Today (13 February) marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the German city of Dresden, one of the most destructive and controversial bombing raids of the Second World War.

In January 1945, the British drew up a plan called Thunderclap to attack Berlin and other population centres.

Dresden, untouched by bombing just months before the end of World War Two, was attacked by two waves of British bombers, three hours apart, on the night of 13 February, 1945.

Almost 800 RAF Lancaster bombers let loose 1,182 tons of incendiaries and 1,478 tons of high explosives creating a firestorm that destroyed the city.

The next day, the Americans sent 311 B-17 Flying Fortress long-range bombers, adding to the damage.

The official death toll is put at around 25,000, but many survivors believe the number was higher as bodies were reduced to ashes in the firestorm.

Once dubbed the Florence of northern Europe for architectural jewels such as the Zwinger palace and the Semper Opera, the city was reduced to smouldering ruins.

Today, Dresden is a conservative bastion and the venue for Germany's biggest annual neo-Nazi march, which takes place on the anniversary of the controversial bombing of the city by Allied forces near the end of World War Two.

Although a mainstream debate has taken place in the past few years about the extent to which Germans can view themselves as victims of a war they were responsible for, there is little sympathy for the views of militaristic neo-Nazi groups.

Dresden has only in the last decade been restored to its former glory, complete with its trove of cultural treasures.