The question of reconstruction was a thorny issue in postwar Germany, where celebrations of the ‘glorious’ past took on a different hue.
On the night of 22 March 1944 Frankfurt was hit by one of the largest air raids of the Second World War. Dodging German anti-aircraft defences, 816 British planes dropped more than 3,000 heavy explosive bombs and 1.2 million incendiary devices in less than an hour. The Old Town (Altstadt) bore the brunt of it. Almost the entire quarter was destroyed. Churches were reduced to rubble and of 2,000 or so half-timbered buildings only one escaped unscathed.