On This Day: Dresden bombings reduce city to ruins

Chris Parsons
British Pathé

February 13, 1945: Allied forces firebombed the German city of Dresden, leaving it 'smashed to atoms'.

The city known as the 'Florence of the Elbe' was reduced to rubble and flames overnight, as 135,000 people were killed in the single most destructive bombing of the war, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The bombing is regarded as all the more horrendous as the Germans were already on the verge of surrendering when it took place.

More than 3,400 tons of explosive were dropped on the city by 800 American and British aircraft.

Eight square miles of Dresden was ruined and the firestorm saw it burn for two days.

The Pathe video above chronicles the devastating bombing, commenting: "After these attacks, the German overseas news agency said, 'This city, hitherto almost untouched, has been carpeted by heavy incendiary explosives.

"'Dresden is a heap of ruins. It has been smashed to atoms'."

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