At the end of July 1943, Hamburg burned. A fleet of British heavy bombers had dropped thousands of incendiaries over the city, turning it into a hearth of unprecedented dimensions. Numerous major fires merged together into a single storm of fire. Structures combusted under the immense heat, as strong winds drove the inferno through the streets at rapid speed. Craving for more oxygen, the firestorm sucked human bodies into the flames and immediately incinerated or mummified them. Thousands of others died slowly of carbon monoxide poisoning in their shelters. By the end of the raid, 60% of Hamburg had been burned out and more than 35,000 of its inhabitants were dead. But while the Germans were shocked to disbelief, for the British the firestorm has worked as intended. And this was just the beginning.
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