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Baedeker raids

- a series of raids carried out by the German Luftwaffe between April and June 1942 which targeted British Cities famous for their history and architectural heritage. The targets were selected from the famous travel guides published by Karl Baedeker. Founded in 1827 the publishing house quickly established a reputation for its travel guides which were in a convenient format and more importantly, they were written by experts. The first four cities to be targeted were Exeter, Bath, Norwich and York followed by Canterbury which were all given the highest rating (3 star) in the guides. Rebuilding in the 1950s was on the whole, successful, with important buildings such as part of the Royal Crescent in Bath and the Guildhall in York reconstructed. Least successful was the rebuilding of Exeter which pre-war, came second to Bath as an architectural site in Sothern England but is now seen as a city with some beautiful buildings.

None of these cities were industrial, they were targeted because they were seen as contributing to the civilian population's sense of well-being and later in the war the allied command used the same tactics. While there is a terrible irony in these guides being used to provide a source of targets for bombers, taken altogether, it makes for an interesting comment on the heritage and the issue of public value.