Luftkriegsarchiv Köln

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Air warfare over Cologne, a sensitive topic. After all, Cologne was heavily destroyed in 262 bombing raids by Allied bomber units, over 20,000 people were killed and more than 40,000 injured.

On 15 February 1940, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had rejected air raids against German cities.  "However far others may go, His Majesty's Government will never deliberately attack women, children and other civilians out of pure terrorism".  He based this on the Hague Land Warfare Regulations of 1907, a document of the international law of war that "prohibits attacking or shelling undefended towns, villages, dwellings or buildings by any means whatsoever."

The air war against residential areas had first been sparked by the German Air Force. As long as it could, it had systematically bombed English cities, with well over 40,000 casualties. Warsaw, Rotterdam and Belgrade were also attacked and bombed by German bomber units. One had sown wind and reaped storm....

It was only after these attacks that a directive was issued to the R.A.F. Bomber Command that attacks should concentrate "on the morale of the enemy civilian population, especially industrial workers".  

Countless British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and American aircrew died in the sorties over Germany.
Many of them over Cologne and the wider surrounding area.

This page is dedicated to these young men, often only 18/19 years old.
In their memory and as a reminder that such things must never happen again.


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