Timeline of the Fall of Berlin (April 16th - May 2nd, 1945)

Timeline of the Fall of Berlin (April 16th - May 2nd, 1945)

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





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. ©www.SecondWorldWarHistory.com




There are a total of (31) entries in the Timeline of the Fall of Berlin (April 16th - May 2nd, 1945). Entries are listed below by earliest date to latest date.


April 16th
1945
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.
April 20th
1945
Soviet Army groups advance against German defenses at the Oder River.
April 20th
1945
Adolf Hitler celebrates his final (56th) birthday, seemingly unaware of the fate to befall him and his Germany.
April 21st
1945
General Zhukov and his 1st Belorussian army break into the Berlin suburbs.
April 22nd
1945
Soviet leader Stalin sends his final assault orders to generals Zhukov and Koniev.
April 23rd
1945
The Berlin suburbs gradually fall under Soviet control as fighting rages on everywhere.
April 24th
1945
German General Wenck of the 12th Army launches a futile counter-offensive against the Soviet onslaught.
April 24th
1945
The British Royal Air Force slow down the 12th Army offensive through intense bombing.
April 25th
1945
The 1st Belorussian Front meets up with the st Ukranian Front, formally encircling Berlin.
April 25th
1945
All access points west of the German capital are cutt off by Soviet forces.
April 25th
1945
Over 2 million Berlin civilians hunker down for the violent fighting ahead.
April 25th
1945
Some 30,000 German soldiers ready themselves for the bloody business of the day.
April 25th
1945
Elements of the 5th Guards Army reach the Elbe River at Torgau and celebrate with the arriving US 1st Army.
April 26th
1945
Twin Soviet offensives break the final defensive fronts of the Germans.
April 26th
1945
Soviet forces advance across the Spree River.
April 26th
1945
Soviet forces advance towards Unter den Linden.
April 27th
1945
General Wenck's 12th Army is halted by the Soviet Army.
April 27th
1945
The Soviet Army remains just 15 miles from the center of Berlin.
April 27th
1945
German soldiers set up defensive areas across a small 10 mile long front for their ultimate "last stand".
April 30th
1945
The Soviets capture the Reichstag.
April 30th
1945
German leader Adolf 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.
April 30th
1945
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.
May 1st
1945
Soviet artillery opens up once again, this time in a massive barrage against the Chancellery and surrounding areas.
May 1st
1945
German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels murders his wife and six children before taking his own life.
May 1st
1945
General Chuikov makes his way into the center of Berlin.
May 1st
1945
German Generaloberst Hans Krebs approaches Chuikov with the formal German surrender.
May 1st
1945
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.
May 2nd
1945
German forces across Berlin begin surrendering.
May 2nd
1945
The Fall of Berlin is complete - Soviet forces occupy all major sections of the German capital.
May 2nd
1945
The war in Europe officially comes to a close.
May 8th
1945
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.