Millions lost their lives in World War II because of air strikes, and entire cities were almost completely destroyed.
More than 70 million people were killed in World War II. Let’s take a look at some of the most devastating air strikes that took place during War World II.
Osaka ( march – august 1945 ) – more than 10,000 victims
Important urban centers in Japan were the target of some strategic air strikes before Hiroshima and Nagasaki were decimated by the atomic bomb. Osaka was hit by air strikes in march, june, july and august of 1945. The air strike that took place on march 13, 1945 was the most intense and destructive. The city was bombed by 274 B-29 fighter planes from the United States, killing 4,000 people.
Kassel ( february 1942 – march 1945 ) more than 10.000 victims
The city of Kassel in western Germany was the target of a prolonged air strike campaign between 1942 – 1945, especially military and industrial areas of the city. One of the most devastating air strike the city had endured took place on October 22, 1945. The United Kingdom Royal Air Force launched 569 bombs on the city, and this has caused huge fires in the city killing more than 10,000 people.
Darmstadt ( september 1943 – february 1944 ) more than 12,300 victims
The German city of Darmstadt, south west of Germany, was the target of many air strikes between 1943 – 1944. The most devastating air strike took place on September 11, 1944, and it was lead by the British air forces. The city was devastated by a fleet of 226 Lancaster bombers and 14 Mosquitoes. The attack focused on the downtown area of the city where buildings were made out of wood. Almost all of them burned and it is estimated that 12,300 people lost their lives.
Pforzheim ( april 1944 – march 1945 ) more than 21.200 victims
Pforzheim, a city in south western Germany, was bombed multiple times between 1944 – 1945. The main air strike took place in February 23, 1945, the day when 379 British fighter planes bombed the city. In 22 minutes more than 80% of the urban surface of the city was destroyed, killing 17,600 people and wounding a few thousands.
Swinoujscie( march 12, 1945 ) – between 5000 – 23.000 victims
The Polish city and port Swinoujscie suffered air strikes from the United States Air Force on March 12. The city, which was then lead by German forces, was seriously bombed. It is estimated that between 5000 – 23.000 people lost their lives in this extremely destructive air strike. It is very hard to say which is the exact number of victims because most of Eastern Europe was in total chaos while the war was reaching the end.
London ( september 1940 – may 1941 ) more than 20,000 victims
London, the capital of the United Kingdom was under attack by the German air forces. The air strikes lasted for 76 consecutive nights and it was responsible for the death of 20,000 people. It is estimated that more than one million homes were deteriorated or devastated during the air strikes, the biggest damage being done in the poorer areas of the city.
Berlin ( 1940 – 1945 ) between 20.000 – 50.000 victims
The capital of Germany was the target of more than 360 air strikes between 1940 – 1945, air strikes lead by British, American and Russian air forces. Between 20.000 and 50.000 people lost their lives in Berlin because of these air strikes.
Dresda ( october 1944 – april 1945 ) at least 25.000 victims
Dresda, the seventh biggest city in Germany during the World War II and a very important industrial center was the target of one of the biggest air strike campaigns. Between February 13 – February 15 1945, 1,300 fighter planes released more than 3900 tons of explosives and bombs on the city. A surface of 5 square km’s of the city was completely destroyed. The German media reported that 200,000 people were killed but later estimates concluded that 25,000 people lost their lives.
Hamburg ( september 1939 – april 1945 ) – 42,600 victims
The city of Hamburg was one of the main targets by air strikes from Allied forces because the city was an important industrial center and port. The most devastated air strike lead by U.S. and British air forces took place in July of 1943, which is also known as “Operation Gomora”. Approximately 3000 fighter planes carrying 9000 tons of explosives took part of this air strike that killed 42,600 people and injured approximately 37.000. Almost one million civilians left the city at that time.
Tokyo ( noivember 1944 – august 1945 ) more than 100,000 victims
Tokyo was one of the most important targets of the United States Air Force and the most destructive air strike took place on March 9, 1945, an air strike that is known as Operation Meetinghouse. Almost 1700 bombs were deployed on the city, destroying 286.358 buildings, mostly built out of wood. More than 100,000 people were killed, most of them suffering fatal wounds because of fires.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
By the end of the World War II, the United States of America detonated two nuclear bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The two nuclear bombs killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of them being civilians.