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 Lieutenant) February 15, 2015

Different cities of the world destroyed by Second World War bombs:

  1. St Paul’s Cathedral (London, UK).- Another iconic Wren creation, St Paul’s is perhaps the greatest of London’s architectural Blitz survivors. Numerous photographs capture this grand church – crafted between 1668 and 1711 – standing proud amid the smoke and confusion of yet another Luftwaffe assault. It did not escape entirely – it was struck in both October 1940 and April 1941 – but became a poster image for British resistance as the war became ever more attritional. Picture: AFP/GETTY.

  2. The Monument (London, UK).- Built in tribute to one wild time of destruction, it was surely appropriate that London’s iconic Monument should survive a second. A simple memorial to the damage caused by the Great Fire of London in 1666, it famously stands 62 metres from the spot in Pudding Lane where the 17th century blaze began (while also being 62 metres tall). Designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren between 1671 and 1677, it looked on impassively – and largely unharmed – when German bombs landed at its feet during the Blitz. Picture: PA.

  3. Rue de Bayeux (Caen, France).- The Battle of Caen may have liberated Normandy’s historic capital from German clutches but – beginning on D-Day (June 6) and running through to August 6 1944 – it did little for the fabric of what had been a medieval masterpiece. Allied air raids and bitter street fighting ruined much of the centre – as the above image of the Rue de Bayeux indicates. Picture: AP.

  4. Nevsky Prospekt (St Petersburg, Russia).- St Petersburg (then known as Leningrad) witnessed one of the bleakest episodes of the Second World War – a brutal siege at the hands of German forces which lasted for 872 days (from September 8 1941 to January 27 1944). This Nazi stranglehold cost the lives of over one million of the city’s residents – and transformed its main thoroughfare Nevsky Prospekt (pictured here during 1942) into a desolate, rutted strip of empty shops. Picture: BORIS KUDOYAROV.

  5. Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima, Japan).- The world’s most visible reminder of the terror of nuclear war started life as an exhibition hall and art space. The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall – to give it its full name – was completed in 1915 to the design of Czech architect Jan Letzel. It found itself at the hypocenter of the atomic explosion which enveloped Hiroshima on August 6 1945, but, incredibly, kept some of its structure, the only building left standing at the site. Picture: AP.

  6. Urakami Cathedral (Nagasaki, Japan).- A pretty red-brick church in the south-westerly Japanese port of Nagasaki, the Urakami Cathedral was built between 1895 and 1925 – after a long-standing ban on Christianity in the country was lifted. The nuclear bomb which devastated the city on the morning of August 9 1945 fell a mere 500 metres from the cathedral – which was all but obliterated. Picture: AFP/GETTY.

  7. PAST Building (Warsaw, Poland).- This elaborate tower, at the heart of the Polish capital, was constructed for a telephone company between 1904 and 1910, becoming the tallest building in the city. It gained fame during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 – the rebellion which saw Polish resistance fighters try to liberate the city from Nazi control – when it was finally seized by local forces on August 20. However, the struggle did little for the building, as the image shows. Picture: AFP/GETTY.

  8. The Reichstag (Berlin, Germany).- One of Berlin’s prime landmarks, the Reichstag acted as the German Parliament building between 1894 and 1933. It was badly damaged, not by the Allies, but by an arson attack on February 27 1933. The precise cause of the blaze has never been ascertained, although the finger of history points at Hitler, who had become Chancellor four weeks earlier. He would use the blaze as an excuse to suppress civil liberties amid talk of Communist plots. Picture: AFP/GETTY.

  9. St Michael’s Cathedral (Coventry, UK).- Coventry suffered dreadfully during the Blitz – most significantly on the night of November 1940, when 515 bombers of the German Luftwaffe gave the Midlands city their full attention. One of the victims at ground level was St Michael’s Cathedral, a 14th century Gothic joy. Only the cathedral’s tower and spire survived an assault that – with a certain amount of irony – was called Operation Mondscheinsonate (Moonlight Sonata). Picture: PA.

  10. Frauenkirche (Dresden, Germany).- This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of the fire-bombing of Dresden (13-15 February 1945) – the concerted Allied air attack which effectively removed its target from the map of Europe. It remains one of the most controversial passages of the Second World War.

    The assault left up to 25,000 dead (the figure is hard to quantify), and destroyed much of the Baroque centre of what was arguably Germany’s most beautiful city. Buildings lost to the flames included the glorious Frauenkirche – a huge-domed church, built in 1743, which withstood both nights (even acting as a bomb shelter) – but collapsed in the terrible heat caused by the sustained explosions, its dome falling at 10am on February 15.

    It ‘stood’ as a ruin for five decades under the Communist authorities in the post-war German Democratic Republic – the image shows the remnants of the church in January 1952. However, like all the buildings in this gallery, is also a resurrection tale...By Chris Leadbeater. Picture: AFP/GETTY.



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