Anniversary of Allied bombing of Dresden continues to cause controversy

On the 70th anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is standing by the RAF heroes who took part in the raid, amid continuing controversy.

The bombing of Dresden is controversial to this day, since more than 25,000 German civilians are said to have been killed in the raid. In addition, the raid took place towards the end of World War Two, when Dresden was not seen as a huge threat to the Allied and Soviet advance on Germany.

Even Winston Churchill questioned the ferocity of the raid.

Meanwhile, others say that Dresden was a key city to be targeted, since it was a transport hub in the east, from where German troops were being sent to the Eastern Front to fight the Soviet advance. Dresden was also the site of many German war munitions and equipment factories.

On the 70th anniversary, church services in Dresden were attended by the UK’s Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who shared his regret and sorrow at the bombings.

Now David Cameron has come out in response to those comments, by defending the actions of British Bomber Command during World War Two, and all of the airmen and troops who fought and sacrificed their lives.

The Prime Minister has praised the bomber pilots, who he says saved Britain and Europe from the Nazi regime.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has subsequently released an apology for demeaning any role that British servicemen played during the war.

A new memorial was built in 2013 to honour all those who fought and lost their lives for the RAF’s Bomber Command. The memorial features more than 55,000 names engraved in a huge stone plaque at one end of Green Park in central London, The Telegraph reports.

The Most Reverend Welby’s comments caused criticism across the board and especially from Cameron’s Conservative Members of Parliament, who said his comments were insulting to all of those men who had risked their lives so that future generations could have freedom.  They also could not understand how the Archbishop could apologise for the defeat of Hitler.

Mr Cameron has also reinforced his opinion that Bomber Command was vital in the Allied victory during World War Two. He said that he is proud to ensure all the veterans from Bomber Command continue to be recognised.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE