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Trident and Dresden

Victor Gregg's account of the bombing of Dresden is a stark reminder of the impact of incendiary weapons. Gregg was a Prisoner of War in the city when it was destroyed in a British raid. He describe the horror of the firestorm that engulfed the city:

"Everything was in flames, even the roads, which were burning rivers of bubbling and hissing tar. Huge fragments of material flew through the air, sucked into the vortex. We could see people being torn from whatever they were hanging on to and drawn into the ever-deepening red glow less than 200 yards away.  

 

"A small group tried to reach us by crossing what had once been a road, only to get themselves stuck in a bubbling mass of molten tar. One by one, they sank to the ground through sheer exhaustion and then died in a pyre of smoke and flame. People of all shapes, sizes and ages were slowly sucked into the vortex"

Although a patriotic soldier, Gregg argues that the destruction of Dresden was a war crime. In 1980 this type of attack was made illegal in the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Convention.

In 2013 Scottish CND published a report on the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear attack by a British Trident submarine on Moscow. One of the issues that this addressed was the way in which flames would engulf the city and develop into a firestorm. The situation would be even more horrific than the scenes witnessed in Dresden. Those trying to flee the fires and smoke would be exposed to lethal levels of radiation as they climbed over the rubble of Europe's second largest city.

The report was written for the first of a series of international conferences which have focused attention on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. These meetings have affirmed that governments and emergency response organisations, such as the Red Cross, would be unable to provide meaningful aid in response to a nuclear explosion. The third conference, in Vienna in December 2014, resulted in a call for a ban on these indiscriminate Weapons of Mass Destruction. 

Accounts of the destruction of Dresden should stir us into action to eliminate nuclear weapons.

 

 

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