Battle of Berlin

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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.
Date16 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 and took place in Berlin from 16 April to 3 May 1945. The Soviet Union's Red Army, along with Polish forces, captured the city, the capital of Germany. When they captured the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler committed suicide with his new wife by shooting himself in the head and her taking a cyanide pill.

Background[change | change source]

On 12 January 1945, the Soviet and Polish attacked Berlin, and they were on the Oder River, 60 km east of Berlin. The Wehrmacht had few good fighters or good weapons, unlike in 1944.

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

Battle of Seelow Heights[change | change source]

The battle began in the Seelow Heights, 17 km west of the Oder and 45 km east of Berlin. They were well defended by the Wehrmacht. On 16 April, the Red Army and the 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, but 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 until the city surrendered. On 22 April, Hitler, when he knew that the Germans plans had failed, cried in anger, and he knew the war had been lost. One of his generals, Alfred Jodl, thought a link could be formed between the army in Berlin, and the 12th Army, commanded by Walther Wenck, which was fighting the US Army. Hitler agreed to that idea, but the troops could not get to the city.

Fall of Berlin[change | change source]

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, but the plan went badly. Only a few of the expected number of soldiers managed to get through Soviet lines. On April 29, Hitler allowed another attempt at breakout for May 1.

However, on April 30, the Red Army captured the Reichstag and was just 500 m from the Führerbunker. Hitler and several other leaders killed themselves. On May 1, Helmuth Weidling ordered a breakout. One division, the Nordland Division, escaped and was caught outside Berlin.

In the next few days, the various German armies surrendered.