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During World War II, the Allied forces dropped about 1.3 million tons of bombs on Germany. Even today, more than 75 years later, many unexploded remnants are still being discovered.

Until 1945, American and British air forces dropped 2.7 million tons of bombs on Europe, with half of them aimed at Germany. By May 1945, when the Nazi government surrendered, Germany’s industrial infrastructure was in ruins, and many cities were left in ruins.

To deal with the unexploded bombs, tens of thousands of residents are often evacuated from their homes. Sometimes, the bombs are detonated on site to eliminate the risk of unexpected explosions, but this process also poses the risk of spreading toxic pollution.


During the Allied occupation, reconstruction efforts started quickly. However, a concerning problem arose: about 10 percent of the bombs dropped by Allied planes hadn’t exploded. As East and West Germany began rebuilding after the war, they encountered a major obstacle – thousands of tons of unexploded bombs were hidden underground.


Responsibility for disarming these bombs, as well as removing the countless hand grenades, bullets, mortar shells, and artillery shells left behind after the war, was entrusted to police bomb-disposal technicians and firefighters. Known as the Kampfmittelbeseitigungsdienst, or KMBD, these brave individuals worked tirelessly to ensure the safety and reconstruction of post-war Germany.

This is why, before any construction project commences in Germany, whether a simple home extension or large-scale track-laying by the national railroad authority, there’s a crucial step – certifying that the ground is free from unexploded ordnance. Despite these precautions, incidents still occur.

For instance, approximately 20,000 individuals were evacuated from an area in Cologne after a one-ton bomb was discovered during construction work. Similarly, in November 2013, another 20,000 people in Dortmund had to evacuate while experts defused a 4,000-pound “Blockbuster” bomb capable of causing extensive damage to a city block.

Also, during construction work at the U.S. European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, a phosphorus bomb was accidentally struck, leading to the release of poisonous gas. Fortunately, a German explosive ordnance disposal team swiftly responded and safely removed the bomb without any further incident.

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