In the summer of 1943, the Bomber Command of Britain's Royal Air Force began what it chose to call Operation Gomorrah, "five major and several minor" aerial attacks on the German city of Hamburg, "with the aim of wiping Hamburg from the map of Europe." Most of the bombs it dropped were incendiaries, "small bombs filled with highly flammable chemicals, among them magnesium, phosphorus and petroleum jelly." The result was "the first ever firestorm created by bombing, and it caused terrible destruction and loss of life," almost entirely among civilians. At least 45,000 human corpses were found in the ruins, and more than 30,000 buildings were destroyed. A.C. Grayling writes:
"In the cellars, otherwise unscathed people suffocated to death. Police reports and eyewitness accounts later confirmed many of the horror stories told 'of demented Hamburgers carrying bodies of deceased relatives in their suitcases -- a man with the corpse of his wife and daughter, a woman with the mummified body of her daughter, or other women with the heads of their dead children.'"
[Read on at the Washington Post]