How many battles were there in World War II

The battle for Berlin in 1945

On April 16, 1945, the Red Army ushered in the near end of the Nazi regime with a pincer attack on Berlin. The 1st Ukrainian Front under Marshal Ivan Konev (1897-1973) overran the German defensive positions on the Lusatian Neisse south of Berlin, while the 1st Belarusian Front under Georgy K. Zhukov bypassed the city in the north after losing battles on the Seelow Heights.

When the first Soviet raiding parties were already penetrating the northeastern outskirts of Berlin, Hitler received parts of the political leadership of the Nazi regime for the last time on the afternoon of April 20 in the bunker under the Reich Chancellery on the occasion of his 56th birthday. While Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Karl Dönitz and Albert Speer preferred to leave Berlin, which was threatened by complete enclosure, in the days that followed, Hitler and his loyal Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann decided to persevere. They were still convinced of the turnaround in the war, to which the death of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12th, regarded as the "stroke of fate", had contributed.

While the Nazi leadership that remained in the bunker was obsessively optimistic in the last days of April, a strangely bizarre doomsday mood spread around them. Hitler repeatedly asked for silence when drunk SS guards danced and celebrated with the secretaries of the Reich Chancellery.

The population sought shelter in cellars and bunkers during the fighting. She gave little credence to the slogans for perseverance with the announcement of a German final victory by relief armies and so-called miracle weapons such as the V rockets, which were issued to the last in combat papers. Around two million inhabitants who remained in the devastated Berlin and were worn down by daily air and artillery attacks only had the desire to survive the inferno that had fallen on them unscathed. Death threatened not only from Soviet grenades. According to an order issued by Hitler on April 22nd, in the last days of the war, countless civilians and soldiers were ruthlessly shot by fanatical commandos of the Waffen SS if they were suspected of weakening the German resistance.

The Soviets only succeeded in advancing into the center of Berlin in comparatively tough street fights with high losses. On April 30, Red Army soldiers hoisted the red flag with hammer and sickle on top of the Reichstag, which had previously been defended by volunteers from the French Waffen SS unit "Charlemagne". A few hundred meters away, Hitler had committed suicide in his bunker hours earlier after he learned that a last attempt at relief by the German 12th Army under General Walther Wenck (1900-1982) had to be broken off the day before near Potsdam. On May 2, 1945, the last scattered Wehrmacht units in the city surrendered their weapons. A week later, the Chief of the Wehrmacht High Command (OKW), Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, signed on 8/9. May the unconditional surrender of all German armed forces at the Soviet headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst.