Koniev's 1st Ukrainian Front launches
a major winter offensive from its bridgehead across the Vistula
at Baranov in southern Poland.
Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front begins
an offensive toward Pillkallen in East Prussia, against which
their is stiff resistance from the 3rd Panzer Army.
Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front continues
its attacks South of Warsaw from two Vistula bridgeheads, one
of which holds 400,000 men and 1,700 tanks. Rokossovsky's 2nd
Belorussian Front begins its offensive from its Narev bridgehead
against Elbing in East Prussia.
During its drive toward the Oder river,
the Red Army captures Kielce in western Poland.
Russians forces cross the Warthe and
advance 100-miles on a 160-mile front forcing the Germans to
evacuate Warsaw, which falls that same day. The German defenders
encircled at Budapest withdraw to Buda on the western bank
of the Danube. The Red Army captures Czenstochova.
German troops evacuate Kracow. A German
offensive begins from Lake Balaton, with the aim of lifting
the Red Army's siege of Budapest.
The Russians cross 1939 Poland-Silesia
frontier taking Kracow. East Prussia is also entered from south
by Russian troops. Red Army forces capture Lodz.
Tannenburg is taken by Red Army, but
only after the Germans blow up the memorial.
The Red Army captures Insterburg and
Allenstein in East Prussia.
The 5th Guards Tank Army enters Elbing
on Baltic and Koniev reaches the river Oder in Silesia. The
Kriegsmarine begins the evacuation by sea of hundreds of thousands
of civilian refugees from East Prussia and the Danzig area,
the Red Army having cut all land communications with the rest
German forces begin evacuating Slovakia.
The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Oppeln and Gleiwitz in Upper
Zhukov cuts off the Fortress city
of Posen which holds 66,000 Germans and continues his 50-mile
a day advance.
Himmler is put in command of Army
Group Vistula by Hitler. The Russians isolate three German
armies in East Prussia. The Red Army captures Kattowitz in
Upper Silesia. Auschwitz concentration camp is captured by
the Russians, but they find fewer than 3,000 survivors as the
SS has moved most of the remaining prisoners to camps inside
Russians troops capture Memel on Baltic
Coast after the German evacuation, which now leaves the whole
of Lithuania in Russian hands. German forces begin evacuating
the vital coal mining and industrial region of Upper Silesia.
On the twelfth anniversary of his
coming to power, Hitler, calls for fanatical resistance by
soldiers and civilians and predicts that "...in this struggle
for survival it will not be inner Asia that will conquer, but
the people that has defended Europe for centuries against the
onslaughts from the East, the German nation..."
Two of Zhukov’s
armies establish a bridgehead on the Oder, to the North of
Küstrin and less than 40 miles from Berlin.
Troops of the 1st Belorussian
Front surround the fortress town of Küstrin. Since the
20th January, the Kriegsmarine has evacuated 140,000 civilian
refugees and 18,000 wounded soldiers by sea from East Prussia.
The 1st Belorussian Front reaches
the Oder to the South of Frankfurt.
The Russians capture Landsberg, 80
miles Northeast of Berlin.
A summit conference between Stalin,
Churchill and Roosevelt opens at Yalta in Crimea, to discuss
plans for the treatment of postwar Germany, its division into
zones of occupation, reparations and the future Polish western
Red Army troops approach Elbing and
Marienburg in East Prussia.
The 1st Belorussian Front makes further
advances to reach the Oder between Küstrin and Frankfurt.
Russian attacks north of Königsberg
are blocked with the help of naval gunfire by the cruisers
Scheer and Lützow.
Koniev breaks out of his Oder bridgehead
north of Breslau, with six armies.
The Red Army encircles Elbing and
The 2nd Belorussian Fronts attack
towards Neustett is halted by desperate German counter-attacks.
The 1st Ukrainian front reaches the Neisse encircling Glogau.
Liegnitz is captured by the 1st Ukrainian Front. The remaining
defenders of Budapest, some 16,000 men, try to break out from
Budapest, although most are killed or captured.
The Yalta Conference ends. The Red
Army the encirclement of the fortress city of Küstrin
on the Oder.
Simultaneous announcements in Moscow,
London and Washington about the Yalta agreement. Agreement
is reached about the allied occupation of Germany, the founding
of the United Nations, the "resettlement" of the
inhabitants of the eastern German territories to be ceded to
Poland and the entry of the Soviet Union into the war against
Japan. Thus far, the Kriegsmarine has evacuated 374,000 German
refugees by sea from East and West Prussia.
Budapest is reported as fully captured
by the Russians. The Red Army captures Schneidemül in
The 1st Ukrainian Front encircles
Breslau which has been declared a fortress under the command
of Gauleiter Hanke.
Russian troops are now covering the
approaches to Danzig. The Red Army captures Sagan in Silesia.
The German 11th SS Army begins a counterattack 'Operation Sonnenwende'
with three Korps (39th Panzer, 3rd SS Panzer and the 10th SS
Korps). However, only the 3rd SS Panzer Korps (11th SS Panzer
Grenadier Division "Nordland" and the 27th SS Grenadier
Division "Langemarck") are ready and begin their
attack South towards Arnswalde, about 30-35 kms southeast of
The remaining Korps of the 11th SS
Army launch their attacks in support of 'Operation Sonnenwende'.
The Red Army encircles Graudenz on
the Vistula. Troops of the 11th SS Army are brought to a stand
still by stiffening Soviet resistance to 'Operation Sonnenwende'.
German forces re-establish communications
between Königsberg and the port of Pillau, thus again
enabling tens of thousands of German refugees to be evacuated
to the west by ships of the Kriegsmarine. 'Operation Sonnenwende'
is finally ended in the face of ever strengthening Red Army
resistance. The operation was a complete military failure,
although did show that the German Army could still organise
and mount limited counter-attacks.
Red Army attacks against the lines
of Army Group Courland fail in the face of stubborn German
The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Guben.
The Russians capture the fortress
of Posen after a month-long siege.
A German counter attack wipes out
the Russian Hron bridgehead over the Danube to the northwest
Army Group Courland repulses heavy
Red Army attacks in the area of Prekuln.
Under Russian pressure, the Romanian
King, Michael I is forced to appoint a Communist government.
The 2nd Belorussian Front captures
Neustettin. The Red Army suspends all further offensive operations
against the lines of Army Group Courland.
Units of Army Group Centre
recapture Lauban in lower Silesia.
The First Belorussian Front breaks
through at Stargard and drives towards Stettin and also establishes
a new bridgehead across the Oder to the South of Frankfurt.
The German 2nd Army is cut off in
Pomerania as the Russian 19th Army reaches the Baltic. The
fortress city of Graudenz on the Vistula surrenders to troops
of the 2nd Belorussian Front.
The 2nd Panzer and 6th SS Panzer Armies
launch a major counter-attack from Lake Balaton towards Budapest.
The Red Army penetrates into the southern
suburbs of Breslau.
The 2nd Belorussian Front captures
Zoppot, during its attack towards Danzig. The Kriegsmarine
evacuates 25,000 civilian refugees from the besieged Baltic
fortress of Kolberg in Pomerania.
The Red Army advances towards Gotenhafen,
a vital port of embarkation for tens of thousands of refugees
from East Prussia.
The 2nd Belorussian Front launches
an offensive against the Braunsberg pocket to the South of
German counterattacks to recapture
the oilfields near Lake Balaton come to an end. The Red Army
cuts all communications between Königsberg and the German
forces fighting in the Braunsberg pocket.
The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front begins
an offensive in the Ratibor area of Upper Silesia.
Two fresh Soviet armies of the 3rd
Ukrainian Front counter attack the German offensive towards
Kolberg falls to the Polish 1st Army,
of the 2nd Belorussian Front, although the Germans manage to
evacuate 80,000 refugees and wounded first.
German troops of Army Group Weichsel
evacuate their bridgehead across the Oder at Stettin. The Russians
capture Braunsberg, 40 miles South of Königsberg.
The Russians capture Stuhlweissenburg
The Russians reach the outskirts of
Danzig and Gotenhafen.
The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Neisse
in Upper Silesia.
The Russians take Papa and Devecser,
both German strong points covering the approaches to the Austrian
border. The Reichsführer-SS is replaced by General Heinrici
as Commander in Chief of Army Group Weichsel.
Bitter street fighting in Danzig as
the Russians force their way into the city's defenses. A German
counterattack from the Frankfurt bridgehead toward Küstrin
bogs down after only a few miles.
The 1st Belorussian Front captures
Gotenhafen (Gdynia) north of Danzig, along with 9,000 prisoners,
after a long struggle. Hitler replaces General Guderian with
General Krebs as chief of OKH.
Troops of the 1st Belorussian Front
finally capture the fortress town of Küstrin against desperate
German resistance. The Russians seize the oilfields South of
Komorn in Hungary, the last source of petroleum for the German
Russians troops finally capture Danzig,
along with 45 U-boats and 10,000 prisoners. Breslau and Glogau
are surrounded, 180 miles South East of Berlin. Russian troops
cross the Austrian border to the North of Koszeg. German troops
of Army Group Weichsel evacuate their last remaining bridgehead
at Wollin to the North of Stettin.
The Russians enters German territory
near Sopron in Hungary. The Russian capture Ratibor in Upper
The 3rd Ukrainian Front
capture Sopron in Hungary, a vital road junction between Budapest
and Vienna and also reaches Wiener Neustadt as it continues
its advance toward Vienna. The fighting in Breslau continues.
The 3rd Ukrainian Front and Bulgarian
forces take Nagykanizsa, thereby gaining control of the main
Hungarian oil production region. 2nd Ukrainian front under
Malinovsky conquers the industrial area of Mosonmagyarovar
and reaches the Austrian border between Dounau and the Neusiedler
The Austrian resistance leader Major
Szokoll and Russian military authorities confer about co-operation
on the Russian offensive against Vienna. The 2nd Ukrainian
front advances close to Vienna. The Russians breaches the German
defensive lines between Wiener Neustadt and Neusiedler lake.
Hard fighting continues as the Red Army advances towards Bratislava.
The Russian 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian
front complete the liberation of Hungary. Troops of the 2nd
Ukrainian front capture Bratislava. The Germans forces counterattack
in Moravska-Ostrava and Nitra.
The 3rd Ukrainian Front reaches the
railway North West of Vienna, cutting rail link with Linz.
Preceded by a tremendous artillery
and air bombardment, the 3rd Belorussian Front with Four armies,
137,000 men, 530 tanks and 2,400 aircraft begin their final
assault against Königsberg, which is held by 35,000 Germans
troops. The Battle for Vienna begins.
Army Group Centre under General Schörner
continues with its attacks against the 2nd and 4th Ukrainian
The 2nd Ukrainian front continues
its advance into northern Czechoslovakia and establishes a
bridgehead across the rivers Morava and Donau (East and Northeast
of Vienna). Heavy fighting in the centre of Vienna. The Red
Air Force drops 1,500 tons of bombs on Königsberg.
Russians secure Königsberg, after
the commander of "fortress Königsberg" General
With the battle of Vienna ongoing,
the German 6th SS Panzer Army succeeds in defeating fierce
Russian attacks into the districts of Wiener Neustadt and to
the west of Baden. The besieged Germans in Breslau continue
to repel the repeated Russian attacks. A German war communiqué now
declares that the resistance in Königsberg has ceased,
but that no surrender has occurred.
The Russians now reaches the centre
of Vienna, capturing the parliament and town hall buildings.
A German war communiqué confesses
that Königsberg did surrender and announces the death
penalty for the fortresses commander, General Lasch.
Troops of the Russian 2nd and 3rd
Ukrainian front complete the capture of Vienna.
The Germans announce that Army Group
Weichsel under General Henrici, is being heavily engaged by
the Russians at Frankfurt an der Oder.
The 3rd Ukrainian front occupies Radkesburg
during its offensive against the industrial area of Mührisch-Ostrau
in Moravia. The 2nd Ukrainian front attacks towards Brno in
Hitler issues the last Order of the
Day to the Eastern Front, saying ‘He who gives orders
to retreat . . . is to be shot on the spot’ as the 1st
Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front start the final
offensive on Berlin from along the Oder-Neisse line.
The battle for Berlin escalates a
breakthrough is made by the 1st Ukrainian front. However, the
1st Belorussian Fronts offensive against Berlin is stalled
by tenacious German resistance on the Seelow Heights, 2 miles
West of the Oder, with great losses of troops and tanks for
the Russians. The situation for the German 6th SS Panzer Army
in Austria is now critical at St.Polten. The Russians occupies
Between Stettin and Schwedt the 2nd
Belorussian front breaks through the Oder defenses, pressuring
Army Group Weichsel even more. The 1st Ukrainian Front captures
Forst on the Neisse river. North of Frankfurt, while the 1st
Belorussian Front continues its attack to take the Seelow Heights,
gradually wearing down the vastly outnumbered German defenders.
The 1st Belorussian Front finally
breaks through the German defenses on the Seelow heights, despite
heavy losses in men and tanks (over 400 in two days) and races
Russian artillery begins to shell
Berlin. The Germans desperately counterattack both North and
South of Frankfurt am der Oder. A Furious battle takes place
at Sternbeck and Protzel. In Czechoslovakia the Russian pressure
increases at Moravska-Ostrava and Brno.
The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front captures
Bautzen and Cottbus 70 miles southeast of Berlin. German troops
still hold out in the port of Pillau.
Hitler decides to stay in Berlin to
the end. The 1st Belorussian Front penetrates into the northern
and eastern suburbs of Berlin.
Russian and U.S. troops meet at Torgau
on Elbe, 60 miles West of Berlin. Russian units of the 1st
Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts meet at Kietzen west of
Berlin, meaning that eight Russian armies have now surrounded
Berlin in a vice like grip. The suburbs Tegel and Reinickendorf
fall into Russian hands. A relief attack by the III Panzer
Korps from the area of Eberswalde 50 miles northeast of Berlin
The 2nd Belorussian front captures
Stettin on the river Oder, while the 3rd Belorussian Front
captures the Baltic port of Pillau, 20 miles West of Königsberg.
General Wenck embarks on the last German offensive to relieve
Berlin, but only manages to reach Ferch on the 27th April,
before the offensive grinds to a halt. The remnants of 9th
Army are cut off and surrounded in the Halbe pocket 30 miles
southwest of Frankfurt am der Oder. The 2nd Ukrainian Front
captures Brno, in Czechoslovakia.
The Russians take Wittemberge on Elbe.
Russian troops reach the Alexanderplatz in Berlin and Spandau
is taken. The 2nd Belorussian front advances in Pomerania seizes
Prenzlau and Angermunde, 70 miles northwest of Berlin. The
German 9th Army tries to reach Berlin from the southeast and
even counterattacks at Zossen. The German 20th Army does the
same Southeast of Belzig. The German High command confesses
that the last German forces in Pillau, East Prussia have surrendered.
Russian forces are fighting in the
Wilhelmstrasse and reach the Anhalt Station which is just half
a mile of the Führerbunker.
During the night Hitler marries Eva
Braun, his mistress, writes a will and appoints Admiral Donitz
as his successor. The 2nd Belorussian front advances fast in
the Stralsund direction and seizes Anklam. In Berlin furious
fighting takes place around the Reichstag, Chancellery and
along Potsdamer Strasse. In Cottbus, South of Berlin, German
troops are still holding the Russians back.
With the Red Army only a few hundred
yards away, Hitler commits suicide with Eva Braun in the Reich
Chancellery bunker at 1530hrs and their bodies immediately
incinerated with gasoline by SS bodyguards. A Sergeant of the
Russian Army plant the Red Flag on top of the Reichstag building
at 2.30 pm. As the final Russian assault on Tiergarten begins,
Goebbels and Bormann send General Krebs, Chief of the General
Staff to the headquarters of Marshal Zhukov with a permit to
make an armistice, but Zhukov refuses and demands an unconditional
surrender. Troops of the 4th Ukrainian front capture Moravska
Ostrava. Fighting continues in Breslau, as the German garrison
refuses to surrender.
Grossadmiral Dönitz, following
the death of Hitler, assumes his duties as the new German head
of state. He orders the utmost resistance in the East where
tens of thousands of German civilians are still trying to escape
from the stampeding Red Army.
General Weidling, the commander of
Berlins Garrison meets with General Chuikov and accepts his
terms of unconditional surrender of Berlin. The garrison in
Berlin surrenders to 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Armies
at 3pm local time. During the 2 week battle for the German
Capital, the Russians suffer more than 300,000 casualties and
while it is hard to estimate German casualties, the figure
of 480,000 German prisoners says a lot.
The Russians make contact with the
U.S. 9th Army in the Wismar area.
A civilian uprising begins in Prague
and is aided by defecting units of the anti-Bolshevist Vlasov
Breslau surrenders after an 82-day
siege, during which the Russians inflicted 29,000 civilian
and military casualties and took more than 40,000 prisoners.
The German Chief-of-Staff, General
Jodl, signs the unconditional surrender to the Russians and
western allies at 2.41am. Operations are to cease 1 minute
after 12pm GMT on the 8th of May 1945.
In deference to the Russians, the
surrender ceremony to the western allies at Rheims of the previous
day is repeated before Marshall Zhukov and other Soviet generals
at Karlshorst, a suburb of Berlin. After radio appeals early
in the day for protection against heavy German shelling, the
Prague resistance reaches an agreement with the Germans for
the capitulation of the city, as the U.S. 4th Armoured Division
from the West and Koniev’s troops from the East approach.
The last convoys of German refugees from Eastern Germany arrive
in western Baltic ports, ending the largest rescue operation
by sea in history. Since the 25th January, a total of 420,000
civilians and wounded soldiers have been evacuated.
Stalin announces the end of war. German
forces of Army Group Kurland surrender.
Russians troops are now in control
of Prague after five days of fierce street fighting between
German troops and Czech Partisans comes to an end, during which
5,000 civilians have been killed.
The Red Army launches a final assault
against the remnants of Army Group Centre, which is still holding
out in Moravia.
General Vlasov, commander of the anti-Bolshevist
Russian Liberation Army is handed over to the Russians by the
Americans and will be executed for treason in August, 1946.
The last pockets of German resistance
in Czechoslovakia are crushed by the Red Army.
The exchange of Russian
POW's for U.S. and British POW's begins at pre-arranged points
Moscow Radio announces the award of
the highest Russian honour, the 'Order of Victory', to Montgomery
A Great Victory Parade
in Moscow’s Red Square, sees Zhukov takes the salute
in Stalin’s presence.
The U.S. 2nd Armoured
Division from Halle enter Berlin in accordance with the four-power
agreement over the division of Germany into zones.
The British 7th Armoured Division, ‘The
Desert Rats’ enters Berlin to establish the British sector.
The USSR, U.K. and U.S. agree on the
administration of greater Berlin and decide that France is
to be included.
The Three-Power Summit Conference
opens at Potsdam.
British, U.S. and French troops enter
Foreign Commissar Molotov
announces that Russia will soon have the atomic bomb.