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Duitse troepe gee hulself oor aan Geallieerdes in Italië, terwyl Berlyn oorgee aan Zhukov van Rusland

Duitse troepe gee hulself oor aan Geallieerdes in Italië, terwyl Berlyn oorgee aan Zhukov van Rusland

Op 2 Mei 1945 lê ongeveer 1 miljoen Duitse soldate hul wapens neer terwyl die voorwaardes van die Duitse onvoorwaardelike oorgawe, wat op 29 April by Caserta onderteken is, in werking tree. Dieselfde dag vroeg aanvaar die Russiese maarskalk Georgi K. Zhukov die oorgawe van die Duitse hoofstad. Die Rooi Leër neem 134 000 Duitse soldate gevange.


Wapenstilstand van Cassibile

Die Wapenstilstand van Cassibile [1] was 'n wapenstilstand wat op 3 September 1943 onderteken is en op 8 September tussen die Koninkryk Italië en die Geallieerdes tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog openbaar gemaak is.

Dit is onderteken deur generaal -majoor Walter Bedell Smith vir die Geallieerdes en brigade -generaal Giuseppe Castellano vir Italië tydens 'n konferensie van generaals van beide kante in 'n geallieerde militêre kamp in Cassibile, op Sicilië, wat onlangs deur die Geallieerdes beset was. Die wapenstilstand is goedgekeur deur sowel die Italiaanse koning Victor Emmanuel III as die destydse premier van Italië, maarskalk Pietro Badoglio.

Duitsland het vinnig beweeg, Benito Mussolini bevry en Italiaanse magte in Italië, Suid -Frankryk en die Balkan aangeval. Italiaanse magte is vinnig verslaan, en die grootste deel van Italië is beset deur Duitse troepe, wat 'n marionetstaat, die Italiaanse Sosiale Republiek, gestig het. Intussen het die koning, die regering en die grootste deel van die vloot gebiede bereik wat deur die Geallieerdes beset is.


Nuwe jaar van Duitsland

Duisende Duitse soldate was nog vasgevang agter vyandelike linies toe die kapitulasie plaasgevind het. Hulle het geweet dat die Sowjets hulle geen genade sou gee nie, want hulle oorwinning was heilig en die misdade wat in die Moederland gepleeg is, moet gewreek word. Daarom het hulle hul stryd begin om die geallieerde linies te bereik, in die hoop dat hulle hulle 'n baie makliker behandeling sal gee.

Sowjets in Danzig, Maart 1945.

Die kusvestings naby die stad Danzig (Gdansk) is nog steeds deur Duitsers beman, en hulle veg nou nie vir die oorlogspoging van die Derde Ryk nie, maar om eenvoudige oorlewing. Eers toe hulle op 9 Mei die ammunisie opraak, het hulle hulle aan die Rooi Leër oorgegee.

Ook die oorblyfsels van die Duitse 4de leër wat in die Slag om die Heiligenbeil -sak heeltemal verwoes is, het die hele dag teen die Sowjete gesukkel. Botsings op 9 Mei het nie slegs in gebiede wat deur Sowjet beset was, plaasgevind nie, maar ook op verskeie Griekse eilande waar geïsoleerde Duitsers hulself oorgegee het nadat die oorlog verby was. Daar is berigte dat sommige soldate in Tsjeggo -Slowakye tot 13 Mei verset het.


Inhoud

Na die D-Day landings het Duitse oorgawe aanvanklik redelik stadig gekom. Teen 9 Junie is slegs 4 000 gevangenes geneem, [19] teen 18 Junie tot 15,000. [20] Die totaal vir Junie was 47,000, [21] daal tot 36,000 in Julie [21] 135,000 is geneem in die maand na Julie 25. [22] Augustus se totaal was 150 000. [21] Die totale aantal gevangenes wat aan die veldtog in Normandië toegeskryf is, was 200 000. [23]

Met die suksesvolle inval van die suide van Frankryk op 15 Augustus en die koppeling van die Amerikaanse 7de leër uit die suide en die Amerikaanse 3de leër uit die noorde op 11 September [24], het al die Duitse troepe in Sentraal- en Wes-Frankryk oorgebly afgesny is. As gevolg hiervan, en ook die Duitse troepe wat oorgegee het tydens die gejaag na die noordelike grens van Normandië, het 344.000 Duitse soldate na bewering in September aan die Westerse Geallieerdes oorgegee. [21] As hierdie syfer akkuraat is, [d] sou dit een van die grootste Duitse verliese in 'n enkele maand van die oorlog tot dusver wees. Om dit in perspektief te stel, het 41.000 Britse troepe oorgegee na Duinkerken, [27] 138.000 Britse en Indiese soldate oorgegee in Singapoer, [27] 173.000 Britse weermag het tydens die hele oorlogs krygsgevangenes geword, [28] in Europa en die Verre Ooste , terwyl die ooreenstemmende syfer vir die VSA 130 000 krygsgevangenes was. [28]

Tot 17 Oktober 1944 het 610 541 Duitse soldate aan die Westelike front oorgegee. [29] Tussen 17 Oktober en 5 Februarie 1945 het hierdie totaal van Duitse krygsgevangenes wat in Noordwes-Europa geneem is, toegeneem tot 860,000. [30] 250 000 krygsgevangenes is tussen 17 Oktober en 5 Februarie gevang teen 'n koers van 65 000 per maand. Teen 22 Februarie het 'n verdere 40,000 [31] Duitse soldate oorgegee en die totale aantal van D-Day tot einde Februarie was meer as 940,000. [21]

In Maart 1945 versnel die getal Duitse soldate wat oorgegee het. Eisenhower het gesê dat hulle teen 'n snelheid van tienduisend per dag [32] oorgee, maar dat hulle in die hele maand 350.000 oorgegee het, wat die totaal tussen D-Day en einde Maart 1945 op 1,300,000 beloop. [1] Die rede waarom so baie in Maart oorgegee het, was omdat Hitler nie 'n vloeibare reaksie en ordelike terugtrekking toegelaat het voor die Westelike Geallieerdes se opmars na die Ryn nie, sodat baie Duitse soldate vasgevang was in onverdedigbare posisies wes van die Ryn, waar hulle gedwing is om oor te gee. Eisenhower het op 27 Maart na die Wehrmacht verwys as 'n 'geklopte weermag'. [3] In sy boek Kruistog in Europa, Het Eisenhower geskryf 'Ons het baie aan Hitler te danke', [33] omdat hy sy generaals verhinder het om die verdedigende magte oos van die Ryn terug te trek, waarskynlik nie later as vroeg in Januarie nie, en sodoende die Wes -Geallieerdes 300 000 gevangenes op 'n bord gegee het. [33]

Die verlies van hierdie strydverharde soldate het die Duitse leërs wat onttrek het, onomkeerbaar verswak om die groot natuurlike versperring van die Ryn te verdedig, en die verbrokkeling van die Duitse leërs in die Weste word getoon in hul al hoe vinniger oorgawe as April vorder.

In die eerste vyf dae van April is 146,000 Duitse soldate gevange geneem [34] (teen 'n tempo van 29,000 per dag). In die volgende nege dae is 402 000 [e] gevangenes geneem (44 000 per dag). Tussen 15 en 21 April het meer as 450 000 Duitsers [f] (meer as 60 000 per dag) in die laaste tien dae van die maand oorgegee, meer as 500 000 [g] het die wit vlag gewaai (meer as 50 000 per dag). Vir die hele maand was die gemiddelde koers van die oorgawe van Duitsers 50 000 per dag. [2]

Vanaf D-Day was die getal Duitse soldate wat hulle in Noordwes-Europa oorgegee het, soos volg: 200 000 in Normandië 610 000 tot 17 Oktober 1944 1,3 miljoen tot einde Maart 1945 en 2,8 miljoen tot einde April 1945 , toe Hitler gesterf het.

Duitse krygsgevangenes wat in gevangenskap aangehou is [37]

Gemiddeld gedurende kwartaal Gehou deur Westerse bondgenote
4de kwartaal 1941 6,600
4de kwartaal 1942 22,300
4de kwartaal 1943 200,000
4de kwartaal 1944 730,000
1ste kwartaal 1945 920,000
2de kwartaal 1945 5,440,000
3de kwartaal 1945 6,672,000

Volgens Rüdiger Overmans was die Duitse verliese in die Westerse teater tydens die oorlog, dood en vermis, insluitend gevangenes wat ingesluit is, minder as 1 000 000 mans, ongeveer 20% van die totale verliese van 5,3 miljoen. Overmans stel die verliese in die Weste van 1939-43 op 95,066 en 244,891 in 1944 [38] Die Amerikaanse weermag het egter geraam dat Duitse ongevalle in die weste van D-dag tot V-E-dag waarskynlik gelyk was aan of geringe geallieerde geallieerdes dood en vermis is, wat was 195 000 [39] Die Kanadese skrywer James Bacque beweer in Ander verliese dat die Verenigde State verantwoordelik was vir die dood van 800,000 tot 1,000,000 Duitse krygsgevangenes. Rüdiger Overmans is van mening dat "die tesis van die Kanadese James Bacque nie ondersteun kan word op grond van feitelike individuele gegewens, wat voorheen getoon is nie." Overmans beweer dat die sterftes van die krygsgevangenes in die hande van die Westerse bondgenote 76 000 was. [40]

Datum Duitse krygsgevangenes wat per maand in Noordwes -Europa geneem is Datum Duitse krygsgevangenes in Noordwes -Europa (totaal)
Junie 1944 47,000 [21] Normandië veldtog 200,000 [41]
Julie 36,000 [21] D-dag tot 17 Oktober 610,541 [29]
Augustus 150,000 [21] D-dag tot 9 Februarie 1945 meer as 900 000 [42]
September 344,000 [21] D-dag tot 9 Maart 1,007,000 [21]
Oktober 66,000 [21] D-dag tot 31 Maart 1,300,000 [1]
November 109,000 [21] 1-14 April 547,173 [e]
Desember 60,000 [21] 16 April 97,118 [43]
Januarie 1945 50,000 [21] 1-16 April 775,573 [44]
Februarie 81,000 [21] die Ruhr -sak 316,930 [45]
Maart 340,000 [7] 1-21 April meer as 1 000 000 [f]
April Meer as 1 500 000 [2] D-dag tot 16 April 2,055,575 [46]

In totaal was die aantal Duitse soldate wat tussen D-Day en 30 April 1945 aan die Westelike Geallieerdes in Noordwes-Europa oorgegee het, meer as 2 800 000 (1 300 000 oorgegee tot 31 Maart 1945 en meer as 1 500 000 oorgegee in April).

Op 29 Maart 1945 het Joseph Stalin met alarm aan Marshal Georgy Zhukov gesê: "Die Duitse front in die Weste het heeltemal in duie gestort." [47] Hoewel Stalin nie wou hê dat die Westerse bondgenote sou misluk nie, wou hy nie hê dat hulle die Duitse leërs wat hulle in die gesig staar, kon verslaan voordat hy die Duitse leërs in die Ooste verslaan het nie. Op 27 Maart skryf die korrespondent van Reuters dat die Britse en Amerikaanse leërs wat na die hart van Duitsland is, geen weerstand ondervind nie. [48] ​​Op dieselfde dag het Eisenhower na die Wehrmacht in die Weste verwys as 'n "geklopte leër". [3] Die tye, 27 Maart, [49] berig dat 31,000 Duitsers op 24 Maart oorgegee het en 40,000 op 25 Maart. Die Daily Telegraph skryf op 22 Maart [50] dat 100,000 Duitse gevangenes geneem is sedert die vorige dag die Mosel oorgesteek is, en op 30 Maart [51] dat 60,000 krygsgevangenes die afgelope twee dae geneem is. Tussen 21 en 30 Maart het 231 000 Duitse soldate hulle aan die Westerse leërs oorgegee. Op 31 Maart, tydens 'n ontmoeting met die Amerikaanse ambassadeur W. Averell Harriman, [52] het Stalin baie onder die indruk gekom van die groot aantal gevangenes wat die Geallieerdes in die Weste afgerond het en gesê: 'Dit sal beslis help om die oorlog te voltooi binnekort. "

Stalin se kommer oor die oënskynlike gemak waarmee die Westerse bondgenote soveel Duitse soldate gevange geneem het, het hom teen einde Maart [53] oorreed om sy planne te begin maak vir die aanval op Berlyn op 16 April [54], wat gelei het tot Hitler se selfmoord op 30 April en die einde van die oorlog in Europa. Duitse slagoffers in die Slag van Berlyn (16 April - 2 Mei 1945) is ongeveer 92,000-100,000 dood, 220,000 gewond en 480,000 gevang. Ter vergelyking noem die beskikbare Duitse rekords slegs 2 959 dood en gewond in die Weste (677 vermoor, 2 282 gewondes) vir die tydperk 1-20.4.1945. [9] Alhoewel hierdie rekords onvolledig is, toon dit aan dat die geveg in die Ooste verreweg baie bloediger was as die stryd in die Weste teen die einde van die oorlog.


Bevryding van konsentrasiekampe

Namate die Geallieerdes gevorder het na Duitsland, het hulle die omvang van die Holocaust begin ontdek. Die eerste groot kamp wat deur die geallieerde troepe, Majdanek, teëgekom is, is op 23 Julie 1944 deur die opkomende Sowjette ontdek. Chełmno is op 20 Januarie 1945 deur die Sowjette bevry. Auschwitz, ook deur die Sowjets, is op 27 Januarie bevry, 1945 Buchenwald deur die Amerikaners op 11 April Bergen-Belsen deur die Britte op 15 April Dachau deur die Amerikaners op 29 April Ravensbrück deur die Sowjets op dieselfde dag Mauthausen deur die Amerikaners op 5 Mei en Theresienstadt deur die Sowjets op 8 Mei. Treblinka, Sobibór en Bełżec is nooit bevry nie, maar is vernietig deur die Nazi's in 1943. Kolonel William W. Quinn van die Amerikaanse Sewende Weermag het oor Dachau gesê: “Daar het ons troepe besienswaardighede, geluide en stank gevind wat aaklig was, ongelooflike wreedhede as onbegryplik vir die normale gees. ”

In die meeste kampe wat deur die Sowjets ontdek is, was byna al die gevangenes reeds verwyder en slegs 'n paar duisend lewendig gelaat - 7 600 gevangenes is in Auschwitz gevind, waaronder 180 kinders wat deur dokters geëksperimenteer is. Ongeveer 60 000 gevangenes is in Bergen-Belsen deur die Britse 11de Pantserdivisie ontdek, 13 000 lyke het onbegrawe gelê en nog 10 000 is die volgende weke dood aan tifus of ondervoeding. Die Britte het die oorblywende SS -wagte gedwing om die lyke bymekaar te maak en in massagrafte te plaas.

Die BBC ’s Richard Dimbleby beskryf die tonele wat hom en die Britse leër by Belsen begroet:

Bevryding: honger gevangenes in Mauthausen -kamp op 5 Mei 1945 bevry.


Hoe was dit in die kamer toe Nazi -Duitsland uiteindelik oorgegee het om die Tweede Wêreldoorlog in Europa te beëindig

In die vroeë oggendure van 7 Mei 1945 het die oorblyfsels van Nazi-Duitsland se militêre leierskap 'n onvoorwaardelike oorgawe aan die geallieerde magte onderteken.

Toe die nuus die volgende dag bekend word, het troepe en burgerlikes regoor die wêreld die Dag van Oorwinning in Europa gevier - die Sowjetunie sou op 9 Mei die Dag van Oorwinning wees - uitbundig oor die einde van byna ses jaar oorlog wat 'n groot deel van Europa verwoes het.

Toe Duitse en geallieerde militêre amptenare weer omstreeks middernag op 8 Mei in Berlyn bymekaarkom om dokumente oor te gee, was die atmosfeer in die kamer emosioneel en polities groot.

Die Duitsers, kenmerkend ernstig, het die verrigtinge deurgemaak in 'n mengsel van bedanking en wrok, terwyl die Sowjets, Amerikaners en ander bondgenote verlig was na die oorlog se einde. Almal was onseker wat volgende sou gebeur.

Die deurdringende geskiedenis van die historikus Antony Beevor van die laaste maande aan die oostelike front, "The Fall of Berlin 1945", het die stemming in die kamer aangegryp toe oorwinnaars en oorwinnaars bymekaargekom het om hul konflik tot 'n einde te bring:

Die Duitse afvaardiging het toe die kamer binnegegaan, en sy lede lyk beide 'bedank' en 'imperiaal'.

Veldmaarskalk Wilhelm Keitel, bevelvoerder van die Nazi -weermag gedurende die laaste dae van die oorlog, "het baie reguit in sy stoel gesit, met gebalde vuiste," skryf Beevor. 'Net agter hom 'n lang Duitse stafoffisier wat onder aandag staan' huil sonder dat 'n enkele spier van sy gesig beweeg '.

Genl. Georgy Zhukov, 'n senior Sowjet -bevelvoerder tydens die laaste dae van die oorlog, het die Duitsers genooi om 'die daad van kapitulasie te onderteken'. Keitel, ongeduldig, beduie dat die dokumente na hom gebring moet word. 'Sê vir hulle dat hulle hier moet kom teken,' het Zhukov gesê.

Keitel stap toe om te teken, terwyl hy "opspraakwekkend" sy handskoene uittrek, onbewus daarvan dat die verteenwoordiger van die hoof van die geheime polisie van Stalin, die NKVD, net oor sy skouer hang.

"'Die Duitse afvaardiging mag die saal verlaat,' 'het Zhukov gesê nadat die ondertekening voltooi was, skryf Beevor en voeg by:

Die chaos van die oorlog het opgehou, maar vir Sowjets en Duitsers sou ander ontberings kom.

Zhukov, lank 'n vertroueling van Stalin, het tydens die oorlog heerlikheid verwerf vir sy bevel, maar sou hom binnekort op die uitkyk vind met die Mercuriale Sowjetleier.

Keitel sal teregstaan ​​op oorlogsmisdade, insluitend misdade teen die mensdom. Hy is skuldig bevind en in Oktober 1946 opgehang. Soos ander Nazi -leiers wat gehang is, het Keitel se liggaam nie met genoeg krag geval om sy nek te breek nie. Hy hang 24 minute lank aan die einde van die tou van die hangman voordat hy sterf.

Duitsers, baie van hulle onder die Sowjetunie, sou sukkel om fisies uit die oorlog en emosioneel te herbou uit hul ontmoeting met die geallieerdes - veral Sowjet -soldate. Berlyn, gebuffer deur twee weke van intense stedelike gevegte, is verpletter.

Die begeerte van die Sowjetunie na politieke wraak en ekonomiese voordeel het daartoe gelei dat 'n groot deel van die infrastruktuur en hulpbronne van Oos -Duitsland gestamp of gestroop word.


Inhoud

Op 12 Januarie 1945 begin die Rooi Leër met die Vistula-Oder-offensief oorkant die Narewrivier en vanaf Warskou 'n operasie van drie dae op 'n breë front, waarin vier weermagfronte opgeneem is. [16] Op die vierde dag het die Rooi Leër uitgebreek en weswaarts begin beweeg, tot 30 tot 40 km per dag, met Oos -Pruise, Danzig en Poznań op 'n lyn van 60 km ( 37 myl) oos van Berlyn langs die Oderrivier. [17]

Die nuutgeskepte weermaggroep Vistula, onder bevel van Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, [18] het 'n teenaanval probeer, maar dit het teen 24 Februarie misluk. [19] Die Rooi Leër ry toe verder na Pommeren, maak die regteroewer van die Oderrivier skoon en bereik sodoende Silesië. [17]

In die suide het die beleg van Boedapest plaasgevind. Drie Duitse afdelings se pogings om die omsingelde Hongaarse hoofstad te verlig, misluk, en Boedapest val op 13 Februarie aan die Sowjetunie. [20] Adolf Hitler dring aan op 'n teenaanval om die Drau-Donau-driehoek te herower. [21] Die doel was om die oliestreek van Nagykanizsa te beveilig en die Donau te herwin vir toekomstige operasies, [22] maar die uitgeputte Duitse magte het 'n onmoontlike taak gekry. [23] Teen 16 Maart het die Duitse Balaton-offensief misluk, en 'n teenaanval deur die Rooi Leër het binne 24 uur alles teruggeneem wat die Duitsers tien dae geneem het om te wen. [24] Op 30 Maart het die Sowjets Oostenryk binnegegaan en in die Weense Offensief het hulle Wene op 13 April ingeneem. [25]

Tussen Junie en September 1944 het die Wehrmacht meer as 'n miljoen man verloor, en dit het nie die nodige brandstof en wapens gehad om effektief te werk nie. [26] Op 12 April 1945 het Hitler, wat vroeër besluit het om in die stad te bly teen die wense van sy adviseurs, die nuus gehoor dat die Amerikaanse president Franklin D. Roosevelt oorlede is. [27] Dit het kortliks valse hoop in die Führerbunker dat daar dalk nog 'n uitval onder die Geallieerdes sou wees en dat Berlyn op die laaste oomblik gered sou word, soos een keer tevore gebeur het toe Berlyn bedreig is (sien die Miracle of the House of Brandenburg). [28]

Die Wes -Geallieerdes het geen planne gemaak om die stad deur 'n grondoperasie in beslag te neem nie. [29] Die opperbevelhebber [Westelike] Geallieerde ekspedisiemag, generaal Eisenhower, het die belangstelling in die wedloop na Berlyn verloor en het geen behoefte meer gehad om ongevalle te ly deur 'n stad aan te val wat na die oorlog in die Sowjet -invloedsfeer sou wees nie, [30] die voorstelling van buitensporige vriendelike vuur as albei leërs probeer om die stad tegelyk te beset. [31] Die belangrikste bydrae van die Wes -Geallieerde tot die geveg was die bombardement van Berlyn gedurende 1945. [32] Gedurende 1945 het die Amerikaanse weermag se lugmag baie groot aanvalle op Berlyn geloods en 36 nagte agtereenvolgens het talle RAF -muskiete die bom gebombardeer. Duitse hoofstad, eindig in die nag van 20/21 April 1945 net voordat die Sowjets die stad binnegekom het. [33]

Die Sowjet -offensief na Sentraal -Duitsland, wat later Oos -Duitsland geword het, het twee doelwitte gehad. Stalin het nie geglo dat die Westerse geallieerdes gebied wat hulle in die naoorlogse Sowjet-gebied beset het, sou oorhandig nie, daarom begin hy die offensief op 'n breë front en beweeg vinnig om die Westerse bondgenote so ver wes as moontlik te ontmoet. Maar die belangrikste doel was om Berlyn te verower. [34] Die twee doele was aanvullend omdat die besit van die sone nie vinnig gewen kon word nie, tensy Berlyn ingeneem is. 'N Ander oorweging was dat Berlyn self nuttige na-oorlogse strategiese bates besit, waaronder Adolf Hitler en die Duitse kernwapenprogram. [35] Op 6 Maart stel Hitler luitenant -generaal Helmuth Reymann aan as bevelvoerder van die Berlynse verdedigingsgebied, en vervang luitenant -generaal Bruno Ritter von Hauenschild. [36]

Op 20 Maart is generaal Gotthard Heinrici aangestel as die opperbevelhebber van die weermaggroep Vistula in die plek van Himmler. [37] Heinrici was een van die beste verdedigingstaktici in die Duitse weermag, en hy het onmiddellik verdedigingsplanne begin maak. Heinrici het korrek beoordeel dat die belangrikste Sowjet-aanslag oor die Oderrivier en langs die hoof-oos-wes-snelweg sou plaasvind. [38] Hy het besluit om nie die oewer van die Oder te probeer verdedig met iets meer as 'n ligte skermutseling nie. In plaas daarvan het Heinrici gereël dat ingenieurs die Seelow Heights versterk, wat uitkyk op die Oderrivier op die punt waar die Autobahn hulle oorgesteek het. [39] Dit was 'n entjie 17 km (11 myl) wes van die Oder en 90 km (56 myl) oos van Berlyn. Heinrici het op ander gebiede die lyn uitgedun om die beskikbare mannekrag te vergroot om die hoogtes te verdedig. Duitse ingenieurs het die Oder se vloedvlakte, reeds versadig deur die lentedooi, in 'n moeras verander deur die water stroomopwaarts uit 'n reservoir te laat kom. Agter die vlakte op die plato het die ingenieurs drie gordels van verdedigingsplekke [39] gebou wat terugstrek na die buitewyke van Berlyn (die lyne nader aan Berlyn is die Wotan posisie). [40] Hierdie lyne bestaan ​​uit slote teen tenks, teen-tenkgeweer en 'n uitgebreide netwerk van loopgrawe en bunkers. [39] [40]

Op 9 April, na 'n lang weerstand, val Königsberg in Oos -Pruise aan die Rooi Leër. Dit het Marshal Rokossovsky se 2de Wit -Russiese front bevry om weswaarts na die oostelike oewer van die Oder -rivier te beweeg. [41] Marshal Georgy Zhukov konsentreer sy 1ste Wit -Russiese front, wat langs die Oderrivier van Frankfurt (Oder) in die suide tot by die Baltiese gebied ontplooi is, tot 'n gebied voor die Seelow Heights. [42] Die 2de Wit -Russiese front verhuis na die posisies wat deur die 1ste Wit -Russiese front noord van die Seelow Heights ontruim word. Terwyl hierdie herontplooiing aan die gang was, is daar leemtes in die lyne gelaat en kon die oorblyfsels van generaal Dietrich von Saucken se Duitse II leër, wat in 'n sak naby Danzig gebottel was, daarin slaag om in die Vistula -delta te ontsnap. [43] In die suide het marskalk Konev die hoofgewig van die 1ste Oekraïense Front van Bo-Silesië en noordwes na die Neisse-rivier verskuif. [3]

Die drie Sowjet-fronte het altesaam 2,5 miljoen mans (insluitend 78,556 soldate van die 1ste Poolse leër), 6,250 tenks, 7500 vliegtuie, 41,600 artilleriestukke en mortiere, 3,255 Katyusha-vuurpylwerpers (met die bynaam 'Stalin's Pipe Organs') en 95,383 motorvoertuie, baie vervaardig in die VSA. [3]

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  • 1 Jäger -afdeling
  • 1 valskerm afdeling
  • 1 Kampfgruppe
  • 54 geweerafdelings
  • 16 wagte maak gewere afdelings
  • 5 infanteriedivisies (Pools)
  • 3 wagte kavallerie afdelings
  • 3 gemeganiseerde brigades
  • 6 wagte gemeganiseerde brigades
  • 7 tenkbrigades
  • 10 wagte tenkbrigades
  • 1 gepantserde brigade (Pools)
  • 2 gemotoriseerde geweerbrigades
  • 13 infanterie -afdelings
  • 3 panzer afdelings
  • 1 Reichsarbeitsdienst -afdeling
  • 1 SS -polisie -afdeling
  • 1 SS grenadier afdeling
  • 1 lugafdeling
  • 2 Kampfgruppen
  • 26 geweerafdelings
  • 15 wagte maak gewere afdelings
  • 5 infanteriedivisies (Pools)
  • 3 wagte kavallerie afdelings
  • 1 wagte lugafdeling
  • 9 wagte gemeganiseerde brigades
  • 3 gemeganiseerde brigades
  • 4 wagte gemotoriseerde geweerbrigades
  • 1 pantserkorps (Pools)
  • 4 tenkbrigades
  • 10 wagte tenkbrigades
  • 1 gemotoriseerde geweerbrigade

Die sektor waarin die meeste gevegte in die algehele offensief plaasgevind het, was die Seelow Heights, die laaste groot verdedigingslinie buite Berlyn. [40] Die Slag van die Seelow Heights, wat van 16 tot 19 April oor vier dae geveg is, was een van die laaste veldslae van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog: byna 'n miljoen Rooi Leërsoldate en meer as 20.000 tenks en artilleriestukke is ontplooi om te breek deur die "Hekke na Berlyn", wat deur ongeveer 100,000 Duitse soldate en 1200 tenks en gewere verdedig is. [44] [45] Die Sowjet -magte onder leiding van Zhukov het deur die verdedigingsposisies gebreek, nadat hulle ongeveer 30,000 dooies gely het, [46] [47] terwyl 12,000 Duitse personeel gedood is. [47]

Gedurende 19 April, die vierde dag, breek die 1ste Wit -Russiese front deur die laaste lyn van die Seelow Heights en niks anders as gebroke Duitse formasies lê tussen hulle en Berlyn nie. [48] ​​Die 1ste Oekraïense Front, wat Forst die vorige dag gevange geneem het, was besig om in die oop land te waai. [49] Een kragtige stoot deur Gordov se 3de garde-leër en Rybalko se derde en Lelyushenko se vierde tenk-leërs was noord-oos na Berlyn, terwyl ander leërs weswaarts op pad was na 'n gedeelte van die Amerikaanse weermag se frontlyn suidwes van Berlyn aan die Elbe . [50] Met hierdie vordering het die Sowjet -magte 'n wig gedryf tussen Army Group Vistula in die noorde en Army Group Center in die suide. [50] Teen die einde van die dag het die Duitse oostelike frontlyn noord van Frankfurt rondom Seelow en in die suide rondom Forst opgehou bestaan. Hierdie deurbrake het die twee Sowjetfronte toegelaat om die Duitse 9de leër in 'n groot sak wes van Frankfurt te omhul. Pogings deur die 9de weermag om na die weste uit te breek, het gelei tot die Slag van Halbe. [45] Die koste vir die Sowjet -magte was baie hoog, met meer as 2 807 tenks wat tussen 1 en 19 April verlore gegaan het, waaronder minstens 727 in die Seelow Heights. [51]

Intussen het RAF Mosquitos in die nagte van 15 April (105 bomwerpers), 17 April (61 bomwerpers), 18 April (57 bomwerpers), 19 April (79 bomwerpers), 20 April (78 bomwerpers). [52]

Op 20 April 1945, Hitler se 56ste verjaardag, het die Sowjet -artillerie van die 1ste Wit -Russiese Front Berlyn begin beskiet en het nie opgehou totdat die stad oorgegee het nie. Die gewig van die ammunisie wat deur die Sowjet -artillerie tydens die geveg gelewer is, was groter as die totale hoeveelheid wat deur Westerse geallieerde bomwerpers op die stad laat val het. [53] Terwyl die 1ste Wit-Russiese front na die ooste en noord-ooste van die stad gevorder het, het die 1ste Oekraïense Front die laaste formasies van die noordelike vleuel van die Army Group Center deurgedring en noord van Juterbog verby, ver halfpad na die Amerikaanse front lyn op die Elbe by Magdeburg. [54] In die noorde tussen Stettin en Schwedt val die 2de Wit -Russiese front die noordelike flank van die weermaggroep Vistula aan, wat deur Hasso von Manteuffel se III Panzer -leër gehou word. [51] Die volgende dag het Bogdanov se 2de Guards Tank Army byna 50 km noord van Berlyn gevorder en daarna suidwes van Werneuchen aangeval. Die Sowjet -plan was om Berlyn eers te omsingel en dan die IX -leër te omhul. [55]

Die bevel van die Duitse V -korps, vasgevang by die IX -leër noord van Forst, het oorgegaan van die IV Panzer Army na die IX Army. Die korps het nog steeds vasgehou aan die voorlyn van die snelweg Berlyn-Cottbus. [56] Veldmaarskalk Ferdinand Schörner se Army Group Center het 'n teen-offensief geloods wat daarop gemik was om uit die suide na Berlyn deur te breek en 'n suksesvolle aanvanklike inval (die Slag van Bautzen) in die 1ste Oekraïense Front-streek te betrek, wat die 2de Poolse leër en elemente betrek. van die Rooi Leër se 52ste en 5de Garde -leër. [57] Toe die ou suidelike flank van die IV Panzer Army 'n paar plaaslike suksesse met teenaanval noord teen die 1ste Oekraïense Front behaal het, het Hitler bevel gegee dat sy begrip van die militêre werklikheid heeltemal verdwyn het. Hy het die IX -leër beveel om Cottbus vas te hou en 'n voorkant in die weste te vestig. [58] Toe sou hulle die Sowjet -kolomme aanval wat noordwaarts trek. Dit sou hulle vermoedelik 'n noordelike knyptang kon vorm wat die IV Panzer Army uit die suide sou ontmoet en die 1ste Oekraïense Front sou omhul voordat dit vernietig sou word. [59] Hulle sou 'n suidwaartse aanval deur die III Panzer Army verwag en gereed wees om die suidelike arm te wees van 'n knypaanval wat die 1ste Wit-Russiese Front sou omhul, wat vernietig sou word deur die SS-generaal Felix Steiner se Army Detachment wat noord van Berlyn. [60] Later op die dag, toe Steiner verduidelik dat hy nie die afdelings het om dit te doen nie, het Heinrici dit aan Hitler se personeel duidelik gemaak dat tensy die IX -leër onmiddellik terugtrek, dit deur die Sowjets omhul sou word. Hy het beklemtoon dat dit reeds te laat was om noord-wes na Berlyn te trek en dat dit weswaarts sou moes terugtrek. [60] Heinrici het verder gesê dat as Hitler nie toelaat dat dit weswaarts beweeg nie, hy sou vra om van sy bevel onthef te word. [61]

Op 22 April 1945, tydens sy middag -situasiekonferensie, het Hitler in tranerige woede verval toe hy besef dat sy planne, wat die vorige dag voorberei is, nie bereik kan word nie. Hy verklaar dat die oorlog verlore is, en blameer die generaals vir die nederlaag en dat hy tot die einde in Berlyn sal bly en homself dan sal doodmaak. [62]

In 'n poging om Hitler uit sy woede te lok, het generaal Alfred Jodl bespiegel dat generaal Walther Wenck se XII -leër, wat voor die Amerikaners was, na Berlyn kon verhuis omdat die Amerikaners, reeds aan die Elbe -rivier, waarskynlik nie verder ooswaarts sou beweeg nie. Hierdie aanname was gebaseer op sy kyk na die vasgelegde Eclipse -dokumente, wat die verdeling van Duitsland onder die Geallieerdes georganiseer het. [63] Hitler het die idee onmiddellik begryp, en binne 'n paar uur is Wenck beveel om van die Amerikaners los te kom en die XII-leër noordoos te skuif om Berlyn te ondersteun. [60] Toe is besef dat as die IX -leër weswaarts sou beweeg, dit kon skakel met die XII -leër. Heinrici het die aand toestemming gekry om die skakel te maak. [64]

Elders het die 2de Wit -Russiese front 'n brughoof van 15 km (9 myl) diep op die westelike oewer van die Oder gevestig en was sterk betrokke by die III Panzer Army. [65] Die IX -leër het Cottbus verloor en is uit die ooste gedruk. 'N Sowjet -tenkspies was aan die Havelrivier oos van Berlyn, en 'n ander het op 'n stadium die binneste verdedigingsring van Berlyn binnegedring. [66]

Die hoofstad was nou binne die gebied van veldartillerie. 'N Sowjet -oorlogskorrespondent, in die styl van die Sowjet -joernalistiek van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, het die volgende verslag gegee van 'n belangrike gebeurtenis wat op 22 April 1945 om 08:30 plaaslike tyd plaasgevind het: [67]

Op die mure van die huise het ons die aantrekkingskrag van Goebbels gesien, haastig in wit verf geskraap: 'Elke Duitser sal sy hoofstad verdedig. Ons sal die Rooi hordes by die mure van ons Berlyn stop. ' Probeer hulle net stop!

Staalkassies, versperrings, myne, lokvalle, selfmoordgroepe met granate in hul hande - alles word eenkant voor die vloedgolf gevee.
Druipende reën het begin val. Naby Biesdorf het ek gesien hoe batterye besig is om voor te berei.
"Wat is die teikens?" Ek het die battery bevelvoerder gevra.
'Sentrum van Berlyn, Spree -brûe en die noordelike en Stettin -treinstasies,' antwoord hy.
Toe kom die geweldige bevelwoorde: 'Open vuur op die hoofstad van Fascistiese Duitsland.'
Ek het die tyd opgemerk. Dit was presies 08:30 op 22 April. Ses-en-negentig skulpe val in die loop van 'n paar minute in die sentrum van Berlyn.

Op 23 April 1945 het die Sowjet -1ste Wit -Russiese front en 1ste Oekraïense front die omsingeling verskerp en die laaste skakel tussen die Duitse IX -leër en die stad verbreek. [66] Elemente van die 1ste Oekraïense Front het steeds weswaarts beweeg en die Duitse XII -leër na Berlyn begin betrek. Op dieselfde dag het Hitler generaal Helmuth Weidling aangestel as die bevelvoerder van die Verdedigingsgebied van Berlyn, en vervang luitenant -generaal Reymann. [68] Intussen het elemente van 1ste Wit -Russiese front en 1ste Oekraïense front teen 24 April 1945 die omsingeling van die stad voltooi. [69] Binne die volgende dag, 25 April 1945, is die Sowjet-belegging van Berlyn gekonsolideer, met vooraanstaande Sowjet-eenhede wat die S-Bahn-verdedigingsring ondersoek en binnedring. [70] Teen die einde van die dag was dit duidelik dat die Duitse verdediging van die stad niks anders kon doen as om die verowering van die stad deur die Sowjets tydelik te vertraag nie, aangesien die beslissende stadiums van die geveg reeds geveg en verlore was deur die Duitsers buite die stad. [71] Teen daardie tyd was die offensief van Schörner, aanvanklik suksesvol, meestal in die wiele gery, hoewel hy daarin geslaag het om die opponerende Poolse en Sowjet -eenhede aansienlik ongevalle te berokken, wat hul vordering vertraag. [57]

Die magte wat vir generaal Weidling beskikbaar was vir die verdediging van die stad, het ongeveer 45 000 soldate ingesluit in verskeie ernstig uitgeputte Duitse leër- en Waffen-SS-afdelings. [5] Hierdie afdelings is aangevul deur die polisiemag, seuns in die verpligte Hitler -jeug en die Volkssturm. [5] Baie van die 40 000 bejaarde mans van die Volkssturm was as jong mans in die weermag en sommige was veterane van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog SS Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke, die strydbevelvoerder vir die sentrale regeringsdistrik wat die Rykskanselier insluit Führerbunker. [72] Hy het meer as 2 000 man onder sy bevel gehad. [5] [n] Weidling organised the defences into eight sectors designated 'A' through to 'H' each one commanded by a colonel or a general, but most had no combat experience. [5] To the west of the city was the 20th Infantry Division. To the north of the city was the 9th Parachute Division. [73] To the north-east of the city was the Panzer Division Müncheberg. To the south-east of the city and to the east of Tempelhof Airport was the 11th SS Panzergrenadier Division Nordland. [74] The reserve, 18th Panzergrenadier Division, was in Berlin's central district. [75]

On 23 April, Berzarin's 5th Shock Army and Katukov's 1st Guards Tank Army assaulted Berlin from the south-east and, after overcoming a counter-attack by the German LVI Panzer Corps, reached the Berlin S-Bahn ring railway on the north side of the Teltow Canal by the evening of 24 April. [50] During the same period, of all the German forces ordered to reinforce the inner defences of the city by Hitler, only a small contingent of French SS volunteers under the command of SS Brigadeführer Gustav Krukenberg arrived in Berlin. [76] During 25 April, Krukenberg was appointed as the commander of Defence Sector C, the sector under the most pressure from the Soviet assault on the city. [77]

On 26 April, Chuikov's 8th Guards Army and the 1st Guards Tank Army fought their way through the southern suburbs and attacked Tempelhof Airport, just inside the S-Bahn defensive ring, where they met stiff resistance from the Müncheberg Division. [76] But by 27 April, the two understrength divisions (Müncheberg en Nordland) that were defending the south-east, now facing five Soviet armies—from east to west, the 5th Shock Army, the 8th Guards Army, the 1st Guards Tank Army and Rybalko's 3rd Guards Tank Army (part of the 1st Ukrainian Front)—were forced back towards the centre, taking up new defensive positions around Hermannplatz. [78] Krukenberg informed General Hans Krebs, Chief of the General Staff of (OKH) that within 24 hours the Nordland would have to fall back to the centre sector Z (for Zentrum). [79] [80] The Soviet advance to the city centre was along these main axes: from the south-east, along the Frankfurter Allee (ending and stopped at the Alexanderplatz) from the south along Sonnenallee ending north of the Belle-Alliance-Platz, from the south ending near the Potsdamer Platz and from the north ending near the Reichstag. [81] The Reichstag, the Moltke bridge, Alexanderplatz, and the Havel bridges at Spandau saw the heaviest fighting, with house-to-house and hand-to-hand combat. The foreign contingents of the SS fought particularly hard, because they were ideologically motivated and they believed that they would not live if captured. [82]

Battle for the Reichstag

In the early hours of 29 April the Soviet 3rd Shock Army crossed the Moltke bridge and started to fan out into the surrounding streets and buildings. [83] The initial assaults on buildings, including the Ministry of the Interior, were hampered by the lack of supporting artillery. It was not until the damaged bridges were repaired that artillery could be moved up in support. [84] At 04:00 hours, in the Führerbunker, Hitler signed his last will and testament and, shortly afterwards, married Eva Braun. [85] At dawn the Soviets pressed on with their assault in the south-east. After very heavy fighting they managed to capture Gestapo headquarters on Prinz-Albrechtstrasse, but a Waffen-SS counter-attack forced the Soviets to withdraw from the building. [86] To the south-west the 8th Guards Army attacked north across the Landwehr canal into the Tiergarten. [87]

By the next day, 30 April, the Soviets had solved their bridging problems and with artillery support at 06:00 they launched an attack on the Reichstag, but because of German entrenchments and support from 12.8 cm guns 2 km (1.2 mi) away on the roof of the Zoo flak tower, close by Berlin Zoo, it was not until that evening that the Soviets were able to enter the building. [88] The Reichstag had not been in use since it had burned in February 1933 and its interior resembled a rubble heap more than a government building. The German troops inside made excellent use of this and were heavily entrenched. [89] Fierce room-to-room fighting ensued. At that point there was still a large contingent of German soldiers in the basement who launched counter-attacks against the Red Army. [89] On 2 May 1945 the Red Army controlled the building entirely. [90] The famous photo of the two soldiers planting the flag on the roof of the building is a re-enactment photo taken the day after the building was taken. [91] To the Soviets the event as represented by the photo became symbolic of their victory demonstrating that the Battle of Berlin, as well as the Eastern Front hostilities as a whole, ended with the total Soviet victory. [92] As the 756th Regiment's commander Zinchenko had stated in his order to Battalion Commander Neustroev ". the Supreme High Command . and the entire Soviet People order you to erect the victory banner on the roof above Berlin". [89]

Battle for the centre

During the early hours of 30 April, Weidling informed Hitler in person that the defenders would probably exhaust their ammunition during the night. Hitler granted him permission to attempt a breakout through the encircling Red Army lines. [93] That afternoon, Hitler and Braun committed suicide and their bodies were cremated not far from the bunker. [94] In accordance with Hitler's last will and testament, Admiral Karl Dönitz became the "President of the Reich" (Reichspräsident) and Joseph Goebbels became the new Chancellor of the Reich (Reichskanzler). [95]

As the perimeter shrank and the surviving defenders fell back, they became concentrated into a small area in the city centre. By now there were about 10,000 German soldiers in the city centre, which was being assaulted from all sides. One of the other main thrusts was along Wilhelmstrasse on which the Air Ministry, built of reinforced concrete, was pounded by large concentrations of Soviet artillery. [88] The remaining German Tiger tanks of the Hermann von Salza battalion took up positions in the east of the Tiergarten to defend the centre against Kuznetsov's 3rd Shock Army (which although heavily engaged around the Reichstag was also flanking the area by advancing through the northern Tiergarten) and the 8th Guards Army advancing through the south of the Tiergarten. [96] These Soviet forces had effectively cut the sausage-shaped area held by the Germans in half and made any escape attempt to the west for German troops in the centre much more difficult. [97]

During the early hours of 1 May, Krebs talked to General Chuikov, commander of the Soviet 8th Guards Army, [98] informing him of Hitler's death and a willingness to negotiate a citywide surrender. [99] They could not agree on terms because of Soviet insistence on unconditional surrender and Krebs' claim that he lacked authorisation to agree to that. [100] Goebbels was against surrender. In the afternoon, Goebbels and his wife killed their children and then themselves. [101] Goebbels's death removed the last impediment which prevented Weidling from accepting the terms of unconditional surrender of his garrison, but he chose to delay the surrender until the next morning to allow the planned breakout to take place under the cover of darkness. [102]

Breakout and surrender

On the night of 1/2 May, most of the remnants of the Berlin garrison attempted to break out of the city centre in three different directions. Only those that went west through the Tiergarten and crossed the Charlottenbrücke (a bridge over the Havel) into Spandau succeeded in breaching Soviet lines. [103] Only a handful of those who survived the initial breakout made it to the lines of the Western Allies—most were either killed or captured by the Red Army's outer encirclement forces west of the city. [104] Early in the morning of 2 May, the Soviets captured the Reich Chancellery. General Weidling surrendered with his staff at 06:00 hours. He was taken to see General Vasily Chuikov at 08:23, where Weidling ordered the city's defenders to surrender to the Soviets. [105]

The 350-strong garrison of the Zoo flak tower left the building. There was sporadic fighting in a few isolated buildings where some SS troops still refused to surrender, but the Soviets reduced such buildings to rubble. [106]

Hitler's Nero Decree

The city's food supplies had been largely destroyed on Hitler's orders. 128 of the 226 bridges had been blown up and 87 pumps rendered inoperative. "A quarter of the subway stations were under water, flooded on Hitler's orders. Thousands and thousands who had sought shelter in them had drowned when the SS had carried out the blowing up of the protective devices on the Landwehr Canal." [107] Workers had sabotaged and prevented the blowing up of the Klingenberg power station, the Johannisthal waterworks, and other pumping stations, railroad facilities, and bridges prepared with dynamite by the SS in the last days of the war. [107]

At some point on 28 April or 29 April, General Heinrici, Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Vistula, was relieved of his command after disobeying Hitler's direct orders to hold Berlin at all costs and never order a retreat, and was replaced by General Kurt Student. [108] General Kurt von Tippelskirch was named as Heinrici's interim replacement until Student could arrive and assume control. There remains some confusion as to who was in command, as some references say that Student was captured by the British and never arrived. [109] Regardless of whether von Tippelskirch or Student was in command of Army Group Vistula, the rapidly deteriorating situation that the Germans faced meant that Army Group Vistula's coordination of the armies under its nominal command during the last few days of the war was of little significance. [110]

On the evening of 29 April, Krebs contacted General Alfred Jodl (Supreme Army Command) by radio: [100]

Request immediate report. Firstly of the whereabouts of Wenck's spearheads. Secondly of time intended to attack. Thirdly of the location of the IX Army. Fourthly of the precise place in which the IX Army will break through. Fifthly of the whereabouts of General Rudolf Holste's spearhead.

In the early morning of 30 April, Jodl replied to Krebs: [100]

Firstly, Wenck's spearhead bogged down south of Schwielow Lake. Secondly, the XII Army therefore unable to continue attack on Berlin. Thirdly, bulk of the IX Army surrounded. Fourthly, Holste's Corps on the defensive.

Noord

While the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front encircled Berlin, and started the battle for the city itself, Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front started his offensive to the north of Berlin. On 20 April between Stettin and Schwedt, Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front attacked the northern flank of Army Group Vistula, held by the III Panzer Army. [51] By 22 April, the 2nd Belorussian Front had established a bridgehead on the east bank of the Oder that was over 15 km (9 mi) deep and was heavily engaged with the III Panzer Army. [66] On 25 April, the 2nd Belorussian Front broke through III Panzer Army's line around the bridgehead south of Stettin, crossed the Randowbruch Swamp, and were now free to move west towards Montgomery's British 21st Army Group and north towards the Baltic port of Stralsund. [111]

The German III Panzer Army and the German XXI Army situated to the north of Berlin retreated westwards under relentless pressure from Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front, and was eventually pushed into a pocket 32 km (20 mi) wide that stretched from the Elbe to the coast. [65] To their west was the British 21st Army Group (which on 1 May broke out of its Elbe bridgehead and had raced to the coast capturing Wismar and Lübeck), to their east Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front and to the south was the United States Ninth Army which had penetrated as far east as Ludwigslust and Schwerin. [112]

Suid

The successes of the 1st Ukrainian Front during the first nine days of the battle meant that by 25 April, they were occupying large swathes of the area south and south-west of Berlin. Their spearheads had met elements of the 1st Belorussian Front west of Berlin, completing the investment of the city. [111] Meanwhile, the 58th Guards Rifle Division of the 5th Guards Army in 1st Ukrainian Front made contact with the 69th Infantry Division (United States) of the United States First Army near Torgau, on the Elbe River. [111] These manoeuvres had broken the German forces south of Berlin into three parts. The German IX Army was surrounded in the Halbe pocket. [113] Wenck's XII Army, obeying Hitler's command of 22 April, was attempting to force its way into Berlin from the south-west but met stiff resistance from 1st Ukrainian Front around Potsdam. [114] Schörner's Army Group Centre was forced to withdraw from the Battle of Berlin, along its lines of communications towards Czechoslovakia. [43]

Between 24 April and 1 May, the IX Army fought a desperate action to break out of the pocket in an attempt to link up with the XII Army. [115] Hitler assumed that after a successful breakout from the pocket, the IX Army could combine forces with the XII Army and would be able to relieve Berlin. [116] There is no evidence to suggest that Generals Heinrici, Busse, or Wenck thought that this was even remotely strategically feasible, but Hitler's agreement to allow the IX Army to break through Soviet lines allowed many German soldiers to escape to the west and surrender to the United States Army. [117]

At dawn on 28 April, the youth divisions Clausewitz, Scharnhorst, en Theodor Körner attacked from the south-west toward the direction of Berlin. They were part of Wenck's XX Corps and were made up of men from the officer training schools, making them some of the best units the Germans had in reserve. They covered a distance of about 24 km (15 mi), before being halted at the tip of Lake Schwielow, south-west of Potsdam and still 32 km (20 mi) from Berlin. [118] During the night, General Wenck reported to the German Supreme Army Command in Fuerstenberg that his XII Army had been forced back along the entire front. According to Wenck, no attack on Berlin was possible. [119] [120] At that point, support from the IX Army could no longer be expected. [100] In the meantime, about 25,000 German soldiers of the IX Army, along with several thousand civilians, succeeded in reaching the lines of the XII Army after breaking out of the Halbe pocket. [121] The casualties on both sides were very high. Nearly 30,000 Germans were buried after the battle in the cemetery at Halbe. [54] About 20,000 soldiers of the Red Army also died trying to stop the breakout most are buried at a cemetery next to the Baruth-Zossen road. [54] These are the known dead, but the remains of more who died in the battle are found every year, so the total of those who died will never be known. Nobody knows how many civilians died but it could have been as high as 10,000. [54]

Having failed to break through to Berlin, Wenck's XII Army made a fighting retreat back towards the Elbe and American lines after providing the IX Army survivors with surplus transport. [122] By 6 May many German Army units and individuals had crossed the Elbe and surrendered to the US Ninth Army. [110] Meanwhile, the XII Army's bridgehead, with its headquarters in the park of Schönhausen, came under heavy Soviet artillery bombardment and was compressed into an area eight by two kilometres (five by one and a quarter miles). [123]

Surrender

On the night of 2–3 May, General von Manteuffel, commander of the III Panzer Army along with General von Tippelskirch, commander of the XXI Army, surrendered to the US Army. [110] Von Saucken's II Army, that had been fighting north-east of Berlin in the Vistula Delta, surrendered to the Soviets on 9 May. [112] On the morning of 7 May, the perimeter of the XII Army's bridgehead began to collapse. Wenck crossed the Elbe under small arms fire that afternoon and surrendered to the American Ninth Army. [123]

According to Grigoriy Krivosheev's work based on declassified archival data, Soviet forces sustained 81,116 dead for the entire operation, which included the battles of Seelow Heights and the Halbe [10] another 280,251 were reported wounded or sick during the operational period. [124] [o] The operation also cost the Soviets about 1,997 tanks and SPGs. [11] Krivosheev noted: "All losses of arms and equipment are counted as irrecoverable losses, i.e. beyond economic repair or no longer serviceable". [125] Soviet estimates based on kill claims placed German losses at 458,080 killed and 479,298 captured, [126] [p] but German research puts the number of dead at approximately 92,000 – 100,000. [12] The number of civilian casualties is unknown, but 125,000 are estimated to have perished during the entire operation. [127]

In those areas that the Red Army had captured and before the fighting in the centre of the city had stopped, the Soviet authorities took measures to start restoring essential services. [128] Almost all transport in and out of the city had been rendered inoperative, and bombed-out sewers had contaminated the city's water supplies. [129] The Soviet authorities appointed local Germans to head each city block, and organised the cleaning-up. [128] The Red Army made a major effort to feed the residents of the city. [128] Most Germans, both soldiers and civilians, were grateful to receive food issued at Red Army soup kitchens, which began on Colonel-General Berzarin's orders. [130] After the capitulation the Soviets went house to house, arresting and imprisoning anyone in a uniform including firemen and railwaymen. [131]

During and immediately following the assault, [132] [133] in many areas of the city, vengeful Soviet troops (often rear echelon units [134] ) engaged in mass rape, pillage and murder. [135] [q] Oleg Budnitskii, historian at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told a BBC Radio programme that Red Army soldiers were astounded when they reached Germany. "For the first time in their lives, eight million Soviet people came abroad, the Soviet Union was a closed country. All they knew about foreign countries was there was unemployment, starvation and exploitation. And when they came to Europe they saw something very different from Stalinist Russia . especially Germany. They were really furious, they could not understand why being so rich, Germans came to Russia". [136] Other authors question the narrative of sexual violence by Red Army soldiers being more than what was a sad normality from all sides during the war, including the Western Allies. Nikolai Berzarin, commander of the Red Army in Berlin, quickly introduced penalties up to the death penalty for looting and rape. [137] Nevertheless Red Army soldiers kept an infamous reputation even in the years after surrender.

Despite Soviet efforts to supply food and rebuild the city, starvation remained a problem. [129] In June 1945, one month after the surrender, the average Berliner was getting only 64 percent of a daily ration of 1,240 calories (5,200 kJ). [138] Across the city over a million people were without homes. [139]


Allied casualties were generally much higher whenever they were thrown into combat opposite seasoned SS troops. Consequently the SS were both feared and admired for their military prowess. The allies feared that the SS would continue to offer armed underground resistance to the occupational authorities, therefore they determined to thoroughly disband and discredit this able military force before the eyes of not only the world, but of the German people as well. Consequently, the members of the SS received the most brutal treatment at the hands of the allied forces. Often accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the allies sought to expunge the very memory of this elite Nazi formation. The truth of the matter is that the Waffen SS was no more criminal than any other fighting unit, allied OR axis, and the treatment it’s members received at the hands of the allies was unjust and often criminal. Since SS members were stationed at concentration camps as guards, the allies took advantage of this fact and used it to condemn the members of the SS as a whole. Of course it should go without saying that simply because someone was a guard at a camp does not mean he or she was a criminal. What follows is a series of reports concerning the treatment Waffen SS soldiers received at the hands of the allies.

One such case was the cold-blooded slaying of an estimated 700 troops of the 8 th SS Mountain Division. These troops who had fought with honorable distinction had earlier captured a US field hospital. Although the German troops had conducted themselves properly they were, when subsequently captured by the US Army, routinely separated and gunned down in groups by squads of American troops.

The term neutralized of course is a politically correct (or cowardly) way of saying that prisoners-of-war were rounded up and machine-gunned in groups. Accounts of the mass murder of prisoners-of-war at Dachau have been described in at least two books 'The Day of the Amerikaners by Nerin Gun, Fleet Publishing Company, New York, and, Deliverance Day - The Last Hours at Dachau by Michael Selzer Lippincot, Philadelphia

Martin Brech Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York

Martin Brech lives in Mahopac, New York. When he wrote this memoir essay in 1990, he was an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Brech holds a master’s degree in theology from Columbia University, and is a Unitarian-Universalist minister.

This essay was published in The Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1990 (Vol. 10, No. 2), pp. 161-166. (Revised, updated: Nov. 2008)


Why Germany surrendered twice in World War II

Haunted by the ghosts of WWI and an uncertain Communist future, Allied forces decided to cover all their bases.

On May 7, 1945, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allies in Reims, France, ending World War II and the Third Reich.

Or did it happen on May 9 in Berlin instead?

Both are true. Due to warring ideologies, tussles between the Soviet Union and its allies, and the legacy of the First World War, Germany actually surrendered twice.

As an Allied victory looked more and more certain in 1944 and 1945, the United States, U.S.S.R., France, and the United Kingdom bounced around ideas on the terms of a German surrender. But it was still unclear how the military or political surrender signing would be orchestrated by the time Adolf Hitler died by suicide in a Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945, and his dictatorship reached a bloody end.

Hitler had designated Karl Dönitz, a naval admiral and ardent Nazi, as his successor in the event of his death. Dönitz was doomed not to rule a new Germany, but rather to orchestrate its dissolution. He quickly deputized Alfred Jodl, chief of the operations staff of the Armed Forces High Command, to negotiate the surrender of all German forces with General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Dönitz hoped negotiations would buy him time to get as many German people and troops as possible out of the path of the advancing Russians. He also hoped to convince the United States, Britain, and France, all of whom distrusted the U.S.S.R., to turn against the Soviet Union so that Germany might continue its war on that front. Eisenhower saw through the ruse, though, and insisted Jodl sign an instrument of surrender without negotiations. (Hear stories from the last living voices of WWII.)

On May 7, Jodl signed an unconditional “Act of Military Surrender” and a ceasefire that would go into effect at 11:01 p.m. Central European Time on May 8. When Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin heard that Germany had signed an unconditional surrender of all its troops in Reims, he was furious. He argued that since the U.S.S.R. had sacrificed the most troops and civilians during the war, its most important military commander should accept Germany’s surrender rather than the Soviet officer who had witnessed the signing in Reims. Stalin opposed the location of the signing, too: Since Berlin had been the capital of the Third Reich, he argued, it should be the site of its surrender.

But Stalin’s third objection—that Jodl was not Germany’s most senior military official—would prove the most convincing to the rest of the Allies, all of whom remembered how the signing of the armistice that ended World War I had helped plant the seeds of the next world war.

In 1918, as the German Empire had teetered on the brink of defeat, it collapsed and was replaced by a parliamentary republic. Matthias Erzberger, the new secretary of state, had signed the armistice of Compiègne, in which Germany unconditionally surrendered.

The surrender came as a shock to most German civilians, who had been told their military was on the verge of victory. As a result, rumors began to circulate that Germany’s new, civilian government—and other popular scapegoats, such as Marxists and Jews—had stabbed the military in the back. Erzberger was eventually murdered as a result of the myth, which became a common refrain among the members of the new Nazi Party as they consolidated to seize power. (Meet the forgotten 'wolf children' of the second World War.)

Stalin argued that allowing Jodl to surrender for Germany in World War II could open the door to a new stab-in-the-back myth since he had been deputized by Dönitz, a civilian head of state. Worried that Germany could again insist that its surrender was illegitimate if anyone but Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, the supreme commander of all German forces, personally signed the document, the Allies decided to restage the surrender.

On May 8, Keitel headed to Karlshorst, a suburb of Berlin, to sign the document in front of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov and a small Allied delegation. But Keitel argued a minor point, hoping to add a clause giving his troops a grace period of at least 12 hours to ensure they received their cease fire orders before facing any penalties for continuing to fight. Zhukov ultimately offered Keitel a verbal promise but did not grant his request to add the clause. Due to the delay, the document was not executed until after the ceasefire was supposed to begin—and May 9 had already arrived.

The Russians celebrate May 9 as Victory Day to this day. The Reims surrender wasn’t even reported in the Soviet press until a day afterward, proof according to some observers that the second surrender was a propaganda move orchestrated so Stalin could claim a larger part of the credit for ending the war. In the rest of the world, though, V-E (Victory in Europe) Day is celebrated on May 8, the day the ceasefire was officially slated to begin.


The German Surrender & V-E Day

An idea that had seemed so far away at the crux of the war in Europe had quickly come to the forefront of the mind of the Allies as April 1945 pressed on. The month had proven to be particularly harsh on Axis forces, having lost over one million combatants, massive tracts of land, large quantities of materiel, and growing pressure from what seemed to be an unstoppable force closing in around them. The Axis was further left reeling from the loss of both Hitler and Mussolini by the end of the month.

The terms of surrender had been agreed upon in July of 1944 via the European Advisory Commission. The agreement required the total and unconditional surrender of German, and subsequent disarmament and occupation thereof. By May of 1945, the last German forces certainly were not in a bargaining position, making any surrender terms appealing and manageable. Most German forces by this time had been completely cut off and forced into isolated packets. They lacked command, structure, and direction, notwithstanding their shortage of supplies, manpower, and materiel.

Prior to the signing of the German Instrument on 9 May 1945, German Generals had already been implementing partial surrenders to the Allies. German forces in Italy had negotiated a surrender on 29 April with the Surrender of Caserta. It was fully accepted, even among holdout German soldiers, after Hitler’s death was confirmed on 30 April. By 2 May, the Italian front was closed with the full capitulation of German forces there.

Additional surrenders followed on 5 and 6 May with the capitulation of most remaining Germans on the western front and southern Germany. The remaining German Army was generally left in central and northern parts of the country, including Berlin, where Allied forces were continuing to press on from both the east and west. Other smaller capitulations continued up until the instrument was signed on 9 May.

At 0100 Central European Time on 9 May, the German Instrument of Surrender was formally signed by three Western Allied commanders, including British ACM Tedder, U.S. GEN Spatz, and French GEN Tassigny. Soviet FM Zhukov signed for the Eastern front. It was then signed by the three head commanding officers of each German force. The original signing was to take place at 2200 on 8 May however, issues arose with wording of the surrender and who was required to sign it.

The German forces were given a twelve hour grace period, which allowed their stranded forces an opportunity to verify that their forces were to be surrendered. Most of these positions complied, however, a few isolated pockets of German soldiers and sailors remained in a wartime posture well after the surrender. The last German surrender came in September 1945.

Conflicting information and broken media embargoes resulted in the German surrender at Reims being reported as the official surrender. This signing occurred on 6 May and was reported on the 8th. As a result, V-E Day has been erroneously associated with 8 May, and the official capitulation of German Forces on 9 May. The surrender, however, was backdated to 8 May, since it was to have originally been signed at 2200. The only nation to celebrate V-E Day on 9 May is Russia, where both the original signing and actual signing took place on the same date.

Europe now faced another grueling task with the reconstruction and rebuilding of a war torn continent. Operations to enforce the occupation of Germany were also underway at this time. The stage was being set for what would eventually become known as the Cold War, as both the West and the Soviet Union vied to enforce policy and coordinate reconstruction efforts.

With the signing of the Paris Peace Treaties in 1947, reparations were drafted and agreed to. These fully detailed the extent of wartime damages and losses. The state of war was subsequently ended in 1950. Despite this, Germany remained occupied until 1955. The nation was finally reunited in 1990 with the last remaining “occupation” soldiers leaving in 2002. Reparations from the war continue to be paid and a subject of question, especially in Eastern Europe with former Soviet nations


Nadraai

The city the Soviets took control of was a scorched ruin, but the Germans had brought death and destruction to their country, and they were set on revenge.

Looting and raping followed. Some of the German soldiers who surrendered were beaten or killed. When a semblance of normality was eventually restored, the city was divided between the conquering Allies.

For Berlin, it was the consequence of having served a madman.

Bron:
Nigel Cawthorne (2004), Turning the Tide: Decisive Battles of the Second World War
James Lucas (1986), Last Days of the Reich


Kyk die video: Perang Dunia II 1939 - 1945 Kronologi PD2 (Desember 2021).