Invasion of Germany

World War II: Fall of the Third Reich

Europe 1945.0324

Invasion of Germany

World War II in Europe from Stalingrad to the fall of Berlin (24 March 1945)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

In early 1945, the Soviets pushed through Poland, breaching the pre-War German border and closing in on Berlin. Meanwhile, the Western Allies had defeated the German counteroffensive in Belgium and were ready to invade Germany in force, crossing the Rhine in March.

Main Events

Vistula-Oder Offensive

Soviets invade Poland and eastern Germany

Yalta Conference

Bombing of Dresden

The United States and the United Kingdom launched four aerial raids on Dresden, Germany. Using 722 Royal Air Force and 527 US Army Air Forces heavy bombers, they dropped over 3,900 tons of explosive and incendiary bombs. The results were a firestorm which destroyed the city center and left up to 25,000 dead.

Turkey enters World War II

Turkey declared war on Germany and Japan, joining World War II on the side of the Allies. This was in response to the Yalta Conference declaration that only states formally at war with the Axis by 1 March 1945 would be admitted to the United Nations. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran followed suit in the following days.

Operation Lumberjack

The First United States Army launched Operation Lumberjack, capturing the German cities of the west bank of the Rhine north of Mosel and preparing the way for a full-scale invasion of Germany from the west.

Western Allied invasion of Germany

The Western Allies - led by the United States and the United Kingdom - crossed the River Rhine, fanning out to overrun western Germany from the Baltic Sea in the north to Austria in the south. By the end of April, they had linked up with Soviet forces advancing from the east, forcing the Germans to unconditionally surrender in early May.

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