German Surrender

World War II in the Arctic

the Arctic 1945.0507

German Surrender

Arctic disputes, Winter War, Weather War, World War II, Cold War, Climate Change (7 May 1945)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

While the Germans were withdrawing from Finland, the Soviets attacked in northern Scandinavia, capturing Petsamo (Finland) and Kirkenes (Norway) and all but concluding the War in the Arctic. To the south, the Allied forces were now invading Germany itself and by early May the War in Europe was over.

Main Events

Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive

The Soviet 14th Army under K. A. Meretskov attacked the German 20th Mountain Army under Lothar Rendulic, defeating their forces in the Arctic and driving them from Pechenga/Petsamo, Finland, and Kirkenes, Norway.

Retaking of Finnmark

Norwegian forces arrived in Kirkenes, Norway, traveling from Britain via Murmansk, relieving the Soviet forward positions and retaking Finnmark, the northernmost province of Norway, from the retreating Germans.

Battle of Berlin

Three Soviet fronts, comprising some 2.5 million men, converged on Berlin from the east, south, and north, facing a little over 766 thousand German defenders. On 20 April - Hitler's birthday - they began bombarding the city, with the fronts completing its encirclement on the 25th. German attempts to break the siege failed and on 2 May the advancing Soviets captured the Reichstag at Berlin's heart. Over 80,000 Soviet troops died in the offensive for German losses of up to 100,000 (including Adolf Hitler, who committed suicide on 30 April).

German Instrument of Surrender

Representatives of the German armed forces signed the Instrument of Surrender in Berlin, along with representatives of the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom (on behalf of the Western Allies, who had also overseen a surrender ceremony in Reims earlier that day). This act brought an end to World War II in Europe.

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