End of World War II: Surrender of Germany on May 7, 1945 –

Rivers of ink have been spilled recounting battles and events of the Second World War. Possibly the most studied, documented and analyzed war in history. There is no doubt that more than 70 years later, contests such as the Battle of Normandy or the Attack on the American Port of Pearl Harbor, they continue to grab our attention whether as a story chapter, in movie form, or even in games. But what happened on that day, May 7, 1945, in Berlin, what did it entail, what consequences did it entail? We are going to answer this and other questions in this article dedicated to End of World War II: The Surrender of Germany on May 7, 1945.

End of World War II | Background

In the year 1945, the April 25th is a date marked on the calendar as the beginning of the end of the Second World War. Many years after the First World WarOn April 25, American troops of the 69th Infantry Division and the Soviet 58th Guards Division of the 5th Guards Army met in Berlin after months of progress from completely opposite points. Contact occurred near Torgau, on the Elbe River.

Despite the rivalry, they managed to jointly celebrate such an important day in world history. This contact was not only a symptom of German weakness, but it would also mean the division of a city that would take too many decades to build. rejoin.

To be able to talk about the end of World War II, we must speak of the numerous battles such as the one in Normandy landings, Stalingrad, Alamein and the Ardennes.

The taking of Italy and the constant battles gradually contributed to the expulsion of the Germans from the occupied areas. Arriving at a situation in which practically the entire German border was facing hard battles.

End of World War II | Withdrawal of Nazi troops

With such an untenable situation, Hitler ordered the troops to withdraw into the interior of Germany, pretending to defend its original territory. But this withdrawal contributed to allied troops could advance with less difficulty towards Berlin, where Hitler’s headquarters was located.

While the Soviet Union advanced in the West, the troops of the United States and Great Britain advanced in the East.

After the German failure to enter Soviet lands, the offensive that the Soviet Union launched against Hitler, It would be essential to achieve the surrender of Germany. The Soviet troops, as they advanced towards Berlin, were picking up German troops that surrendered as they passed, as well as recovering city by city throughout the route between Yugoslavia and Austria.

End of World War II | fall of berlin

berlin is considered the last great battle of the Second World War. It all started on April 20, Hitler’s 56th birthday, when the Soviet Union bombed the capital. It was Zhúkov’s 1st Belorussian Front, who began to surround the city of Berlin from the North and East. In the south was the 1st Ukrainian Front under the command of Ivan Konev.

while this was happeningthe III Panzer Corps, fearsome body of battle tanks Nazis, was attacked by the 2nd Belorussian Front.

Hitler, already at that moment had lost the objectivity of the scene, before the news of the success obtained by the 9th Army in the city of Cottubs, Approximately 100 km southeast of Berlin, he ordered not only to preserve the city, but also to destroy the Soviet columns located to the north. The plan was for them to later join the IV Panzer Corps, that was to the south, and together they would surround the 1st Ukrainian Front and destroy it.

Hitler’s delusions went even further. After surrounding the 1st Ukrainian Front, the German troops would advance north to form a hairpin encircling the 1st Belorussian Front, while the III SS Panzer Corps under Major Steiner would be the hairpin at the top.

But this idyllic situation that Hitler imagined had nothing to do with reality. The 9th Army, I had many difficulty maintaining position of Cottbus, at least it was going to destroy the 1st Ukrainian Front as Hitler intended. But another irrefutable fact was the inferiority of the German army against the Soviet offensive.

Heirici, He was in charge of making Hitler understand that the 9th Army would never surround the Soviet column, but on the contrary, they were about to be surrounded inside the city. Hitler agreed to withdraw the 9th Army to the west, in order to prevent its fall into the hands of the army of the Soviet Union.

The defense of Berlin, after the withdrawal of the 9th Army from the city of Cottbus to the West, were a few divisions of the Waffen-SSremains of Wehrmacht units, Hitler Youth volunteers, policemen, World War I veterans. But despite having few and poorly organized forces, the fighting in the city of Berlin was atrocious, neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street and house by house. The defense of Berlin was organized as follows:

  • 20th Infantry Division West
  • IX Parachute Division North
  • The Panzer Division Müncheberg to the northeast
  • The Nordland Division of the SS Southeastnear Tempelhof Airport
  • XVIII Armored Grenadier Division in the middle from the city

Actually the troops would have surrendered without resisting, but Hitler’s determination to continue fighting prevented that surrender and the end of the war. The city suffered great devastation, As the Soviet army advanced through its streets, the battles continued, taking outlying districts such as Pankow, Spandau and Köpenick on April 24. On April 25, the red army was already in the banks of the river Spree, thus managing to surround the city.

The Soviet troops advanced through the great avenues of Berlin, conquering district after district and ending the resistance of the Wehrmacht troops and the militiamen, turning these clashes into violent urban fighting, where howitzers and heavy artillery were used against buildings that were also plagued by sharpshooters.

The Soviets received from grenades, to anti-tank, from anywhere, be it roofs, basements or windows, so the Soviet army responded with machine gun bursts that shattered the windows and doors of the buildings.

To finish off the shooters who were on the terraces, a place where the guns of the battle tanks did not reach, attacks were launched with Russian Katyusha rockets.

The idea of ​​crossing the city along the great avenues made them an easy target for the German army, so they changed their technique, now they would take grenades and captured anti-tank guns and they would break the walls of the buildings in order to pass through them, thus changing direction without having to step on the streets.

The tactic used by the Soviets meant that the civilian populationfrightened, she took refuge in basements or in the subway. While the soldiers were engaged in close combat.

On April 25, German troops were retreating at the same speed as Soviet troops were entering the most central neighborhoods of Berlin. The Soviets non-stop bombed government buildings where German troops were sheltering. On April 26 they had already taken Tempelhof airport and on April 27, the Soviets had exceeded the defensive ringlocated on the Berlin Metro line, only a small redoubt in the center remained in German hands.

Shortage of means, no ammunition, no medical supplies and a shortage of weapons, the situation was untenable. The 28th of April the Soviets were around the bunker of the Chancellery in which Hitler was. Reichstag, Moltke Bridge and Alexanderplatz were the places where the fighting was bloodiest and most intense.

Hitler was willing not to surrender Berlin, he wanted to hold out long enough for his reinforcements to arrive. On the night of April 28, news arrived that the 12th Army had been attacked by Soviet forces, suffering heavy casualties and preventing its arrival in Berlin. Other troops, like those of the General Wenck marched west, but with the intention to surrender before the troops of the United States, aware of the loss of Berlin.

This news was never known by Hitler, who still had hopes that his long-awaited XII Army would arrive to turn the tide of battle.

April 29the only defense the Reich Chancellery had was the Nordland Divisionwho would be in charge of the final defense of Hitler, a division formed by soldiers of different nationalities such as Dutch and French, who despite everything fought with total courage.

End of World War II | Hitler’s death

the night of April 28-29, Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun, was a discreet and simple wedding, whose only witnesses were the bunker’s own inhabitants, among them, the most faithful comrades, the Goebbels couple. When the ceremony ended, Hitler secluded himself in his office to write what would be his political and personal testament.

On the morning of April 30, Soviet attacks on the city center intensified, hitting targets near the Reich Chancellery. The defense tried to repel the attacks as best they could, but little by little they began to fall back. The last report Hitler receives about the situation is devastating, the Soviets are at the doors of the Foreign Ministry and it can only resist 48 hours.

On the afternoon of April 30, 1945, Hitler and Eva Barun commit suicide, being immediately after the corpses burned in the backyard of the Chancellery, all by express order of the Führer.

The April 30 Soviet troops attack the Reichstag building, Within a few hours of May 1, a national holiday in the Soviet Union, there was a rush to seize the building and offer it to Stalin.

But the German defensive did not want to surrender without putting up resistance and so, entrenched in the Reichstag building or rather in what was left of it, they kept the Soviet army at the gates for a couple of hours, until finally, the Soviet army manages to make his way inside, reach the roof and raise the flag of the Soviet Union.

But it would take another couple of days for the building to fall, as isolated groups of German defenders barricaded themselves in various rooms of the Chancellery.

The same night of April 30 Hans Krebs, arrives at soviet headquarters to agree on the terms of surrender. Some conditions that Goebbels demanded but that the Soviets were unwilling to accept.

On the morning of May 1, Magda Goebbels, supplies cyanide and sedatives to his six children murdering them, for in the afternoon commit suicide with her husband. On successive days, there are not a few generals who…