Monday, February 16, 2015

Dresden Bombing and a Sudden Discovery

I started February 15 with watching a documentary on the ill-famed bombing of Dresden, that happened 70 years ago, on February 13 to 15, 1945. Whatever they write, for me and many of my compatriots it seems that there was no direct warfare necessity in that bombing; hundreds of the RAF and USAAF heavy bombers destroyed the city by a skillfully created firestorm as a sign to Stalin showing the might of the UK and the USA joint forces. Wise guys from the West foresaw the coming cold war and prepared to it.

Anyhow, here is the film I found in a publication of The Vineyard of the Saker.

I have to note that I disagree with many statements that sound in the film. The official figure of the killed during the bombings confirmed by the German authorities in 2005 is from 22,700 up to 25,000; this is an unimaginably huge quantity of dead people and a great tragedy, but in fact it is way less than the deathcount of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuke bombings in August that year. And it is about two times less than the number of lives taken away by the firestorm the Luftwaffe arranged in Stalingrad on August 23, 1942, mostly civilians, including refugees fleeing from the advancing German, Italian and Romanian troops (situation close to that 2.5 years later in Dresden, when the wheel of history turned in the opposite direction).

Some consider the death toll of that Stalingrad bombing at the level of 90,000 — though it seems to be an exaggerration; just like when they say about 100,000 or even 200,000 burned in Dresden.

To finish with this:

I strongly believe the lessons of history are to be learned as is. They do not need to be exaggerated. Neither should they be underestimated. Any repetition of those lessons takes its price. Unfortunately, in the most cases the price is counted in human lives.

And the second statement from my part. This is Germany that started the WW2 in 1939. Were Hitler not to unleash the war — there would be no necessity to restore Dresden. Nor Stalingrad, nor Coventry, nor countless thousands of other cities, towns and villages perished in the merciless flame of the war. And, most important, there would be no necessity to bury dozens millions of people.

* * *

And now — about quite a special side effect this film produced on me.

In fact, it was like a bomb explosion, I almost fell off my chair ahving seen the archive footage at 3:44 and 4 seconds more. I did some investigation and found more footage of the event in the documentary of PBS, "American Experience — The Bombing of Germany".

Evidently, this is some airforce event, arranged by the RAF I suppose. Speaking is the legendary commander of the Mighy Eighth, General-Lieutenant (at the time) Jimmy Doolittle.

The Soviet officer standing left — is my granddad Timofey T. Samarin. My very same granddad to whom I devoted a publication with wonderful Gjon Mili's photographs two months ago. He served in London from 1943 to 1949 as an airforce assistant to the military attaché and ambassador of the USSR to the UK, and took part in many official and military events.

He died in 1980. None of my family has ever known he was captured in any video (or, to be exact, cine) archive.

And now I have about 20 seconds of my beloved granddad: alive and serving his great country.

Miracles happen.

This time — many thanks to you Saker for that.

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