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Democracy's Blameless LeadersFrom Dresden to Abu Ghraib, How Leaders Evade Accountability for Abuse, Atrocity, and Killing$
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Neil James Mitchell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814761441

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814761441.001.0001

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(p.67) 5 Dresden
Democracy's Blameless Leaders

Neil James Mitchell

NYU Press

This chapter examines the mass killing in Dresden. On the night of February 13, 1945, the incendiary and other bombs dropped from about eight hundred Lancaster and Halifax bombers of the Royal Air Force (RAF) created an inferno. The night bombing by RAF Bomber Command did most of the damage, according to the official history. In contrast to the massacre at Amritsar, the slaughter of civilians in Dresden and the destruction of urban and residential Germany was government policy. Dresden is a case where one of the most immovable of political leaders, namely Winston Churchill, encountered a potentially resistible force. He was immovable in May 1940, and, as he had demonstrated in the management of the Amritsar massacre, he understood the current moral issue.

Keywords:   Dresden, Royal Air Force, Halifax bombers, Winston Churchill, Amritsar

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