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Dresden Thoughts

Dresden is a perplexing city.

Within 15 minutes I had said to myself, “What a charming, wonderful city!” and “This city is depressing.”

Both statements were valid for where I was standing at the time.

Dresden was an unlucky city-for most of World War II, it survived undamaged until February 13, 1945 when in two nights, the UK and US destroyed much of the city, killing at least 25,000 people in the process.

While the reasons for attacking Dresden are debatable, what is clear is that the communists never bothered to rebuild the core of the city, thus meaning that the old city is one enormous construction zone. It’s hard to walk down streets in the core without having to wander around construction fences. This is the part of the city where I said to myself “What a charming, wonderful city!”

Amazingly, a short distance away from the inner part of the old city, there are tons of old-style Soviet apartment blocks which led me to say “This city is depressing.”

Wide lanes of traffic are separated by expanses of green grass means that the city lacks a reasonable intimacy and instead feels much like suburban America, where one doesn’t really want to be a pedestrian. It takes awhile to cross the street.

The walk from the main train station (which is under construction) to my hotel involved going down a wide pedestrian street (under construction) surrounded by buildings lacking any charm. The hotel I stayed in was an Ibis Hotel: a chain of hotels that was quite literally in Dresden, a chain. Along the western side of the street, somebody had seen fit to build three 10 story buildings in a row that looked identical. They were ugly, and Ibis occupies all three. I was in the one closest to the train station.

I’m kind of at a loss at what to think.

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the start of the Cold War.

Certainly we should thank the Soviet Union for its huge contribution to the Great Patriotic War-with far more war dead than any other nation. Out of 40,000,000 dead, the USSR had approximately 21,300,000 civilian and military deaths.

However, Russia needs to stop kidding itself. The Soviet Union did occupy the Baltic States.

On my way back from Dresden, I was thinking about it. What if at the end of World War I Germany had been allowed to build its economy and build a reasonable government thus preventing the Nazis from taking over? How would the Cold War have played out?

4 comments to Dresden Thoughts

  • ChrisC

    I was reading the information below and kept thinking I am seeing the future of America, especially in the last half of the last sentence.

    Immigration to Canada seems more desirable now.

    ——————
    In early 1945, it was seen as desirable that on the present occasion, the war should be conducted in Germany and that the German people should see what war was really like, with the aim of persuading them to keep away from wars in future. Bombing was also regarded as a means of breaking the connection between Germans and the Nazi Party, which seemed, to the Allied leadership, to have an almost unbelievable degree of control over the minds and attitudes of the citizens of the Reich.

  • It takes awhile, but my Pal Jerry can give you advice!

  • ChrisC

    Hmm… Maybe I should talk to him. Something about 4-years total if memory serves for full citizenship, a lot less for a permanent resident card.

  • It’s taking just over a year to get a permenent resident card… I am anticipating a move by the end of June, and my initial application was sent in may 2004.

    Email me if you’d like to discuss it further.

    Thanks!

    Jerry