Dresden: The Fire and the Darkness
75 years ago this week Dresden, in Saxony, known as the ‘jewel box’ because of its stunning architecture was obliterated by British and American bombers. The flames reached almost a mile high. Around 25,000 people were thought to have been killed. The novelist Kurt Vonnegut was there. It was he who wrote that the smouldering landscape was like walking on the surface of the moon. Even in the immediate aftermath it was controversial. Churchill instantly appeared to regret it. The Nazi government dramatically inflated the death toll to cast themselves as much the victims of monstrous violence as the Jews, Slavs, Poles, Romany and other groups they had murdered on an industrial scale. Dan talks to Sinclair McKay about his new book about Dresden. They met in Coventry. A city also infamous for destruction from above during the Second World War. Today the two cities are twinned, united by the shock of firestorms delivered from above. Was it a war crime? Was it necessary? Why did it happen? Dan asks Sinclair about one of the Second World War's most controversial moments.