The bombing of Dresden was a British/American aerial bombing attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, that took place during the Second World War in the European Theatre. In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The bombing and the resulting firestorm destroyed over 1,600 acres of the city centre. An estimated 22,700 to 25,000 people were killed, although larger casualty figures have been claimed over the years. Three more USAAF air raids followed, two occurring on 2 March aimed at the city's railroad marshaling yard and one smaller raid on 17 April aimed at industrial areas.
Immediate German propaganda claims following the attacks and post-war discussions on whether the attacks were justified has led to the bombing becoming one of the moral causes célèbres of the war. A 1953 United States Air Force report defended the operation as the justified bombing of a strategic target, which they noted was a major rail transport and communication centre, housing 110 factories and 50,000 workers in support of the German war effort. Several researchers have asserted that not all of the communications infrastructure, such as the bridges, were targeted, nor were the extensive industrial areas outside the city centre. Critics of the bombing have claimed that Dresden was a cultural landmark of little or no strategic significance, and that the attacks were indiscriminate area bombing and not proportionate to the military gains. The bombing has been referred to by some in the German far-right as a war crime.
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