The Occupation of Germany
In March 1945 the Allies crossed the Rhine and began to capture the main German cities also with the aid of aerial bombardments. On the 23rd of October the Russians, under the command of Marshal Zhukov, launched an offensive in East Prussia. They invaded Germany from the south via Czechoslovakia, and at the end of April 1945 they penetrated into Berlin itself. Following fierce face-to-face street battles the Russians broke through to their main objective, and on the 2nd of May 1945 they raised the Red Flag over the ruins of the Reichstag building in the center of Berlin.
On the 1st of May the German radio announced the death of Hitler. He committed suicide the day before, together with his wife Eva Braun, a day after their wedding ceremony, which took place in the Bunker. In his political will, Hitler justified Germany’s expansion to the East, blamed the Jews for his downfall, and denounced the heads of the Army and the Party as traitors because they wanted to make contacts with the Allies in order to halt the bloodshed. Hitler nominated Karl Doenitz, Commander of the German Navy ( and previous Commander of the submarine fleet) as his successor. Goebbels, Hitler’s faithful assistant, committed suicide together with his family immediately following Hitler’s death. On the 7th of May Genera Jodel, Operations Commander in the German High Command, signed the surrender of the German Army , in the Headquarters of the Allied Supreme Commander, General Eisenhower .Thus came to an end of the ‘Thousand Year Reich’—12 years after its establishment. In the West, VE (Victory in Europe) Day is celebrated on the 8th of May and in Russia on the 9th of May.