With Western Europe now at the heart of a united continent it is ever more difficult to explain how only 70 years ago European states destroyed much of the urban landscape from the air. There were many blitzes between 1940 and 1945 with an estimated 700,000 people killed. The purpose of this book is to provide the basis for a comparison of the experience of western states under the impact of bombing. In particular it considers the political, cultural and social responses to bombing rather than the military, strategic and social dimensions which have formed the core of the discussion hitherto. This book will correct the popular perception of the British Blitz as the key bombing experience by exposing the reality of life under the bombs for communities as far apart as Brest, Palermo and Rostock. An international panel of historians consider the issues raised amidst the bombing of human rights and protection of civilians in this seminal event in twentieth century history.

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