The Bombing of Berlin: Background information when reading City of Women

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City of Women

A Novel

by David R. Gillham

City of Women
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2012, 400 pages
    May 2013, 448 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Beyond the Book:
The Bombing of Berlin

Berlin, Germany's capital city, was home to more than four million citizens at the start of WWII.

Between 1940 and 1945, the city was the target of 363 air raids, with an estimated 20,000 civilians killed during the period. The most significant and organized series of raids occurred from November 1943 to March 1944.

Sir Arthur Harris The controversial mission was led by Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, the Commander-in-Chief of Britain's Bomber Command, the branch of the Royal Air Force (RAF) that controlled Britain's bomber forces. Harris felt that a concerted air attack against the German capital would break the morale of its citizens and cause Germany to capitulate. "It will cost us between 400 and 500 aircraft," he is reported to have said, "but it will cost Germany the war."

The first concerted attack occurred on the night of November 18-19, 1943, when Britain launched 440 Lancaster aircrafts to bomb Berlin. It was cloudy, however, so what bombing occurred happened blindly, and Bomber Command...

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