Friday, December 11, 2020

The Air War on Germany

When I walk around my neighborhood in East London I can easily see where the bombs fell in World War II. There are a few plaques and memorials which mark locations which experienced a particularly large number of causalities. However the main clue is the age of the buildings. In my street every building constructed post-1945 is built on the site of a building bombed in World War II.

A similar methodology can be used in many German towns and cities to see where Allied bombs caused damage during the Second World War. For example the town of Görlitz is full of cobbled streets, narrow alleys and many beautiful old buildings. Conversely the town of Dessau is full of new buildings and wide streets. It isn't hard therefore to see which of these two German towns was more heavily bombed by the Allies.

1945 – Unsere Stadte is a fascinating scrollytelling exploration of where and when cities in Central Germany were bombed during World War II. As you scroll through the story you progress through the war chronologically and a series of maps show where the Allied bombs caused the most damage to towns and cities. A timeline is used to show the currently displayed year, while the map sidebar provides an historical explanation of the Allied air campaigns, the intended targets and the outcomes of the bombing campaigns (in German).

Towards the end of 1945 - Unsere Stadte a map is used to show the level of building structure damage in towns across Central Germany. Each town on this map is represented by a pie chart showing the level of destroyed building structure. For example in central Dessau 85 % of buildings were destroyed by the Allied bombing campaigns. Scroll on a little further and you can view a visualization of the building ages in each town and city - revealing the percentage of buildings in the town built before and after the war.

No comments: