Was Bombing of Prague a Mistake?

On February 14, 1945, the American Air Force carried out an air raid over Prague which ranks as the most futile attack on Czech territory of the Second World War. Sixty years later it is still not clear whether the attack was an accident caused by bad weather conditions and the fact Prague and Dresden looked similar from the air, or whether it was a deliberate attack.

The attack took everyone by surprise. When the air raid siren went off shortly before midday, citizens of the capital did not take it seriously - they were used to such sirens. Allied air forces flew over Prague very often and had never attacked it before. Their target had always been Germany. So on that fateful day, many Prague citizens did not even bother to run to shelters. Others had no time. The attack itself was over in just five minutes.

Sixty flying fortresses of the 8th American Air Force dropped about 152 tons of bombs on many populated parts of Prague: Vysehrad, Zlichov, Karlovo namesti, Nusle, Vinohrady, Vrsovice and Pankrac. About a hundred houses and historical sights were destroyed. All the casualties were civilians, and not one of the city's factories which could have been of use to the Wermacht was damaged. Jan Zdirsky is the director of the Czech Air-Historical Association.

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