Fall of Berlin

World War II: Fall of the Third Reich

Europe 1945.0502

Fall of Berlin

World War II in Europe from Stalingrad to the fall of Berlin (2 May 1945)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

By now it was all over for Nazi Germany. With the overwhelming military might of the Allies advancing on all sides, Hitler shot himself in late April. Berlin fell to Soviet forces a few days later.

Main Events

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).

Elbe Day

Death of Hitler

By 26 April 1945, the Soviet Army had surrounded Berlin, and large sectors of the German military were surrendering to the Allies. Having retreated to his underground bunker in January, and reportedly suffering a mental breakdown, Hitler committed suicide on 30 April, along with his wife Eva Braun. Hitler was succeeded as President by Naval commander Karl Dönitz and as Chancellor by Joseph Goebbels (who himself committed suicide the following day).

German Army on Italian Front surrenders to Allies

On 1 April 1945, the Allies broke through the German line at Emilia-Romagna, advancing rapidly toward Italy's northern border. While attempting to flee to Switzerland on 27 April, former Italian leader Benito Mussolini was captured and executed on 28 April by Italian partisans. The following day, German Army Group G agreed to surrender effective May 2.

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