Russian Front and Berlin 1945
Fall of Berlin, April 1945The destruction of Hitler's Third Reich began on April 16, 1945 when Stalin unleashed 20 armies, 6,300 tanks and 8,500 aircraft with the primary objective of crushing German resistance and capturing Berlin.
By prior agreement, the Allied armies (positioned approximately 60 miles to the west) halted their advance on the city in order to give the Soviets a free hand. The depleted and ragged German forces put up a stiff defense, initially repelling the attacking Russians, but ultimately succumbing to overwhelming force. By April 24 the Soviet army surrounded the city, tightening its stranglehold on the remaining Nazi defenders. Fighting street-to-street and house-to-house, Russian troops blasted their way towards Hitler's chancellery in the city's center. Inside his underground bunker Hitler lived in a world of fantasy as his "Thousand Year Reich" crumbled above him. In his final hours the Fuehrer married his long-time mistress and then joined her in suicide.
The Third Reich was finally over.