History.Politics

Destroyed Cities in WWII – Horror for Millions!

No War Again!

#19.11.2010–Officially, WWII lasted from 1939 to 1945 and killed an estimated 50 million to over 70 million citizens. It involved in the center Nazi-Germany and at it axes Britain and the Commonwealth, the Soviet Union, Japan and the United States, in fact all countries in Europe and beyond.

The war started when Germany invaded Poland and ended on the VE-E-Day (Victory in Europe Day) when the Allies entered the shores of France. German unconditional surrendered on 8 May 1945.

In comparison, WWI lasted “only” 4 years, a period during 9 million fighters and soldiers where killed. The increase in fighting power and better war technology resulted in greatly increased number of deads in WWII. Including the Holocost, WWII killed 5-7 times as much peoples as in WWI and lasted twice as long.


Video:  Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Reenactment

Japan surrendered on the American battleship USS Missouri on 2 September 1945 but signed a WWII piece treaty only as late as 1951. At first, Emperor Hiroito does not intended to surrender at any costs, but he had not technology nor other means against the U.S. deadly new atomic weapon.

In WWII many other smaller cites where bombed into ashes, some for tactical reasons although actually where innocent ones. A place to produce munitions were reasons enough to kill the producing and surrounding areas. Nevertheless, the ones famously remembered are the ones listed below.

Ordered by date:

1. Nanking
When: December 13, 1937;
Where: Former Capital of the Republic of China
Causalities: 40,000-300,000 victims
Caused By: Soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army (under Hiroito)
Via: Massacre and explosive munitions

2. Dresden
When: February 13-15, 1945
Where: (Eastern) Nazi-Germany
Causalities: 22,700-25,000 civilian victims
Caused By: British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Force (USAAF)
Via: 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices

3. Hiroshima
When: August 6, 1945
Where: Capital of Hiroshima Prefecture; Japan
Causalities: 90,000-140,000 victims
Caused By: United States of America
Via: Nuclear Weapon; First Atomic Bomb ever

4. Nagasaki
When: On August 9, 1945
Where: Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan
Causalities: 73,884 victims
Caused By: United States of America
Via: Nuclear Weapon; Second Atomic Bomb ever

The mentioned war causalities are from the direct impact of the assaults, many hundreds of thousands died years later, especially those caused by the atomic attacks. The Holocaust (“The Shoah”) in Nazi-Germany killed nine million Jews (denied by some) and of course countless others from all races. It should also not forgotten that hundreds of thousands of innocent peoples lost their homes, their lands and were as displaced during the 2nd world war as it happened in the first one. Since Germany occupied most of Europe, the civilian populations were affected virtually everywhere in those countries there.

It can be said that the second world war actually started in Asia with the cruel massacre in Nanking and ended in Japan’s Armageddon Nagasaki; lasting for almost eight years, not counting the long years after that period where virtually no food nor goods nor homes were available.

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Bridge of Sighs – A Way ever out of the medieval Prison in Venice?

It is not easy to say the world goodbye when the only and last view you ever will have again is through a small window from the “Ponte dei Sospiri” or Bridge of Sighs for a few minutes.

It is a covered bridge, now over 400 years old and made of limestones, above a small canal, the “Rio di Palazzo”.

The bridge looks beautiful from outside and is today a top tourist attraction – a must seen – that even Casanova as a convict learned to appreciate, but from inside and on his way from the interrogation room at the Doge’s Palace to the then medieval prison at the Palazzo delle Prigioni.

Do you ever was in this prison? I was, shortly, as a visitor. Or better said, tourist. If you are not lucky those days, you were sent to the ground floor which is exactly at see level.

When the water rises, there is no way to keep the feeds try (they were up to the knees under water)…and rats and other small animals and insects try to eat you.


Il Ponte dei Sospiri di Venezia

Besides, you may not be able to move around and infections were awaiting you. Depending on your money, connection and the judge…or the lack of it…you may have been even restricted to the walls more or less. I can also imagine that the prison was full (like nowadays) and the best place might have been the corners for the strongest (or richest) convicts.

The prison itself however was designed for small criminals where no executioner were awaiting them. Nevertheless, many came never out of it at time and if so, seldom unharmed.

One of its most famous prisoner those days was Casanova (the nobleman, adventurer and late author) who has enjoyed perhaps too much his previous lifestyle especially with the other (and married) gender around him all day and night; but certainly he cursed it that he had no initial means to escape the punishment and the prison. He was sentenced in Venice to five years in 1753 at the age of 30 to his new domicile on grounds of outrages against the holy religion.

But because his heritage and connection, he actually was imprisoned quiet comfortable compared to all the others poor fellows who hardly got enough food. He got clothing, a table, a pallet bed and an armchair.

I think he spend five month or so in the prison, without further confinement; after that he managed to escape. Nowadays nobody knows exactly how he did it, but bribe could just has helped. Casanova left Venice to Paris.

Yet, he got imprisoned again because new debts he had accumulated. Somehow later he went to Venice again and from there, also back to Paris as an older man of 48. He traveled a few times between Venice and Paris and finally died at the age of 78.

The nowadays newly built prison in Venice is certainly more human but similar also certainly not inviting in the same ways as any other prisons around the world: Who wants ever to be confined, even when the prison is in or near the city of Venice?

But being send to a prison in those good old days was mostly seen and accepted as a death sentence even if no executioner was waiting. Just imaging: No TV or Internet and room and time to play football for an hour outside of your cell.

A dream for all who died in medieval prisons! That reminds me that camouflaged medieval prison and their torturer still exist in our modern world, even if that would be heavily denied. Perhaps I should be carefully think what I write about. Censors are everywhere…

If you have survived your sentence in the old days, you could probably went back over the bridge if there where no other way out or just thrown out of a window into a canal.

But for most of the convicts, it was a one-way bridge without return. Sighs made sense because medieval punishments were hard and survival periods often were much less than the given punishment ones.

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