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Battle of Berlin

Battle of Berlin
Military Conflict
ConflictBattle of Berlin
Date16 April 1945 2 May 1945
LocationBerlin, Germany
ResultDecisive Soviet victory; Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II, dissolution of Nazi Germany.
Soviet Union
Poland Poland
Nazi Germany
1st Belorussian Front
Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
2nd Belorussian Front
Soviet Union Konstantin Rokossovsky

1st Ukrainian Front
Soviet Union Ivan Konev
Soviet Union Vasily Chuikov
Army Group Vistula Germany Gotthard Heinrici Germany Kurt von Tippelskirch

Army Group Centre Germany Ferdinand Schörner

Berlin Defence Area Germany Hellmuth Reymann then Germany Helmuth Weidling[[Image:White 15px
Total strength
2,500,000 soldiers,
6,250 tanks,
7,500 aircraft,
41,600 artillery pieces.
For the investment and assault on the Berlin Defence Area about 1,500,000 soldiers.
Total strength
766,750 soldiers,
1,519 AFVs,
2,224 aircraft
9,303 artillery pieces
In the Berlin Defence Area about 45,000 soldiers, supplemented by the police force, Hitler Youth, and 40,000 Volkssturm.
Archival research
(operational total)
81,116 dead or missing
280,251 sick or wounded
Total casualties: 361,367 men
1,997 tanks,
2,108 artillery pieces,
917 aircraft
Initial Soviet estimates:
458,080 killed,
479,298 captured
Total casualties: 937,378 men
German estimate (Müller):
100,000 killed Inside Berlin Defence Area:
22,000 civilian dead,
about 22,000 military dead

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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 Army breached the German front as a result of the Vistula Oder Offensive and advanced westward as much as 40 kilometres a day, through East Prussia, Lower Silesia, East Pomerania, and Upper Silesia, temporarily halting on a line 60 kilometres east of Berlin along the Oder 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 the bloodiest 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, General Gotthard Heinrici, correctly anticipated that the main Soviet thrust would be made over the Oder River. Before the main battle in Berlin commenced, the Soviets managed to encircle the city as a result of the battles of the Seelow Heights and Halbe. During 20 April 1945, the 1st Belorussian Front led by Marshal Georgy Zhukov started shelling Berlin's city centre, while Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front had pushed in the north through the last formations of Army Group Centre. The German defences were mainly led by Helmuth Weidling and consisted of several depleted, badly equipped, and disorganised Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS divisions, as well as many Volkssturm and Hitler Youth members. Within the next days, the Soviets were rapidly advancing through the city and were reaching the city centre, conquering the Reichstag on 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 the end of the war in Europe on 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.

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