Berlin, then the capital of Nazi Germany, was subject to 363 air raids during the Second World War. Prelude [ edit ]When the Second World War began in 1939, the President of the United States (then a neutral power), Franklin D. Roosevelt, issued a request to the major belligerents to confine their air raids to military targets. Between 1939 and 1942, the policy of bombing only targets of direct military significance was gradually abandoned in favour of \"area bombing\" — large-scale bombing of German cities to destroy housing and civilian infrastructure. The Soviet Union started a bombing campaign on Berlin on 8 August 1941 that extended into early September. Even before the war, work had begun on an extensive system of public air raid shelters, but by 1939 only 15% of the planned 2,000 shelters had been built.
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