The Russians Succesfully captured Vienna on th 14th of April, 1945. Afterwards, Joseph Stalin ordered 20 armies, 8,500 aircraft, and 6,300 tanks to march toward Berlin, Germany's great capitol. In a unique fashion he put some of his best generals including Gerogi Zhukov and Ivan Koniev in a race for glory against the city of Berlin. On the other side of Berlin, opposite of the Russians, set the western allies 60 miles away from the capitol, though they moved south of Berlin to prevent German troops from re-enforcing Berlin's defenders. The German troops, at this time, were hurt, and demoralized. "Our troops were everywhere swarming over western Germany and there were few remaining targets against which the air force could be directed without danger of droping their bombs on their own or Russian troops," claimed Dwight Eisenhower. The western Allies secured the Ruhr river, as a result, the Russian troops advanced and surrounded the city of Berlin before the western allies had the chance. On April 15th, 1945, Zhukov's troops began to shell Berlin with artillery to attempt to soften the German resistance. For 30 minutes he pounded the city, shooting nearly 500,000 shells five miles deep into German lines. There was absolutly no answer from the German guns. A moment later, before dawn, 143 search lights shined into the sky. They were Zhukov's lights to guide the Russian troops. The dipped low into the eyes of the German city's defenders. The Russian infantry charged forward. Eventually, the Battlefield became filled with fog and the light just reflected back to the Russians. The Germans managed to hold them off, and eventually the orders were given to shut off the lights. Most Russian soilders just waited behind cover for the sun to come up. Meanwhile, on the same day, Koniev began his offensive as well. 55 miles south, Koniev, the allied commander started firing his artillery at 4:15AM all along the 250 mile German front, while the Second Air Army's VIth Guards Air Corps bombed the German rear. After 40 minutes of he bombardment, Russian troops began to cross the river. Engineeres worked under heavy machine gun fire to establish bridges, or search for shallow parts of the river where friendly artillery pieces could cross. Their efforts payed off, and Russian artillery was firing on the German of the river.
Russia Georgi Zhukov (left) Ivan Koniev (right) led the ground invasions on Berlin.
Both Zhukov and Koniev were now charging full speed at Berlin, however, at a high cost. Huge amounts of casualties were placed on placed on the Russian attackers, but the marshals had only one thought going throught their head: be the first to reach Berlin. The German citizens of Berlin continued thier every day life despite that the enemy Russians weren't that far away. People struggled just to keep their jobs in worn down factories, and took their stamps for the small amount of food that they could get from them. On the night of April 17th, 1945, Koniev's tanks rolled across the river Spree. As soon as the crossed, the tanks fired their cannons at the few German defenders. It took them only a few minutes to shatter the German lines.. Now, just past midnight, Koniev issued direct orders for his troops to speed toward the city of Berlin and not to bother any towns that could possibly take away precious time.Hearing that Koniev was bolting toward Berlin, Zhukov pushed his commanders to renew their offensive. Vassili Chukov launched a new attack against German lines on the morning of April 18th, 1945. The Germans were stubborn and eventually launched a counter-offensive that failed. By the end of the day, Chuikov won control of Seelow Heights, under the command of Zhukov, with A life cost of 30,000. Back in Berlin the situation became more and more desperate. On April 19th, the German commander of Berlin, Helmuth Reymann, only had 15,000 trained for combat. Also, arming them was an issue with a shortage of weapons. Reymann knew that it would be completely stipid to send untrained men to go off and fight the determined Russian soilders.To his surprisemant, Hitler and Joseph Gobbles ordered a battalion of his previous troops to the front lines. Reymann also knew that the city of Berlin could not possible be defended. In his underground bunker, Hitler and his staff began to plan the defenses of Berlin, and from there, they could already hear the rumble of Russian artillery raining on the city. Finally, it was Hitler's birthday, April 20th, and he came up to view a small parade to celbrate his leadership. It was nothing compared to the large parades he had in the past, and Hitler felt the desperation. He spoke a few words of encouragement, and then returned to his bunker. This birthday parade would be the last time that he ever say daylight again. The allies had made special efforts to attack Berlin to "celebrate" Hitlers birthday. Before 10:00AM that morning, 1,000 American bomber bombed the city for two hours without any or little answer from the Germans. Right after the American massacre, British Mosiquitos bombed targets throught the city. Then at 11:50AM Zhukov delivered his "present" to Hitler, sending 1,000 pound long range artillery shells into the city. It was at this time, Hitler recognized the possibility of defeat. Hitler's secretaries asked him when he would make his escape from Berlin. Hitler replied "No, I cant. If I did, I would feel like a llams turning to an empty prayer wheel. I must bring the resolution here in Berlin , or else go under." To continue the fight in case of his death, Hitler appointed Admiral Karal Donitz as his sucessor. Donitz was to become president of Germany should Hitler become captured or killed. After some days, Koniev's troops finally reached Zossen, a major German milliary headquarters since the start of WW2. Zossen was a large, underground facility designed by Hans Beltow. At one time, it was the center of communications for the entire European continent. The Russians soilders were amazed by the complex underground facilities with offices, libraries, and rooms for all of the German soilders. Every phone in the facility was still working. Eventually, the Germans called to request the latest news and when they did, Ivan Koniev picked up the phone and replied "This is Ivan. You can go f**k yourself." On April 23ed, 1945, Hitler named Helmuth Weilding new commander of Berlin's defenses. Helmuth knew that the situation was dier. He told the messenger "You might just as well have me shot," but accepted the duty anyways. Berliniens were in a horrible stance. the food was running out. Citizens thought that the government was storing excess food and they looted warehouses for it. People walked on the street carrying all of their food afraid if they left it home it would be stolen. The SS troops struggled to keep order around the city. While the citizens of Berlin were struggling, the Russians were having tremendous progress. Zhukov and Koniev's troops had linked up at Schonefield airport, which was a total and complete surprise. Berlin was completely enclosed within the period of two days. By the time that this had happened, there were no airfields left to fly out any top commander who was in Berlin. Zhukov's first Echelon troops were proud, self-controlled veterans, but the second had just been released from prisons and concentration camps. They commited viloent acts against Germans and German property. They robbed stores and banks, shooting innocent people and raping a countless number of women. Zhukov's tactics were quite simple. His strong artillery and rockets would knock down and burn anything that gave shelter to enemy troops or snipers. Every once in a while, a siege of hevy artillery shells would be fired onto one spot. Casualties were so high because neither side was taking prisoner. Zhukov's troops were colosing in on the Riechstag. Berlin was not for Zhukovs taking.
On the 30th of April, 1945, Hitler married his girlfriend Eva Braun. They had a small, brief celebration, and Hitler offered his last thanks he would ever make to his SS guards. Afterwards, the couple locked themself in Hitler's room. A few mintes later, a gunshot was heard. Germany's leader was found in dead by the cause of suicide, and Eva was found with poisin in her body, they were both dead. Their bodies were wrapped in blankets, soaked in fuel, then burned in a ditch by the Chancellary. On the very same day, the main and last assaults on the Reischstag were carried out.Finally, the Reichstag was officialy secured at 10:50PM that night and a large Russian flag was raised on it's rooftop.At 6:00AM on Wednesday, May 2nd, 1945 Weidling officials surrendured under the hands of the Russians. The war in Europe was finally over.