World War II Somehow Claims Another Casualty

A German construction worker was killed Friday by an unexploded bomb. Some 70 years after the war’s end, the bombs are still an everyday threat.

A defused World War II bomb, which was found alongside the railway line near Berlin's central railway station, on April 3, 2013.
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Add to Briefcase
Matt Vasilogambros
Jan. 3, 2014, 6:31 a.m.

We can ac­tu­ally blame Nazis for an­oth­er death from World War II.

A driver of a bull­dozer was killed in the west­ern Ger­man town of Eu­skirchen on Fri­day when a yet-to-be-iden­ti­fied World War II bomb ex­ploded dur­ing con­struc­tion work. Eight oth­ers were in­jured in the ex­plo­sion, two of them ser­i­ously.

Nearly 70 years after the war ended, bombs are still be­ing dis­covered in Ger­many, some of which have threatened the lives of the people who un­will­ingly dis­cov­er them. In Novem­ber, 20,000 people were evac­u­ated from the west­ern Ger­man city of Dortmund when au­thor­it­ies dis­covered a 4,000-pound Al­lied bomb. It was de­fused be­fore any­one was in­jured.

Two years earli­er, 45,000 people were evac­u­ated from Koblenz, a ma­jor city along the Rhine River, be­cause of an equally large bomb. If it had gone off, it would have wiped out the cen­ter of the city.

These bombs are also dis­covered in lar­ger cit­ies, like Ber­lin. A 220-pound So­viet bomb was dis­covered near the train tracks that led in­to the main sta­tion of the Ger­man cap­it­al last April, for­cing 840 com­muters to evac­u­ate the area. The bomb was safely det­on­ated in a nearby forest after be­ing moved out on the back of a truck.

“Here in Ber­lin, it is a fact of daily life to de­fuse bombs,” Ber­lin po­lice spokes­man Jens Ber­ger told CNN then.

Since the war ended, nearly 2,000 bombs have been dis­covered in Ber­lin, ac­cord­ing to Na­tion­al Geo­graph­ic. And there are still between 2,000 and 4,000 bombs re­main­ing in the cap­it­al. Dur­ing the war, Al­lied forces dropped some 2.7 mil­lion tons of bombs on Ger­many. The bombs weighed between 100 and 4,000 pounds. The ones that were duds, some 7 to 15 per­cent of those dropped, still lie throughout the European coun­try.

From Na­tion­al Geo­graph­ic:

Ex­perts say the prob­lem will get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter. For dec­ades, bombs turned up dur­ing post­war build­ing pro­jects, some­times with deadly res­ults. That’s why con­struc­tion pro­jects in Ger­many today of­ten re­quire a Kamp­fmit­tel­freiheits­bes­chein­i­gung, or a per­mit cer­ti­fy­ing that the area is bomb-free, be­fore work be­gins. Con­sult­ants pore over aer­i­al pho­tos from U.S. and Brit­ish army archives for signs of un­ex­ploded ord­nance.

And some­times these dis­cov­er­ies can be deadly, as Fri­day’s ex­plo­sion shows. In 2010, three bomb-de­fuse team mem­bers were killed when a device ex­ploded in the Got­tin­gen.

For now, however, Ger­mans just have to wait un­til a hoe or bull­dozer or aer­i­al photo finds the next bomb dropped some 70 years ago.

What We're Following See More »
PLANS TO CURB ITS POWER
Pruitt Confirmed As EPA Head
3 days ago
BREAKING
WOULD HAVE REPLACED FLYNN
Harward Turns Down NSC Job
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn." Among the potential reasons: his family, his lack of assurances that he could build his own team, and that "the White House seems so chaotic."

Source:
REVERSES OBAMA RULE
House Votes to Let States Block Planned Parenthood Funds
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"The House passed a resolution Thursday re-opening the door for states to block Planned Parenthood from receiving some federal funds. The measure, which passed 230-188, would reverse a last-minute rule from the Obama administration that said conservative states can't block the women's health and abortion provider from receiving family planning dollars under the Title X program."

Source:
FORMER PROSECUTOR
Alexander Acosta to Get Nod for Labor
4 days ago
THE LATEST
12:30 PRESS CONFERENCE
New Labor Secretary Announcement Coming
4 days ago
BREAKING
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login