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Teaching the Dresden Bombing

Discussion in 'History' started by elskeffington, May 13, 2007.

  1. I have been looking for some worksheets/activities on how to teach the Dresden bombing with its facts and controversies but with little success. I don't really mind teachng from the book if I have to, but I would welcome any other additions.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. I have been looking for some worksheets/activities on how to teach the Dresden bombing with its facts and controversies but with little success. I don't really mind teachng from the book if I have to, but I would welcome any other additions.

    Any suggestions?
     
  3. If you are going to teach this, I hope it is not with the aim of putting the validity of the entire bomber offensive against Germany into question.

    In fact, if you are going to teach British children anything about the Allied bomber offensive at all, I would hope that, first and foremost, you would encourage them to remember the sacrifices of the large numbers of young British and US aircrew who died in the long battle to hammer Nazi Germany into submission.

    For example, for any given 100 aircrew in British Bomber Command, 1939-1945, the statistical breakdown was:

    51 Killed on operations
    9 Killed in crashes in England
    3 Seriously injured
    12 Prisoner of War
    1 Evaded capture
    24 Survived unharmed

    Please, please make sure your efforts don't dishonour the memory of these brave young men who did so much to preserve the freedoms that we now enjoy.
     
  4. I would never do anything to even remotely minimize or undermine the efforts of the Allies. In the case of the Dresden bombing, I intend to give them as complete a picture as it is possible to give, which is why I asked for additional resources.
     
  5. Sorry elskeffington.. thjere isn't anything commercialy available that approaches a balanced view on this topic. If you want to do it properly then you are going to have to do it yourself. A good start would be Max Hastings' Bomber Command and Frderick Taylor's Dresden. Good luck.
     
  6. Perhaps, rather than focusing on Dresden, you might consider broadening the enquiry to study the arguments for and against the effectiveness of the bomber offensive as a whole.

    There's a good, short summary in the article on Bomber Command at wikipedia under 'balance sheet' - a good place to start:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Bomber_Command
     
  7. Hereward - there is an excellent, commercially available book that gives a number of different accounts of Dresden in terms of the town's military and strategic significance, the methods of bomber command, the rationale behind those methods, what surviving a firestorm is like, how casualties were measured (which can lead into a short piece on the nature of evidence) and how the bombing was reported, as well as what Dresden did to get itself back on track after the war.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Firestorm-Bombing-Dresden-Paul-Ad...

    And Truronian, why on Earth would a set of lessons on Dresden automatically be about diminishing the RAF? Yes, it was the closest thing that Britain has to a war crime, but there are lots of different ways to approach the topic. I would probably go at it from the practicality point of view "How did bombing raids work? What were they like to live through? Why did Dresden suffer so badly?"
     
  8. 'why on Earth would a set of lessons on Dresden automatically be about diminishing the RAF?'

    In the same way that a single lesson abaout 'Swing Youth' or the 'Edelweiss Pirates' in Nazi Germany would totally misrepresent the issue of Youth and its attitudes to the Nazi regime.

    Teachers must always be careful not to leave a skewed view of the past in impressionable people's minds, and the sacrifice of the thousands of brave young men of Bomber Command is too important for this to happen here.
     
  9. I don't sense a great deal of trust in the impartiality of history teachers in you, Truronian.

    Furthermore, the ideas of Dresden a horrible experience and the Bomber Command and RAF being brave boys are not mutually exclusive.
     
  10. 1. "I don't sense a great deal of trust in the impartiality of history teachers in you, Truronian."

    Correct. Especially with this kind of emotive issue. I have seen too often how some History teachers want to teach Joan of Arc, but not Agincourt; or child labour and slavery, but not the benefits of the Industrial Revolution or Imperialism; or the slaughter on the first day of the Somme, but not the reasons why Britain went to war or the way the BEF won it in 1918.

    2. "Furthermore, the ideas of Dresden a horrible experience and the Bomber Command and RAF being brave boys are not mutually exclusive."

    Agreed. So do both. And if you can't do both, do the first. And if you can't do the first, don't do the second, because if you do, you leave children with a skewed view of the past - a situation with which (as I said previously) I suspect a minority of History teachers would be perfectly happy.
     
  11. By the 'first', I mean of course the aims, achievements and costs of the Allied bomber offensive as a whole.

    By the 'second', I mean of course the issue of the 2 days' worth of ops against Dresden - 2 days out of nearly five years of war.

    If you want a brief article on Dresden, see:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden_bombing
     
  12. I'll be fine without the wiki article thanks; I've read Addison's book. I recommend it to you (and, indeed to everybody)
     
  13. Thanks for the suggestion paladinstand......
     
  14. Isnt the whole exercise in teaching history an exercise in objectivity and overcoming bias which you seemingly suffer with. Is the death of innocent civilians in Germany any less significant than those in London or Coventry.
    One of the first golden rules in teaching history is to be aware and clear that 'Winners write it' so consequently it is a matter of course for the would be winner, no matter what conflict, or moral grounds to heap full responsibilty of blame on the losing party. I'm not defending Nazi policy by any means but like any conflict in the world including Vietnam and Later Iraq and Libya. It is to easy and lazy to teach as 'Goodies and Baddies'
    My personal Views are that bomber Harris was a war criminal but I present the facts and arguements allow free debate and let the children decide. Perhaps you should do the same.
     

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