Neo-Nazis and leftist demonstrators have squared off in Dresden, German.  Police efforts to quell the disturbance have been challenging as rioters break up property, automobiles, and battle each other to mark the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden by the UK and United States.

Dresden was the target of massive firebombing.  Approximately 1300 UK and USA bombers dropped nearly 4,000 tons of incendiary bombs and other explosives on the city between February 13 and 15, 1945.  The city was decimated and historians estimate that between 24,000 and 40,000 people lost their lives.  Previous estimates went as high as 200,000. 

The bombing of Dresden has always been controversial because of the incendiary devices used and because of the city supposedly was of little military importance.  Critics have described the bombing of Dresden as war on a civilian population.  The war ended in Europe May 8, 1945.  Today, Neo-Nazis charge that the bombing of Dresden was akin to the Holocaust. 

According to Al Jazeera News:

Clashes broke out on Saturday in the centre of the city where about 5,000 neo-Nazi protesters faced off with an estimated 10,000 leftist demonstrators.

The leftist supporters had gathered across the Elbe river, joining hands to create a human chain to try and prevent the neo-Nazis from staging a march.

More than 4,000 German police officers were deployed to prevent clashes between the two groups, but Natalie Steger, a correspondent for Germany’s ZDF Channel, told Al Jazeera that security officials had difficulty keeping the order. 

“The police really have a hard time because they’re trying to separate these two groups – the neo-Nazis, which want to march and the left-wing people.”

Scuffles also broke out between police and protesters from both sides, with several barricades set on fire and some minor injuries reported.

‘Bombing Holocaust’

The February 13 anniversary of the bombing of Dresden has become a focus for neo-Nazi groups in the past few years. Some far-right politicians have also sparked controversy by describing the raids as a “bombing Holocaust”.

But Helma Orosz, the mayor of Dresden, said the city does not want the neo-Nazis there, the Associated Press news agency reported.  This gang doesn’t belong here,” she said, following a legal attempt to stop the neo-Nazi march failed.

 The human chain helped “make Dresden a fortress against intolerance and stupidity, and the anniversary provided a reminder of who started the war”, Orosz said.

The Dresden air raids are considered one of the most controversial attacks by Allied forces during World War II.

More than 30sq km of the historic city was destroyed in heavy bombing by US and British forces.



It is difficult to assess  Dresden, some 65 years later. Bombing a civilian population seems uncivilized. However, most of WWII seems uncivilized. Does it take a firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo to end the insanity? Regardless, in light of the real Holocaust, the Neo-Nazis really need to stop whining and behave. Some jail time for the rioters might be just the attitude adjustment they need.  Most of us rarely have sympathy with rioters.




The irony of the two videos is striking.    Gathering material for this post became very problematic.  I had difficulty finding any current video of the situation that could be embedded.  That is unusual.  Secondly, the number of people killed in Dresden in 1945 varied a tremendous about–from approximately 20,000 to 250,000.  That variance seems extreme.  Additionally, many articles were peppered with opinion as news.  Many news stations seemed as critical of the United States and Great Britain as they were of the Germans.  The most neutral account I found was, oddly enough, Al Jazeera News.  Go figure.  The United States News sources had very little written on this story. 

The lack of information almost becomes the story here.  Was America wrong to firebomb Dresden and Tokyo?  Can we fairly evalate the war strategy from that long ago?  Do the Neo Nazis have any right to call the bombing of Dresden a Holocaust?

7 Thoughts to “Dresden Riots Mark 65th Anniversary of Bombing”

  1. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Well, in my humble opinion, the whole war was a holocaust (following the definition of the word), but I’m guessing everyone would say I’m trivializing that part that involved the Jews, and that’s not a Politically Correct fight I don’t feel like fighting. So technically, yes, I think the firebombing of Dresden was a holocaust (massive loss of human life), but in context, the whole darn thing was a holocaust. War isn’t supposed to be a picnic. The worse it hurts, the less likely people are to engage in it (not that THAT works all the time). My question to the neo-nazis is: What did the Germans EXPECT? A huge pizza party at Chuck E. Cheese?

  2. In the immortal words of Bobby Lee….

    It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it.

    If it were any group complaining OTHER than the damn Neo-Nazis I might feel there could be discussion. Bombing a city full of civilians is always open to serious criticim, not matter how ruthless the other side is. Somehow, as Americans, we should rise above it. But the Neos should just shut up. They have nothing of value to say and lest they forget who started the entire war……

  3. Wolverine

    I’ve always been interested in Dresden and Saxony in general because many of Mrs. Wolverine’s ancestors came from that area, and we suspect that some of her relatives may have died during those terrible days in 1945. The ironic thing is that many of her other ancestors were English from ancient Mercia, descendants of those Saxons, Angles, and Jutes who took Britain away from the Britons. So, it has always looked to us in a certain way that this event — indeed, much of the war in Western Europe — was in a sense a vicious fight between people of similar blood. Even in America that was partly true. Mrs. Wolverine’s family still mourns that young lieutenant of infantry who died in Alsace at the hands of the German troops only sixty miles or so from the land in which his own revered grandfather had once been an officer in the Prussian cavalry.

    One of the things which I have heard frequently was that, especially for the English, battered and decimated by over six years of terrible warfare, Dresden was a sort of payback for the deadly bombs and rockets which rained down on English cities all those years and especially for the needless destruction of the great medieval city of Coventry. I do not know if this is actually true; but, having read extensively about the destruction of so many parts of London and other cities, I would not be surprised. I have also heard the opposite opinion –that destroying Dresden was thought to be a way to cause the remaining Germans to stop fighting and thereby end the agonizing loss of life on both sides. But out of this one thing has always been clear. War like this not only takes your life but it also damages your soul. The soldiers, airmen, and sailors who do the actually fighting know this better than anyone. So do the survivors of those who died in cities and towns all over Europe. As for these contemporary neo-Nazis, I can only say: “Shut the Hell up! It was your kind who started that ungodly mess in the first place!”

  4. Opinion

    Personally, I think Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House-Five is probably the best anti-war book ever published. As I’m sure you all know, he survived the Dresden Firebombings while a POW and was forced to help with the “clean-up”. If you haven’t read this book lately, now might be a good time.

  5. Actually, I have never read it. Thanks Opinion.

  6. AndyH

    I’m not going to characterize the Dresden bombing out of the context of an entire world at war. However, I would argue that there is still some amount of “news” that is opinion and as things heat up, the percentage increases.

  7. I think people will continue to analyze the type bombing done towards the end of the war in Dresden and Tokyo, especially when the topic of the atom bomb comes up. i believe I heard it most of my life. I try to make it a habit not to judge things too far out of my own time frame. Things change.

    As for the neo-Nazis…they certainly have a nerve. Good for those who are standing up to them. Would that they had done that 75-80 years ago. Millions of lives would have been saved.

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