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J. B. Historical Context

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With the development of new technologies, World War II saw more civilian casualties than any previous war. Bombs from the air could deliver more destructive power than single bullets from a rifle, but they did not kill only soldiers, nor were they intended to. Nickles comments in scene 1 that "Millions and millions of mankind" have been "Burned, crushed, broken, mutilated," and he particularly mentions those who died because they were "Sleeping the wrong night wrong city—/ London, Dresden, Hiroshima." These three cities stand for the thousands of innocent civilians who died on both sides of the war.

London, the capital city of England, was bombed by the Nazis for fifty-eight consecutive days in 1940 and less frequently for the following six months, in the series of raids known as the Blitz. Nearly a third of the city was brought to ruins, and nearly 30,000 Londoners were...

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J. B. from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.