The legitimacy of the atomic bombings is another controversial topic I'm a bit wary to address. They were justifiable if they did indeed induce the Japanese to surrender in August, as they apparently did. Some critics however say that Japan was on the verge of surrendering anyway, and that the Americans should have explored diplomatic options before launching the bombs. Some even say one of the reasons for their use was to send a "message" to the Soviets. Honestly I don't have enough knowledge to give a definite opinion. However the decision to use of the atomic bombs cannot be compared to that of bombing Dresden. It was reasonable that the use of these super weapons of unparalleled power and nature would have forced Japan to surrender. And, whether the Japanese would have surrendered even without them or not, their use sealed the issue. Obliterating Dresden instead could not be expected to force the Germans to quit, and it didn't. Yes, Dresden had industries and important rail yards, the point is if at that stage of the war an area bombing of that size was justified. The article on Wikipedia reports both arguments for and against: Bombing of Dresden in World War II - Wikipedia While Wikipedia should be taken with a grain of salt, it provides references to their quotes and I don't believe they are made up. Some of the arguments against are: In the raid, major industrial areas in the suburbs, which stretched for miles, were not targeted. According to historian Donald Miller, "the economic disruption would have been far greater had Bomber Command targeted the suburban areas where most of Dresden's manufacturing might was concentrated". Primary sources disagree as to whether the aiming point was the marshalling yards near the centre of the city or the centre of the built-up urban area. It must be noticed that the bombers failed to hit the marshalling yards in the Friedrichstadt district and the USAAF in March made two additional raids against the marshalling yard (and a minor one in April against industrial areas) More objections: It is also stated that the important Autobahn bridge to the west of the city was not targeted or attacked, and that no railway stations were on the British target maps, nor any bridges, such as the railway bridge spanning the Elbe River. [144According to historian Sönke Neitzel, "it is difficult to find any evidence in German documents that the destruction of Dresden had any consequences worth mentioning on the Eastern Front. The industrial plants of Dresden played no significant role in German industry at this stage in the war". Wing Commander H. R. Allen said, "The final phase of Bomber Command's operations was far and away the worst. Traditional British chivalry and the use of minimum force in war was to become a mockery and the outrages perpetrated by the bombers will be remembered a thousand years hence". On the other side a report by the U.S. Air Force Historical Division states that: The raid had legitimate military ends, brought about by exigent military circumstances. Military units and anti-aircraft defences were sufficiently close that it was not valid to consider the city "undefended." The raid did not use extraordinary means but was comparable to other raids used against comparable targets. The raid was carried out through the normal chain of command, pursuant to directives and agreements then in force. The raid achieved the military objective, without excessive loss of civilian life. (Honestly I find this point a bit of a stretch to say the least) The inquiry required by General Marshall established that the Soviets, under allied agreements for the United States and the United Kingdom to provide air support for the Soviet offensive toward Berlin, had requested area bombing of Dresden to prevent a counterattack through Dresden, or the use of Dresden as a regrouping point following a German strategic retreat.