• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
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  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
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  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
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  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
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  • PHILIP MELANCHTHON
  • D-DAY TO DEFEAT NAZI GERMANY
  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
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  • T
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  • SOCIETY, EDUCATION, AND
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  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
  • UNIFICATION POLITICS AND ITS
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
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  • B
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  • ANABAPTISM AND MÜNTZER
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  • blank check
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  • CHARLES V AND THE REFORMATION
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  • C
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  • Brecht, Bertolt
  • Bremen/Bremerhaven
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  • Breslau
  • The Bridge
  • THE THIRTY YEARS WAR
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  • Buchenwald
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  • Bundesrat
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  • canton system
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  • Christian Democratic Union
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  • LITERATURE
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  • Clausewitz, Carl von
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  • E
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  • feminism, 18151945
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  • SEVEN YEARS WAR
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  • I
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  • T
  • THE QUESTION OF
  • LATE MEDIEVAL CULTURE
  • CONDUCT OF THE WAR
  • PEACE RESOLUTION, REFORM, AND
  • AN UNPLANNED REVOLUTION
  • N
  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNPREPARED
  • A REVOLUTIONARY PATTERN
  • WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
  • KURT EISNER AND REVOLUTION IN
  • A REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED
  • A SEVERE ARMISTICE
  • T
  • ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOLUTIONARY
  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
  • INTERPRETATION OF THE
  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
  • V
  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
  • TERMS OF THE TREATY
  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Berlin, Battle for (Fall of)

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(1945)

    There never had been any doubt that the Russians

    would be victorious in the Battle for Berlin.

    The Soviet army had massed 4 million men in

    Poland for the final assault, with 2.7 million

    along a front stretching south to the Adriatic

    Sea. The German armed forces facing them were

    only a shadow of the great fighting machine that

    had invaded Russia. The Luftwaffe had been

    blasted out of the skies and no longer represented

    an effective air force that could provide

    cover for German troops. German troops were

    predominantly older men and younger boys

    from the VOLKSTURM. Although the Germans

    still had thousands of tanks, they were running

    short of fuel. BERLIN had been bombarded by air

    raids, and the citys 3 million residents were desperate

    for food, fuel, and medical supplies, and

    extremely fearful of what awaited them from

    the Russians.

    The general offensive on Berlin was to last

    some 45 days by as rapid an advance as possible.

    In January 1945 the Russians held a line along

    the border of East Prussia, down the Narew

    River to Warsaw, then along the Vistula River.

    They possessed a clear military superiority. The

    Soviet offensive began with a tremendous bombardment

    one week earlier than planned

    because of the stunning German counterattack

    in the BATTLE OF THE ARDENNES on the western

    front.

    The Russians renewed their offensive on

    Berlin after a two-month lull on April 16, and by

    May 8 it was all over. The Russians massed some

    2.5 million men and more than 6,000 tanks

    against about 1 million Germans with 1,500

    tanks. The Soviets were massed in three army

    groups: the first Belorussian Front under Marshall

    Zhukov, the First Ukrainian Front under

    266 Berlin, Battle for (Fall of)

    Konev, and the Second Belorussian Front under

    Rokossovsky. Zhukov was to attack Berlin

    directly out of the Küstrin bridgehead, while

    Konev was to attack in three directionstoward

    Berlin, toward Czechoslovakia, and toward the

    ELBE RIVER to meet the Americans. Rokossovsky

    was to attack in the north. After bitter fighting

    the Russians were able to cut through the German

    lines, bypassing Berlin, and on April 24 the

    armies linked up and Berlin was cut off. Some

    200,000 German troops were isolated in the city,

    and another 200,000 were surrounded in a

    pocket west of Berlin. On April 25 American and

    Soviet troops met at Torgau on the Elbe. The suburbs

    of Berlin had already been invaded on April

    21, and on April 30 the REICHSTAG was stormed.

    Meanwhile, Adolf HITLER and his associates

    were in their underground bunker, issuing

    orders, hoping beyond hope for a split among

    the Allies and miracle victories from secret

    weapons. On April 30 Hitler and Eva BRAUN

    committed suicide, and Joseph GOEBBELS and his

    family soon followed. The battle aboveground

    ended on May 2 when the commander of Berlin

    defenses, General Helmuth Weidling, surrendered.

    The Germans fought tenaciously for

    Berlin, fearing the worst from the Bolshevik

    hordes from Russia. Barbarous acts were in fact

    committed, as an estimated 2 million German

    women were raped by Soviet soldiers. German

    soldiers were marched off to camps in Siberia.

    Joseph Stalin had an obsessive fear that the

    American and British armies would reach Berlin

    first. Stalin knew the psychological importance

    of conquering the German capital, but he also

    knew that the Americans had invented an

    atomic bomb. He hoped to strip Berlins atomic

    research labs of their equipment, scientists, and

    uranium. Consequently, Stalin goaded his military

    commanders into competition to reach

    Berlin first. Americans, however, did not understand

    the strategic importance of controlling

    Berlin and Germany and wanted to quickly end

    the war, save American lives, and concentrate

    on defeating Japan. The American willingness to

    leave Berlin to the Soviets led to a rift in the

    alliance with Britain.

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