Battle of berlin
Warlike confrontation between Soviet and German troops, which took place in the capital of Nazi Germany. In this article we will let you know What was the battle of Berlin?
|Date||April 16 to May 2, 1945.|
|Belligerents||Soviet troops vs. Nazi Germany.|
The Battle of Berlin was a warfare between Soviet and German troops that took place in 1945, in the capital of Nazi Germany . This began on April 16 and ended on May 2 , after the Germans surrendered to the armies of the Soviet Union .
Thus, it was the last great war action in Europe during World War II .
Germany lacked the means to stop the Soviet attack. However, the German leader Adolf Hitler refused to surrender. This decision led him to suicide and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers on both sides.
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Background to the Battle of Berlin
On January 12, 1945, the Red Army entered German territory and advanced at great speed westward, entering the regions of East Prussia, Silesia, and East Pomerania.
The strategy of the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin , was to deploy 3 large groups of armies (north, center and south of Germany) to occupy the entire right bank of the Elbe River. The objective of this maneuver was to surround Berlin and prevent the Western Allies from participating in the taking of the city.
The Soviet forces consisted of 1.5 million troops, which were joined by some 100,000 Polish soldiers. The offensive also included 6,250 tanks and self-propelled guns, 7,500 aircraft, 41,000 cannon and mortar pieces, and 3,250 rocket launchers.
After taking the cities of Stettin , Küstrin and Slubice , the Soviet advance stopped about 60 kilometers east of Berlin, in front of the German defensive lines located along the Oder River.
This pause offered by the Soviets was not used by Hitler to build fortifications or establish evacuation plans for the civilian population. The Führer, taking refuge in the bunker of the German Chancellery, only limited himself to giving final orders: surrender was forbidden and one had to resist to the end . Hitler believed that if the Berliners were not up to the task, they should perish with the Third Reich.
Development of the battle of Berlin
The battle began on April 16, 1945 , when a group of Soviet armies, commanded by Marshal Gueorgui Zhúkov, advanced on the Seelow hills, near the capital. Meanwhile, other Soviet armies attacked from the north and from the south. After fierce fighting, the Soviets took the hills and the Germans fell back to Berlin .
On April 20, Soviet artillery bombarded the capital , destroying the few buildings that were still standing. The city was left without water or electricity, as thousands of Berliners panicked and tried to escape to the west.
On April 22, Hitler ordered General Wenck, who was fighting with his 12th Army in the west against the Americans, to help Berlin. Wenck directed his forces east but was stopped by the Soviets. Considering the battle for the capital lost, Wenck headed with the rest of his army and thousands of civilians towards the Elbe River, where he surrendered to the western allies.
With no options for external reinforcements, Berlin was completely surrounded on the 24th. General Weidling then organized the final defense, but only had 40,000 exhausted and poorly equipped soldiers, who were joined by foreign volunteers (mainly French, Dutch and Spanish) , boys of the Hitler youth, policemen and veterans of the First World War .
One by one, the suburbs of Berlin were occupied by the Soviets, while the civilian population took refuge in basements or in subway tunnels , invaded by smoke.
The Soviets advanced through the avenues of Berlin until they reached the center of the city, where the fighting was fought street to street and house to house .
On April 28, the invaders approached the Chancellery bunker, in which Hitler had repeated outbursts of anger against his generals, whom he described as inept and traitors. In the early morning of April 29, Hitler married his partner, Eva Braun, and then drew up his personal and political will.
On the afternoon of April 30, while Soviet troops attacked the Reichstag (Parliament) building, Eva Braun and Hitler ingested cyanide capsules, after which the Führer shot himself . Immediately the two corpses were doused with gasoline and burned in the backyard of the Chancellery.
After several hours of heavy fighting, Soviet soldiers managed to break through to the roofs of the Reichstag and at night they flew a Soviet flag.
The fighting continued on the morning of May 1 while Magda Goebbels, wife of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, killed her 6 children with cyanide in the Chancellery bunker. Shortly after, the couple committed suicide by shooting themselves in the head.
Encircled by the Soviets, General Weidling surrendered Berlin at 08:45 a.m. on May 2 and radioed for the fighting to stop . However, street fighting continued until the capitulation of Nazi Germany, which occurred on May 8.
That day Hitler’s successor, Admiral Karl Dönitz, signed Germany’s unconditional surrender , first to the Western Allies and then to the Soviet General Staff.
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Aftermath of the Battle of Berlin
The main consequences of the Battle of Berlin were the following:
- Most of the German capital was taken by the Soviets, forcing the defenders to accept their unconditional surrender .
- After the victory, many Soviet soldiers carried out robberies , murders and rapes of German women.
- With the suicides of Hitler, Goebbels and other high German officials, the Nazi Party was left headless .
- The fall of Berlin led to the unconditional surrender of Germany and this meant the destruction of the Third Reich and the end of World War II in Europe .
- The Soviets reported some 400,000 casualties while the Germans lost about 200,000 men. An estimated 150,000 civilians died during the siege of the city.
- The Soviet advance on Berlin triggered a wave of German refugees who surrendered to the Western Allies on the banks of the Elbe River.