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World War II Bombs Still Pose a Threat to German Cities

More than 70 years after the war ended, unexploded bombs are being unearthed with remarkable regularity—in part because of a nationwide building boom.
A member of the German bomb disposal squad stands next to a World War II bomb following its successful defusion in Koblenz December 4, 2011.
A member of the German bomb disposal squad stands next to a World War II bomb following its successful defusion in Koblenz December 4, 2011.Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

It’s been 74 years since World War II ended, but the bombs that fell on German cities decades ago still pose dangers today at a surprising rate.

Barely a week goes by without news of an unexploded World War II bomb, shell, or grenade, being discovered and defused by Germany’s bomb disposal experts. Last month, there were even more than usual, with at least 19 bomb alerts across the country, in the cities of Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Augsburg, Dortmund, Essen, Münster, Halle, Rheinberg, Bochum, Potsdam, Freiburg im Breisgau, Xanten, Erfurt, and Gelsenkirchen, as well as in the countryside near Berlin and near Bremen, and, alarmingly for drivers, close to the Autobahn near Nuremberg.