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Apocalypse 1945: The Destruction of Dresden Hardcover – July 20, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Point Publications; 2nd edition (July 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1872197183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1872197180
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"David Irving attracts credibility and attention by his indefatigable energy, intelligence, and resourcefulness." --Tom Bower, Daily Mail, March 27, 1996

"There can be few operations of war as causeless, as purposeless, and as brutal as the attack on Dresden on the attack of February 13, 1945. In "The Destruction of Dresden," Mr. David Irving has analyzed, in an objective manner, the causes and result of this gratuitous act. As Air Marshal Sir Robert Saundby comments in his foreword, the bombing of Dresden was "a great tragedy," the purposes of which are "difficult to determine." He agrees that Mr. Irving "tells dispassionately and honestly" the story of a deeply tragic example, in time of war, of man's inhumanity to man." We should be grateful to the author for having devoted long study to this question and for having provided us with as accurate an account of what acttually happened as we are likely to obtain. It was, in fact, an operation unworthy of our history. Nobody could contend that Dresden was a legitimate strategic target; nobody could contend that this terror raid shortened the war or satisfied our Russian allies. I am not surprised that most Englishmen should strive to forget about Dresden." --Sir Harold Nicholson, The Observer

"In devoting a book to this one violent moment of the war, with its antecedents and something of its aftermath, Mr. David Irving has rendered the British people a great service. They have to know. The Dresden event is a part of British (as well as of German, and European, and human) history. It is a piece of a mosaic that makes up the British character and a brushstroke, out of many, in the image that Britain presents to foreign peoples - an image the British are at best imperfectly aware of, and that has consequences which they often find it difficult to understand. Dresden also has lessons necessary to an understanding of the nature of war. What is necessary is to know what happened and to understand how it came to happen. And the only way is to read Mr. Irving's excellent and terrible book. --The Economist

About the Author

David Irving is the son of a Royal Navy Commander. Educated at Imperial College of Science and Technology, and at University College, London, he subsequenly spent a year in Germany working in a steel mill and perfecting his fluency in the language. Among his 30 books, the best known include "Hitler's War;" "The Trail of the Fox: The Life of Field Marshall Rommel;" "Accident: The Death of General Sikorski;" "The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe;" "Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich;" and "Goering: A Biography." He has translated works by several authors. He lives in London, England, and is the father of five daughters.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Devil's Advocate on June 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Given the hype surrounding David Irving these days it's easy to forget that he forged his previously lauded reputation as a historian as far back as 1963.
The book was "Apocalypse 1945:The Destruction of Dresden" and it certainly stands the test of time.
Having read Frederic Taylor's impressive but justificatory "Dresden 1945" I found Irving's book more objective and to be frank, more humane.
Whether one tries to ease one's conscious by playing with casualty figures or finding imaginary "real" targets, the attack on Dresden was simply indefensible and criminal.
Irving throughout this magnificent read had no agenda other than to highlight the sheer horror of what had transpired and to finally bring the atrocity to the world's attention.
It's the finer details in the book that allow one to visualise the aftermath of the aerial massacre: a llama running through the streets, vultures and lions feeding on the bodies (the zoo was destroyed), bodies stuck to the asphalt in a final embrace, basements with children mummified in pools of boiled wine, the trains packed with refugees at the platform as the mass of incendiaries crash down through the station roof...etc.
Surprisingly Mr Irving comes to the defence of Arthur "Bomber" Harris portraying him as a loyal servant conveniently scapegoated by Churchill who wanted a "Dresden" to impress the Soviets.
It is Irving's willingness to say the unsayable, to give voice to the silent villified victims, to see the war from the other side, that has brought me back time and again to his books.
Noone else can match him when it comes to bearing the unpalatable truths of war.
All other WW2 writers, without exception, excuse the behaviour of the victors and condemn the vanquished as a matter of course.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Dimitrios on September 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The first part of this book (around 60 pages) is about the general stage of the war in the air during World War II, explaining the way that RAF Bomber Command introduced the doctrine of "area bombing". There is a comprehensive description of previous terrible raids like those of Hamburg, Wuppertal and others before Irving moves into the main theme. No aspect of that great raid is left out of his analysis and the text balances finely between the human drama and the operational analysis. I found very interesting Irving's explanations for Lufwtaffe's inaction during the destruction of Dresden, as well as the heroism of common people and the terrific organisational skills of the German state regarding the firefighting methods and the care of the victims.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on February 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is mostly a reprint of Irving's classic 1963 THE DESTRUCTION OF DRESDEN. There is, however, an introductory paragraph which introduces the reader to the reaction after the 1963 book. Casualty figures are also explained and amended, including with information that has come to light since 1963. Irving, in this work, supports a figure of between 60,000 and 100,000 as the most probable death toll caused by the February 13-14, 1945 raids. He notes that official casualty figures of about 35,000 ignore large areas where the human remains were not removed from the bulldozed, paved-over ruins, nor those bodies incinerated without a trace.

The attack on Dresden consisted of three parts: The first two were by the British RAF, at night, and directed at the center of the city. The third part of the triple blow, by the United States Army Air Force, occurred during the following day, and was devoted to the industrial part of the city. Owing to the fact that the American attack was scattered and therefore unsuccessful, while the British attacks all too successful, the attack on Dresden thereby went down in history as one where the civilian-cultural center was destroyed and the industrial part was "spared".

Irving gives details about the firestorm, which he believes was more powerful than the one at Hamburg in 1943. Hurricane-force winds tore trees out by the roots, and overturned railroad cars. In the areas hardest hit by the firestorm, almost everything combustible was consumed. However, most of the victims perished not from heat but from carbon monoxide, as is the case with most peacetime fires.

Extensive details are given about the disposal of corpses. Thousands were taken out of the city and buried in individual and mass graves.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Only-A-Child VINE VOICE on January 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There are several interesting bits of irony concerning David Irving's "The Destruction of Dresden" (1963). It was written well before the topic became mainstream, thanks largely to Irving's recent libel suit against a woman, who accused him of being a Holocaust denier and introduced the alleged inaccuracies in this book as part of her defense. Since then both Marshall De Bruhl and Frederick Taylor have published their own books on the subject; and ironically it is Irving's account of the February 1945 bombing raids that provides the most objective treatment.

De Bruhl and Taylor mostly seek to justify the bombings and introduce all sorts of irrelevancy that they think might support their position. Back in 1963 Irving showed little of his current pro-3rd Reich and anti-British bias. So "The Destruction of Dresden" is mostly confined to essential points about the raids.

The single most important point being that Dresden's anti-aircraft batteries had been withdrawn from the city in 1944. It was a cultural/historical center and still a virgin target (the Allies had never considered it important enough militarily to bomb). And these weapons were needed to provide air defense to their industrial cities and as anti-tank weapons on the Eastern Front. Indeed both the target marking crews and bomber crews were amazed at the unprecedented ease of their bomb runs as they encountered neither flak nor enemy fighters while over the city. The lack of defenses would foster the myth that Dresden had been declared an "open city".

Irving makes the case that the raids resulted from the British desire to placate the Russians, who were only 80 miles from the city at the time while also impressing them with the damage inflicting potential of tangling with British and US airpower.
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