As late as 1920 the city was being described as one of the best preserved mediaeval towns in Europe, but within 12 years the ancient streets were beginning to be cleared. The 'car city' could no longer support a mediaeval street pattern and the Luftwaffe just accelerated what had already begun.
On 14 November 1940 Coventry was subjected to the single most concentrated attack on a British city in the Second World War. Lasting 11 hours, the raid damaged or destroyed 43,000 homes, along with the great medieval church of St Michael's - the only British cathedral to be destroyed in the war.
The raid by over 500 German bombers aimed to destroy Coventry's industrial strength, a key part of the country's war effort. It killed 1,200 people, destroyed thousands of homes and changed the face of our historic city forever. The term 'Coventrated' was used by the Germans to describe similar levels of destruction on other towns and cities following the attack. Further air raids took place in 1941.
After the war, Coventry worked hard to build a city of peace and reconciliation. Coventry first twinned with Stalingrad (Volgograd) a city that had experienced a similar fate and later with Dresden in Germany. The rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, has become recognised as a world centre for reconciliation.