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Second World War History > The Fall of Berlin Timline

The Fall of Berlin Timeline

The Soviet Army held little interest in taking prisoners, which seemingly played well into the German mentality of "fighting to the last".

Authored By Staff Writer

The Fall of Berlin was a bloody affair from any angle - military or civilian. As the Red Army noose placed a stranglehold on those unfortunate enough to still reside in the German capital. Some 200,000 German soldiers remained, along with some 2,000,000 German civilians. The Red Army was poised to handle Germany a terrible defeat and the German Army was ready to fight to the last man and woman.


Hitler had already retreated to his underground bunker with his closest associates including propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and soon-to-be-wife, Eva Braun. From this poetic perch, Hitler orchestrated the last days of his renewed German Empire but not before celebrating his 56th, and final, birthday in the Chancellery Gardens by decorating some Hitler Youth - seemingly unaware of the war raging around him.


By this time in the war, the Germany Army was a shell of its former self. Within its ranks of the disciplined were now pensioners, children, criminals and the mentally ill-fit. Such was Hitler's grand army, whom, after some short years, owned half of Europe and portions of Africa before turning his attention on the Red Army and Stalin.


The Allies to the West had made superb progress since Operation Torch in Africa. From there, it was the conquest of Italy and the Normandy beach invasions. Paris fell to the invaders, freeing France. Then came the liberation of Belgium, Holland and The Netherlands, all wrestled away from Hitler's grasp through blood and valor. The Allies repelled the final German offensive in the Battle of the Bulge and now Berlin was ripe for the taking.


Out East, the Soviet Army, after some early setbacks, began steamrolling the aggressive Germans with a taste of their own medicine. Such was the push from an awakened war machine that the Soviet nation represented. Her troops could finally receive the guns, ammunition and mortars that they needed. This along with large stockpiles of tanks, artillery and aircraft. While the Soviet military grew is stature, the German military seemingly shrank in its shadow.


Stalin was convinced of an Allied plan to take Berlin and saw to it that his two top generals felt his anguish - these being Marshals Georgi Zhukov and Ivan Koniev. In a meeting in Moscow, the plan was laid down to march on Berlin in April of 1945 in an attempt to beat the Western Allies to the prize. The offensive was launched in the morning hours of April 16th with a stellar barrage of artillery followed by air attacks, tanks and men. Competition between the two Soviet generals drove them through the German defenses though fighting was bitter and earned in blood.


Soviet forces pushed into the German suburbs before eventually breaking through the final German defenses in Berlin, ultimately capturing the iconic Reichstag administration building.


Hitler preceded to wed Braun and then poisoned both his dog and Braun before committing suicide himself. A day later, Goebbels murdered his six children and wife in similar fashion before taking his own life. With predetermined orders from Hitler, his body and that of Braun were taken to the Chancellery Gardens to be burned. Admiral Doenitz was given Hitler's authority of what was left of Germany. Soviet Army forces came across the burning heaps in the closing hours of the battle.


A fitting end for a man who sought to raise Germany up from the ashes, only to bring her back down and beneath them in little over a decade.


On May 1st, German Generaloberst Hans Krebs approached Soviet General Chuikov with the flag of surrender, formally declaring the unconditional intentions of the German military. The official surrender occurred the following day with General Jodl signing for Germany and Generals Bedell Smith and Suslaparov for the victors.


The war in Europe was over - marked by VE Day on May 8th - but the war in the Pacific against the Empire of Japan would rage on a few more terrible months.

Text ©2006-2012 www.SecondWorldWarhistory.com • All Rights Reserved • No Reproduction Permitted
Total Fall of Berlin Events: 31

1945
Monday
April 16th

The Soviet Army begins its Berlin campaign with spectacular display of artillery, exploding targets throughout Berlin and its surrounding areas. The bombardment signals the beginning of the offensive to take the German capital.

1945
Monday
April 20th

Soviet Army groups advance against German defenses at the Oder River.

1945
Monday
April 20th

Adolph Hitler celebrates his final (56th) birthday, seemingly unaware of the fate to befall him and his Germany.

1945
Tuesday
April 21st

General Zhukov and his 1st Belorussian army break into the Berlin suburbs.

1945
Wednesday
April 22nd

Soviet leader Stalin sends his final assault orders to generals Zhukov and Koniev.

1945
Thursday
April 23rd

The Berlin suburbs gradually fall under Soviet control as fighting rages on everywhere.

1945
Friday
April 24th

German General Wenck of the 12th Army launches a futile counter-offensive against the Soviet onslaught.

1945
Friday
April 24th

The British Royal Air Force slow down the 12th Army offensive through intense bombing.

1945
Saturday
April 25th

The 1st Belorussian Front meets up with the st Ukranian Front, formally encircling Berlin.

1945
Saturday
April 25th

All access points west of the German capital are cutt off by Soviet forces.

1945
Saturday
April 25th

Over 2 million Berlin civilians hunker down for the violent fighting ahead.

1945
Saturday
April 25th

Some 30,000 German soldiers ready themselves for the bloody business of the day.

1945
Saturday
April 25th

Elements of the 5th Guards Army reach the Elbe River at Torgau and celebrate with the arriving US 1st Army.

1945
Sunday
April 26th

Twin Soviet offensives break the final defensive fronts of the Germans.

1945
Sunday
April 26th

Soviet forces advance across the Spree River.

1945
Sunday
April 26th

Soviet forces advance towards Unter den Linden.

1945
Monday
April 27th

General Wenck's 12th Army is halted by the Soviet Army.

1945
Monday
April 27th

The Soviet Army remains just 15 miles from the center of Berlin.

1945
Monday
April 27th

German soldiers set up defensive areas across a small 10 mile long front for their ultimate "last stand".

1945
Monday
April 30th

The Soviets capture the Reichstag.

1945
Monday
April 30th

German leader Adolph Hitler weds his mistress, Eva Braun, in his underground bunker under Berlin. After giving a final speech to his remaining supporters, he poisons his dog, then Braun and ultimately takes his own life. In his will, he leaves his authority to Admiral Doenitz.

1945
Monday
April 30th

The bodies of Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun are taken to the Chancellery Gardens and incinerated under previous orders from Hitler, this to avoid capture and ultimate humiliation at the hands of the progressing Soviet Army.

1945
Tuesday
May 1st

Soviet artillery opens up once again, this time in a massive barrage against the Chancellery and surrounding areas.

1945
Tuesday
May 1st

German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels murders his wife and six children before taking his own life.

1945
Tuesday
May 1st

General Chuikov makes his way into the center of Berlin.

1945
Tuesday
May 1st

German Generaloberst Hans Krebs approaches Chuikov with the formal German surrender.

1945
Tuesday
May 1st

Berlin formally and unconditionally surrenders to the Soviet legions and Western Allies. General Jodl signs for the defeated Germans and Generals Bedell Smith and Suslaparov for the Allies.

1945
Wednesday
May 2nd

German forces across Berlin begin surrendering.

1945
Wednesday
May 2nd

The Fall of Berlin is complete - Soviet forces occupy all major sections of the German capital.

1945
Wednesday
May 2nd

The war in Europe officially comes to a close.

1945
Tuesday
May 8th

This day is formally announced as "VE Day" and celebrations break out across the world, though fighting in the Pacific against the Japanese Empire is ongoing.
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