the Arctic 1945: German Surrender
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.
7–29 Oct 1944 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.
10 Nov 1944–8 May 1945 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.
16 Apr–2 May 1945 Battle of Berlin▲
In mid-April 1945 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).
7 May 1945 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.