A Summary and Interpretation of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

World War II was a horrific war that cost several hundred, if not thousands, of people their lives. Through a multitude of bombings and attacks, many people were forever scared for the rest of their days. There are many books and novels that talk about World War II, and one of those fictional accounts based on the truth and facts of the war is SlaughterhouseFive by Kurt Vonnegut. Billy Pilgrim is a character who, among time traveling and being on exhibit on an alien planet, was involved in World War II.

The whole war is talked about in the book, and there are several true events that are used in the storyline, but there is one event that is continuously referred to by the characters and the author: the bombing of Dresden.

Dresden was a bustling city actually, it was the bustling capital of the German state of Saxony. Before World War II, Saxony was a major city that was well known for many topics; Dresden was a major communications and manufacturing center and a leader in Europe for art, classical music, culture, and science, It held several important buildings and architectural wonders including the Zwinger Museum and the Frauenkirche Cathedral.

During World War II, Dresden was left untouched by the bombings the Allies brought upon Nazi Germany and other enemies. From 1939 to the end of 1944, Dresden was bomb free. Many people flocked to Dresden during this time period to escape the wrath of Nazi Germany’s enemies. The peace, however, was not to last.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Military

4.7 (348)

“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Leading up to the raid, air forces bombed the railroads and other forms of transportation leading into Dresden.

On February 13, the bombings began on Dresden. The British Royal Air Force along with the United States Army Air Forces and other allies numbering over 1200 soldiers flew off and started the long campaign of destroying Dresden. For nearly three days, the fair city, full of culture and history, was continuously pounded upon by tons of ammunition and bombs with very few breaks. The bombings continued on through February 14 which was Ash Wednesday, a time of repentance and renewal before Easter in the Christian religion. On February 15, the bombings ceased. Over 3,900 tons of high—explosive bombs and devices capable of incineration were used. Thousands of people were killed and injured; an approximate number of 22,000 to 25,000 people, both soldier and civilian and enemy, and ally, were killed during the entire span of the bombing. After the war, some rebuilding was done.

The bombing was very controversial among most people, both enemy and ally and soldier and civilian. Some believed that Dresden was neutral ground and should never have even been considered for such a horrific attack. However, while most people living or hiding in Dresden were neutral, some of the secret happenings were anything but. Dresden was considered part of Nazi Germany’s territory, and that alone to some people was considered a good enough reason. Besides for being a place of culture and art, there were also several factories that were helping the Nazi war effort by building and assembling weapons and other equipment. Setting aside the problems with Germany, the British and Americans wanted to send a clear message to Russia, or the Soviet Union, that they were strong and not to be dealt with; the leaders knew that Stalin, the leader of Russia, would be a thorn in their sides after the war, and they wanted to reiterate the fact that they were superior.

The bombing of Dresden was horrific, and it is still to this day a very controversial move by the British and the United States. Several Nazi Germany- supporting entities were destroyed during the raid, but many casualties on both sides were the price, most of those civilians or war refugees. While the true intentions of the bombing will never be known, people must live with the consequences: the death of thousands and a completely destroyed city. In SlaughterhousevFive, Billy Pilgrim and the author, along with the soldiers, continually deal with the aftermath. Billy Pilgrim continuously whimpers and sobs and travels through time Or to put it better, Billy Pilgrim stays unstuck in time, reliving his horrific experiences in Dresden.

Cite this page

A Summary and Interpretation of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. (2023, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-summary-and-interpretation-of-slaughterhouse-five-by-kurt-vonnegut/

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7