destroyed in the firestrom. Do you think it likely that there was no damage to the city apart from the area affected by the firestorm? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 20:05, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, he does. He says the 13 square miles were destroyed by the first British raids, and both started a firestorm. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Read the para starting "Not so for Dresden. Overnight, those same aircrew ..." He makes it clear that the 13 square miles was destroyed in the firestorm. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
To be clear there were two British raids and Taylor says they destroyed 13 square miles. He does not say that 13 square miles were destroyed by just the firestorm. For example have a look at page 320-321 the table there shows that 6 Bomber Group the last to bomb dropped 216.8 tons of HE and no incendiaries are you suggesting that they wasted their time and did no damage at all? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 20:29, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I may be missing something so I apologize for my denseness. But I assume there was no practical way to measure the destruction area until after the raids were over, later on Feb. 15. By then there were two British raids and two American ones. As I understand it, it was the first British raid that started the firestorm, and perhaps the second one contributed. But by the time the US raid arrived the next day, I have not seen a single reference saying they caused or rekindled a firestorm. Then the second US raid arrived on the 15th, and again I am not aware of any firestorm. Yet, it is logical that all of them at least contributed somewhat to the destruction, and we have no source saying they didn't. So I would consider all area measurements only meaningful for the full attack, ending on the 15th, unless some reliable source clearly disputes it. Crum375 (talk) 20:44, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Taylor mentions on page 379 that 3/4 of an hour after the USAAF's first raid an RAF mosquito took 108 pictures that confirmed the damage by the USAAF. So presumably the RAF must have taken other pictures before the USAAF raid, but I do not know if Taylor mentions that. The area that they the USAAF damaged appears on a map at the start of Taylor's book to the west of the area destroyed by the RAF and that corresponds to the area in black to the north west of the map that was in the article. BTW the rectangular area on the map is the Grosser Garten (the big park) --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:19, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
So if the photos were taken after the USAAF's 1st raid, on the 14th, it would have included their own damage, presumably, and to the best of my knowledge they did not cause a firestorm (if I am wrong here, please correct me). So even if we know that there were 13 sq. miles destroyed by the 14th, it would not necessarily be all from the firestorm. Crum375 (talk) 21:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, as I understand it, there was a lot of smoke after the first bomb run, obscuring vision and ground detail. So it would be very hard to determine real damage until the smoke cleared, presumably only days later. Crum375 (talk) 21:35, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
My idea was to get this article up to FA status. That isn't going to be possible if people keep adding their own OR and reducing the quality of the writing. What we do on Wikipedia is publish what reliable sources say. We don't speculate as to whether they might be right, in our opinion, or whether they are making Dresden sound as bad as the Holocaust. We simply publish what they publish. Our role is to impose on their information a structure and writing that flows well so that readers will understand it. If that isn't going to be possible, let me know and I'll take the page off my watchlist, because I don't want to have to spend a lot of time improving this, if people are just going to keep on reverting. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:10, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I think getting this to FA will be very hard for various reasons, but I'll skip that aspect for now. Regarding the OR criticism, we have lots of sources, often in conflict, of varying quality and POVs. The only way to make sense out of them and try to reconcile the conflicts is to fully understand them. That is all I am doing, trying to grasp the published facts and assess their consistency and reliability prior to stating them in the article. Regarding the presentation, just relying on published sources does not ensure NPOV — we need to strive for true neutrality and not take sides. Ideally we should use in-text quotes for moral or judgmental issues. Crum375 (talk) 05:35, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
No, don't skip that aspect, because it's what I asked about. You said two days ago that you couldn't be bothered to put in the work to get this to FA. Fair enough. But why is that extending to thwarting anyone else who wants to try?
"We" don't have lots of sources, because so far as I can tell, you don't have any of the books. Again, that's fair enough -- no one can insist that you go to a book store or a library -- but it's then pretty bizarre for you to try to interpret information you haven't even read.
I do have the books, and I wrote out a map of material I was going to add, which I know you and Philip would have been pleased with, if you had just waited a week or so. But I'm not superhuman. I can't add it all in a matter of hours.
Anyway, as I said, let me know whether to take this off my watchlist, because I have no interest in putting a lot of work into something that other people are going to insist remain mediocre. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:43, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
When did I say I can't be bothered to get it to FA? The first time I ever addressed the FA issue is in my message just above, where I said it would be hard. Look, this is clearly a controversial issue. What everyone would (or should) agree on are the facts. Let's focus on those, and leave the moral issues and controversies for later. Let's leave the lead simple — I personally don't see a problem with Taylor's quote there, as it adds a nice touch — we all agree it was a tragedy to lose those lives, though we may disagree on its relative importance compared to the many millions of other lives lost in that war. So let's focus on the facts and write a good article. Crum375 (talk) 05:56, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You told me by e-mail that you couldn't be bothered.
This is Wikipedia at its very worst. You'd actually prefer that an article stay in poor shape, than that someone else improve it, just in case the process of improvement means you might not like it for a few days or weeks while it takes shape. No, instead we have to rely on Wikpedia's finest methods -- online research only; short attention spans; no willingness to go to libraries or book stores; an inability to sit down and actually read about something for a few days, as opposed to a few minutes; and revert, revert, revert anything you don't like or don't understand.
It's doubly ironic given the only reason you're here is because I asked you to look at it. I'm taking this off my watchlist now, so good luck with making sure the article never improves. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 06:04, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

GDR propaganda

GDR propaganda was using Dresden, because Dresden was in GDR, Hamburg wasn't. The only one beautiful city in pre-war Germany was allegedly Dresden. Any other aspect of German history was described as an element of Class struggle. There were books, slides presenting old Dresden.Xx236 (talk) 08:51, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Cite error

In, currently, fn 38. Rich Farmbrough, 12:01 11 January 2008 (GMT).

Nazi camps

  • Ravensbrück
    • Dresden Universelle
  • Flossenbürg
    • Ilke Werke
    • Behelfsheim
    • Bernsdorf
    • Goehle-Werk
    • Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk
    • Reichsbahn
    • SS-Pionier-Kaserne
    • Universelle
    • Reick
  • Sachsenhausen
  • Auschwitz
    • ?
  • Forced workers,[18]

Xx236 (talk) 14:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

IP edits / Taylor's reputation

I reverted IP edits that were strongly against any justification of the bombing, but were written from an advocacy point of view, and that claimed that the Holocaust was used to justify Dresden. All bunk.

However, the IP called Taylor a revisionist historian. It was done nasty, but I do wonder, is there any truth to it? Any debate over Taylor's credentials? Or is he generally highly regarded? Controversial? It's an unpleasant question to ask, but as he is one of the major sources for this article, it has to be answered. Jd2718 (talk) 18:15, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I think that Taylor's interviews with Spiegel "Dresden Bombing Is To Be Regretted Enormously" will set your mind to rest. He certainly doesn't seem to be a revisionist. --Joel Mc (talk) 02:39, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
That interview left me feeling a personal dislike for much of what Taylor says and how he says it, but, no, it is clear he is not a revisionist historian. Thank you for providing the link. Jd2718 (talk) 03:30, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

British/American losses

This page needs some archiving. Anyway, is there anything in the article about U.S. and UK losses duing the raids? I didn't see anything on a quick skim. Rmhermen (talk) 21:16, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Victor Klemperer

Victor Klemperer was to be transported to a KZ, together with 170 other Jews. He wasn't just living in Dresden. Henny Brenner was in the same group and also wrote a book. Xx236 (talk) 09:14, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Grayling interview

The Grayling interview is cited in support of this sentence: Against this, several researchers have argued that Dresden was a cultural landmark of little or no military significance, a "Florence on the Elbe," as it was known, and that the attacks were intended simply to terrorize the German people. - however Grayling makes no such argument in the interview. Don't get me wrong - it was an interesting interview, and I'm glad I read it, but it doesn't belong. It doesn't even really talk about the Dresden bombing except in passing. Dlabtot (talk) 02:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

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