Victory in Europe: End of WWII - LAND and AIR WAR in BERLIN

LAND and AIR WAR in BERLIN (Illustration) Russian Studies Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Famous Historical Events World History Famous People Geography Social Studies World War II Ethics

The Russian State Archive contains many photos which document the land-and-air war in (and over) Berlin during the spring of 1945. This particular photo, also from the Russian State Archive, depicts Soviet Katyusha rocket launchers firing in the Battle of Berlin during April of 1945. Image online, courtesy Russian State Archive.


The vicious battle for Germany’s capital city - dubbed “Berlin Offensive Operation” by the Soviets - is often called The Last Battle of the war in Europe. A risky move by Stalin, who decided to “go it alone” without his Allies, the seventeen-day, mind-numbing battle - depicted in photos at the Russian State Archives - was incredibly costly.

Stalin’s troops were on a mission. Earlier in the war, the Nazis had laid waste to vast stretches of Soviet land. More than 20 million soldiers and civilians died as a direct result. What would happen to the Germans, and Berlin, if their capital fell into Soviet hands?

Resistance was fierce, but it was no match for Russian determination. Later, a surviving German machine gunner said:

We started to fire at the masses [of Soviet soldiers]. They weren’t human beings for us. It was a wall of attacking beasts who were trying to kill us. You yourself were no longer human.

Millions of shells were fired into an already devastated city, killing about 250,000 people. Around 70,000 of those who died were Soviet soldiers.

The Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, among other places, became scenes of debris and danger during fearsome fighting for the cityPeople from all walks of life were caught up in the destruction.

Some of the most intense shelling and fighting in Berlin took place during The Last Days of Hitler. With specific destinations in mind, Soviet artillerymen marked their ammo:

To Hitler, In Berlin, On the Reichstag.

Gestapo headquarters, where people like Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich had concocted murderous plans against innocent people, was massively damaged. Hitler, in his bunker near the Reichstag, would come to realize the capital city would soon be lost.

Understanding their situation was hopeless (this video includes graphic war scenes), some Germans began to surrender. The Soviets captured thousands of others. The Fuhrer’s soldiers became prisoners of war, with huge numbers of them facing a very uncertain future after transport to the Soviet Union.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: May 20, 2019

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"LAND and AIR WAR in BERLIN" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2007. Jun 06, 2020.
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