Dortmund is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is in the middle part of the state and is considered to be the administrative, commercial and cultural centre of the region. Its population of 575,944 (2013) makes it the 8th largest city in Germany. In addition Dortmund is the largest city by area and population in the Ruhr Area, an urban area with some 5.1 million (2011) inhabitants which is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany.
Dortmund had been heavily bombed during World War II. It became the center of a pitched battle between the U.S. and its allies and the Soviet Union throughout April and May, 1951, during the early days of World War III, ultimately falling to the Soviet advance in early May.