Battle of Berlin
After having driven their troops across Poland and into Germany, Soviet forces began planning an offensive attack against Berlin. The campaign would be entirely conducted by the Red Army on the ground. The Red Army massed Marshal Georgy Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front to the east of Berlin with Marshal Konstantin Rokossovky's 2nd Belorussian Front to the north and Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front to the south. Going against the Soviets was General Gotthard Heinrici's Army Group Vistula supported by Army Group Centre to the south. Moving forward on April 16, Zhukov's men assaulted the Seelow Heights. In four days of heavy fighting, the Soviets captured the position, but 30,000 of their men were killed. As Zhukov drove on the city, 1st Ukrainian Front continued to make gains to the south. In Berlin, Adolf Hitler began to despair and concluded that the war was lost. In an effort to rescue the situation, the 12th Army was ordered east on the 22nd in the hope it could unite with 9th Army. The Germans then intended for the combined force to aid in defending the city. Early on April 29, Soviet troops crossed Moltke Bridge and began attacks on the Interior Ministry. Seeing no other option, Hitler authorized Weidling to attempt a breakout. Unwilling to leave the city and with the Soviets nearing, Hitler and Eva Braun, remained in the Führerbunker and then committed suicide later in the day. On May 1, the city's remaining 10,000 defenders were forced into a shrinking area in the city center. The Battle of Berlin effectively ended fighting on the Eastern Front and in Europe as a whole. With Hitler's death and complete military defeat, Germany unconditionally surrendered on May 7.
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