Battle of Berlin

The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II.
Starting on 16 January 1945, the Red Armybreached the German front as a result of theVistula–Oder Offensive and advanced westward as much as 40 kilometres a day, through East Prussia,Lower Silesia,East Pomerania, andUpper Silesia, temporarily halting on a line 60 kilometres east of Berlin along theOder River. During the offensive, two Soviet fronts(army groups) attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third overran German forces positioned north of Berlin. The Battle in Berlin lasted from 20 April 1945 until the morning of 2 May and was one of thebloodiest battles in history.
The first defensive preparations at the outskirts of Berlin were on 20 March, when the newly appointed commander of the Army Group Vistula, GeneralGotthard Heinrici, correctly anticipated that the main Soviet thrust would be made over theOder River. Before the main battle in Berlin commenced, the Soviets managed to encircle the city as a result of the battles of theSeelow Heights and Halbe. During 20 April 1945, the1st Belorussian Frontled by MarshalGeorgy Zhukov started shelling Berlin's city centre, while MarshalIvan Konev's1st Ukrainian Fronthad pushed in the north through the last formations ofArmy Group Centre. The German defences were mainly led byHelmuth Weidlingand consisted of several depleted, badly equipped, and disorganised WehrmachtandWaffen-SSdivisions, as well as manyVolkssturmandHitler Youthmembers. Within the next days, the Soviets were rapidly advancing through the city and were reaching the city centre, conquering theReichstagon 30 April after fierce fighting.
Before the battle was over, German Führer Adolf Hitler and a number of his followers committed suicide. The city's defenders finally surrendered on 2 May. However, fighting continued to the north-west, west and south-west of the city until theend of the war in Europeon 8 May (9 May in the Soviet Union) as German units fought westward so that they could surrender to the Western Allies rather than to the Soviets.