Fire and Fury – the Allied Bombing of Germany and Japan: and Dresden - the Fire and the Darkness

Book reviews: Randall Hansen and Sinclair McKay detail the personal stories and historical horrors of ‘area’ bombing

Bodies in the street after the Allied fire bombing of Dresden, Germany, in  February 1945. Photograph: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Bodies in the street after the Allied fire bombing of Dresden, Germany, in February 1945. Photograph: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Hitler saw the war he unleashed as a total struggle between peoples. He envisaged German colonists replacing “inferior” populations over vast swathes of eastern Europe. In this competition for resources the displaced would have to starve. His “hunger plan” failed, but the war killed tens of millions anyway. The Japanese treatment of civilians resulted in the deaths of over 17 million people, mostly in China.

German and Japanese civilians were not spared the logic of total war either. Some 400,000 German and 300,000 Japanese civilians died as a result of Allied bombing. Most of these fatalities occurred as a result of a deliberate policy of targeting cities.

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