February 14: The Allies Bomb Dresden, Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on February 14 in U.S. history apart from Saint Valentine’s Day. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1779 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Kettle Creek
The Battle of Kettle Creek was a minor encounter in the back country of Georgia during the American Revolutionary War. It was fought in Wilkes County about 8 miles from present-day Washington, Georgia. A militia force of Patriots decisively defeated and scattered a Loyalist militia force that was on its way to British-controlled Augusta.
The victory demonstrated the inability of British forces to hold the interior of the state, or to protect even sizable numbers of Loyalist recruits outside their immediate area. The British, who had already decided to abandon Augusta, recovered some prestige a few weeks later, surprising a Patriot force in the Battle of Brier Creek. Georgia's back country would not come fully under British control until after the 1780 Siege of Charleston broke Patriot forces in the South.
The Kettle Creek Battlefield is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the battlefield is owned by Wilkes County, although the full extent of locations where the action took place has not been identified. It is located off Tyrone Road. Through mid-2018, the American Battlefield Trust and its partners have acquired and preserved 180 acres at the battlefield.
1945 – Second World War: War Crimes: the Allies bomb Dresden
The bombing of Dresden was a British/American aerial attack on the capital of the German state of Saxony, during World War II in the European Theatre. In four raids in just two days, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city.
The bombing and the resulting firestorm destroyed over 1,600 acres of the city center. An estimated 22,700 to 25,000 people were killed, although larger casualty figures (up to 500,000 dead) have been claimed. Three more USAAF air raids followed, two occurring on March 2 aimed at the city's railway marshalling yard and one smaller raid on April 17 aimed at industrial areas.
Immediate German propaganda claims following the attacks and post-war discussions on whether the attacks were justified have led to the bombing becoming one of the moral causes célèbres of the war. A 1953 United States Air Force report defended the operation as the justified bombing of a strategic target, which they noted was a major rail transport and communication center, housing 110 factories and 50,000 workers in support of the German war effort.
Several researchers claim not all of the communications infrastructure, such as the bridges, were targeted, nor were the extensive industrial areas outside the city center. Critics of the bombing have claimed that Dresden was a cultural landmark of little or no strategic significance, and that the attacks were indiscriminate area bombing and not proportionate to the military gains.
2018 - Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
A year ago, on February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others. Witnesses identified nineteen-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz as the assailant, and he was arrested in Coral Springs by the Broward County Sheriff's Office shortly after he escaped the scene.
Cruz had purchased food at Walmart and McDonald's restaurants after leaving the scene of the shooting. He confessed to being the perpetrator, and he was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Police and prosecutors have not yet offered a motive and are investigating "a pattern of disciplinary issues and unnerving behavior.”
It was the deadliest shooting at a high school in United States history, surpassing the Columbine High School massacre that took place on April 20, 1999. It came at a period of heightened public support for gun control following attacks in Las Vegas, Nevada and Sutherland Springs, Texas respectively in October and November 2017.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on February 13, at least in our view.