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Battle of Berlin
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
1945-05-01GerWW2BattlefrontAtlas.jpg
Front lines 1 May 1945.
Date 16 April – 8 May 1945
Location
Result Decisive Allied victory
Belligerents
 Soviet Union
 Poland
 Nazi Germany
Commanders and leaders

Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov

Poland M. Rola-Żymierski

Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany Alfred Jodl

Nazi Germany Gotthard Heinrici

Nazi Germany Helmuth Reymann

Nazi Germany Helmuth Weidling
Strength
2,500,000 soldiers, 6,250 armoured vehicles, 7,500 airplanes, 41,600 artillery guns. 850,000 soldiers, 1,500 armoured vehicles, 3,500 airplanes, 9,300 artillery guns.
Casualties and losses
81,116 killed, 280,281 injured. 458,080 killed, 479,298 captured.

The Battle of Berlin was the last major battle of Second World War in Europe. The Battle took place in Berlin from 16 April to 3 May 1945. During the battle the Red Army, along with Polish forces, captured the city of Berlin, Germany. When they captured the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler killed himself with his new wife by shooting himself and her taking a poison pill.

Background

On 12 January 1945 the Soviet and Polish forces began attacking Berlin. In the end of that attack, their forces stood on the Oder River, 60 kilometres east of Berlin. In 1945 the Wehrmacht had few good fighters or good weapons compared to 1944.

Despite his advisors' opinion, Hitler decided to stay in the city. He heard about the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the radio and he hoped the city would be saved.

The Battle of Seelow Heights

The battle on the city began in the Seelow Heights. The Seelow Heights are 17 kilometers west of the Oder and 45 kilometres east of Berlin. They were well defended by the Wehrmacht. On 16 April, the Red Army and Polish Army attacked Seelow Heights. Almost 1,000,000 attackers with 20,000 artillery pieces were fighting against 100,000 Germans with 1,200 tanks. Despite this, the German defenders managed to hold the heights for four days.

On 20 April, Hitler's birthday, the allies began to bombard the centre of the city with rockets and artillery. They did not stop until the city surrendered. On 22 April, Hitler, when he knew the Germans plans had failed, cried in anger. He knew the war was as good as lost. One of his generals, Alfred Jodl, thought it would be possible to form a linkup between the army in Berlin, and the 12th Army commanded by Walther Wenck that were fighting the U.S. Army. Hitler agreed to this idea, but those troops could not get to the city.

Fall of Berlin

Hitler remained in his Führerbunker until his death. He knew that escape was nearly impossible. His soldiers knew that too, and wanted to get out. Since there was no hope of winning, Hitler gave orders to his generals and allowed a breakout plan on April 28th. However, this plan went badly. Only a few of the expected number of soldiers managed to get through Soviet lines. On April 29th Hitler authorized another try to break out May 1st.

However, on April 30th the Red Army captured the Reichstag. They were just 500 yards from the Führerbunker. Hitler and several other leaders killed themselves. On May 1st, Helmuth Weidling ordered a break out. One division, named the Nordland Division, escaped and were caught outside Berlin.

In the next few days, the various armies of Nazi Germany surrendered.

Interesting Facts about the Battle of Britain

Raising a flag over the Reichstag 2
Raising a Flag over the Reichstag, a photograph taken during the Battle of Berlin on 2 May 1945
  • The Battle of Berlin lasted four days.
  • At the beginning there were almost one million German soldiers in and around Berlin.
  • Around 20 Million Germans were left homeless after the Battle of Berlin.
  • The Soviet Army captured Berlin on 15 April 1945.
  • 70,000 Russian soldiers died and 92,000 German soldiers died.
  • The Battle of Berlin was the most significant battle of World War II as it stopped Nazi Germany and ended World War II in Europe.

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