Oh, there was indeed a reasom to Firebomb Dresden. To impress Stalin.
The War was wrapping up, the Nazis were on the run, and the Yalta Conference was coming up. The Allies had yet to determine how Europe would be "divvied up" between the Allies on the West and the Soviet Union on the East. Churchill wanted to show that Great Britain was not to be messed with. Plus, they had a new technology employing Phosphorus in bombs that they wanted to try out. Dresden, with no Air Defence was a splendid target for the test run. Dresden had been designated an "Open City", off limits to Military Actions. At the time it was known for it's Baroque Architecture, it was called "The Florence of the North". It was a center for Art and Culture. The only "military personnel" there was a bunch of boys too young to shave looking after the POW's. Also, as an "Open City" Dresden had attracted a lot of Displaced People, citizens who had lost everything during the War. The population had swelled to around 1.2 million people.
On the evening of February 13, "Shrove Tuesday", whatever that is, people went to sleep after partying in the streets. At 10:30 PM the first wave of bombs came. It was very short, something like 24 minutes duration, a "Wake Up Call" if you will. At 1:30 AM the second wave came. This was when the new bombs were unleashed. Churchill and Roosevelt, those two "Great Democratic Statesmen" really wanted to make a statement. And boy, did they ever. The statement was, "Give us an unprotected target, and we'll show you what we can do." They dropped 600,000 bombs on Dresden, an old Saxon town, by the way. That's 1 bomb for every 2 citizens. Nothing like good old Allied efficiency. The POW's were lucky enough to have been ensconced in concrete Meat Lockers underground. Young Kurt Vonnegut was huddled with other POW's in "Slaughterhouse 5". The survivors later descibed the Firestorm as sounding like a "Thunderous Waterfall". Others called the sound as being like like that of a huge tornado. I guess it depends on where in the States the kids came from.
But the REAL "Genius" of the attack came after dawn the next day. Vonnegut and the rest of his group was called up to help with the clean-up. He recalled seeing pools of Human Oil, thick white fluid that was all that was left of some victims. Then, at around 10:30 AM, the 3rd wave came in. This time the Bombers were escorted by P-51 Mustang Fighters, the finest of America's flying fighting machines. As surviving victims were fleeing the city, Rescue Vehicles were trying to enter. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. The Mustangs made strafing runs taking out anything that moved. Imagine those columns of refugees and Ambulances being wiped out by America's Finest. what a glorious day for the Allies. As an added bonus, they discovered a large group of old men, women and children huddled down along the banks of the Elbe River, where they had hidden underwater the night before. The machine guns mounted on the Mustangs took them, about 20,000 people, a lot of them injured, out in less than 10 minutes. The attack on Dresden was called a "complete success" by both Rooseveldt and Churchill. In all some 500,000 citizens were killed. That's more than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. There was a backlash, though. My Uncle George was a Tail Gunner on B-17's. He was in on numerous Bombing Raids on Ploesti when he was stationed in Italy. They were getting shot at, he had a piece of shrapnel in his left foot for the rest of his life. You should see some of his photographs from the War, he took his camera with him on every mission. He even met Clark Gable. He was stationed at an Air base in Southern England in 1945 when Dresden was bombed. He said that was the worst part of the war, for him, was the Dresden crews coming back smiling and laughing, and the guys like him trying to kill them for wiping out civilians. There were riots on the Base.
Later on, England tried to justify the attack on Dresden, a city known throughout the World for her fine china, as compensating for the Luftwaffe bombing Coventry. Coventry lost 400 citizens and was home to a large munitions factory. Dresden lost 500,000 civilians and was famous for making some of the World's finest china, but why quibble over minutiae?
Even after living through Dresden, Vonnegut was able to maintain his sense of humor and write about the "absurdities" of War.