The Fate of a City: The Air War in Heilbronn


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Bendersky

Second Advisor

Dr. John Herman

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Dvorak


Abstract The Fate of a City: The Air War in Heilbronn By Joshua W. Stein Bachelor of Arts, Bridgewater College, 2019. A thesis submitted in partial requirements for the degree of Master of History at Virginia Commonwealth University. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2021. Director: Dr. Joseph Bendersky, Department of History, Virginia Commonwealth University Although, numerous studies exist on the air war over Germany and local ones on the bombing of Heilbronn, this is the first study to integrate the multidimensional aspects of this wartime experience for Allied airmen and German civilians. Correspondingly, the Nazi past in Heilbronn is an essential aspect to understanding the air war. In the post-war period, Heilbronn was the scene of mass reconstruction and a changing memory landscape. At annual ceremonies to remember those who perished on December 4, 1944, grief and loss has given way to remember the Nazi past and to warn of the dangers that war brings. In recent years, the rise of the far- right in Germany has openly challenged the memory of the air war in Germany – even in Heilbronn. Nonetheless, the city of Heilbronn will forever be a testament to the destruction caused by Allied bombing and the repressive Nazi regime.


© Joshua W. Stein

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission