21 Apr On This Day: Battle of Berlin
|Tanks rolling through Berlin|
It has been a few weeks since we have explored some World War II history, so today, let’s dive right back in, shall we?
As you may know, 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II. Specifically, 70 years ago on this day, April 21, Soviet Forces finally breached the German High command defense during the invasion of Berlin.
This month in 1945, was the point of no return for the Germans. The Americans and British were closing in on the west, while the Soviets on the east were barreling over top of the Germans in their capital city of Berlin. By this point in the fighting, the Allied forces had all but destroyed the German regular army and all whom were left to defend their country were Hitler Youth teenagers, SS foreign volunteers, and Waffen-SS divisions. Outfitted with barely anything at all, strategically located in the city streets, these remaining Germans fought hard to ward off the Soviet Army. Needless to say, they could not defend their city properly and the Russians were able to easily roll their way into the heart of Germany.
|Furher Bunker destroyed|
The Battle of Berlin was the last major offensive in the European theater. For the most part, both sides knew this operation would be the last, no matter the outcome. Fighting was brutal and by April 21, the battle had been raging for over a month. A few days after breaching the heart of the city, close hand to hand combat raged through the streets. The battle continued until the end of the month. Many lost their lives during the battle, but the outcome was worth the sacrifice for the Allies. The Soviet’s lost a total of over 81,000 for the entire operation, while the Germans have estimated a total between 92,000 and 100,000 killed. The exact number of civilians killed is unknown, but estimates have reached up to 125,000 during the operation. A major portion of the surviving civilians were now homeless and starving.
Until next time,