Smart Task: Was the bombing of Dresden justified?

Should the statue to Bomber Harris be removed?

It is now 20 years since the statue to Bomber Harris was erected in Trafalgar Square. Pupils are asked to consider whether it ought to be removed in light of what happened at Dresden. There are two preparatory parts to this task. Firstly students are asked to think of questions that historians would need to investigate when considering whether the bombing of Dresden could be justified. These questions are largely answered by authentic documents available on the National Archives Learning Curve site some of which are provided in the PowerPoint presentation. They then investigate 12 separate witness testimonies to help them to come to their decision. They place the influence cards on a spectrum to see which carry most weight before arriving at their own independent judgment. A letter to the Times expressing their view of the fate of the statue rounds off the task.

Step 1

Work through slides 2—7 which set the scene, the task, and the nature of the on-going debate raised in Wikipedia and on the BBC website.

Step 2

Ask the students to draft the questions they as historians would need to ask in order to arrive

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