Berlin crisis: the standoff at Checkpoint Charlie | World news | The Guardian
As the Allies raced the Soviets to Berlin, the true evil of the Nazis became crystal clear, even through the fog of war. On April 4, the U.S. Third. In Berlin, the Reichsbanner resistance organization identified possible drop zones for Allied paratroopers and. In August Washington and its British and French allies had failed to prevent the Russians building the Berlin Wall. And by October, East.
For years, Soviet troops had been inching slowly westward, pushing Nazi troops back all along the Eastern Front. Finally, on April 25,Soviet and American troops cut through the Wehrmacht divisions and met in the middle of Germany near the town of Torgau, 85 miles from Berlin, on the Elbe River. The allied forces had effectively cut Germany in two. Open sources That Soviet and American troops would meet in this general area was known, and signals had even been worked out between the allied leaders at Yalta to indicate to the troops on either side that they were friendly.
But the actual meeting itself was decided by fate.
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The moment, which came to be known as the Meeting on the Elbe, portended the end of the war in Europe, which came less than two short weeks later, when the Red Army stormed Berlin. Bill Robertson of the th Regiment of the 69th Infantry Division, driving on the morning of April 25 into the town of Torgau, knew that he might encounter Soviet troops, and knew he should greet them as friends and allies — Gen. Courtney Hodges, Commander of the First U.
The first American soldiers to make contact were to fire a green-colored star shell — the Soviets, a red one.
Robertson and the three men in his patrol decided the best way to show they were Americans was to present an American flag. Alexander Sylvashko was skeptical at first that Robertson and his men were Americans. He thought the four men waving a colored sheet were Germans playing a trick on the Soviet troops.
He fired a red star shell, but did not receive a green one in return. Sylvashko sent one of his soldiers, a man named Andreev, to meet Robertson, in the center of a bridge crossing the Elbe. They swore an oath, in memory of those who had not made it so far: Officers exchanged their service weapons. Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev presented U.
Berlin crisis: the standoff at Checkpoint Charlie
General Omar Bradley with his war horse, a magnificent Don stallion; Bradley presented Konev with the Legion of Merit — and also gave him a jeep. Eisenhower the highest honor of the Soviet Union, the Order of Victory.
Eisenhower gave Zhukov the Legion of Honor. The drink was colorless so that it would look like Zhukov was drinking vodka. Main thrusts of the Red Army and its eastern allies. Starting on 12 Januarythe Red Army began the Vistula—Oder Offensive across the Narew River; and, from Warsaw, a three-day operation on a broad front, which incorporated four army Fronts. Three German divisions attempts to relieve the encircled Hungarian capital city failed, and Budapest fell to the Soviets on 13 February.
Order of battle for the Battle of Berlin The Soviet offensive into central Germany, what later became East Germanyhad two objectives. Stalin did not believe the Western Allies would hand over territory occupied by them in the post-war Soviet zone, so he began the offensive on a broad front and moved rapidly to meet the Western Allies as far west as possible. But the overriding objective was to capture Berlin. Another consideration was that Berlin itself held useful post-war strategic assets, including Adolf Hitler and the German atomic bomb programme.
Heinrici correctly assessed that the main Soviet thrust would be made over the Oder River and along the main east-west Autobahn.
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Instead, Heinrici arranged for engineers to fortify the Seelow Heightswhich overlooked the Oder River at the point where the Autobahn crossed them. Heinrici thinned out the line in other areas to increase the manpower available to defend the heights. German engineers turned the Oder's flood plain, already saturated by the spring thaw, into a swamp by releasing the water from a reservoir upstream.
Behind the plain on the plateau, the engineers built three belts of defensive emplacements  reaching back towards the outskirts of Berlin the lines nearer to Berlin were called the Wotan position.
This freed up Marshal Rokossovsky 's 2nd Belorussian Front to move west to the east bank of the Oder river. While this redeployment was in progress, gaps were left in the lines; and the remnants of General Dietrich von Saucken 's German II Armywhich had been bottled up in a pocket near Danzigmanaged to escape into the Vistula Delta.
Battle of the Oder—Neisse The sector in which most of the fighting in the overall offensive took place was the Seelow Heightsthe last major defensive line outside Berlin.
These breakthroughs allowed the two Soviet Fronts to envelop the German 9th Army in a large pocket west of Frankfurt. Attempts by the 9th Army to break out to the west resulted in the Battle of Halbe. The weight of ordnance delivered by Soviet artillery during the battle was greater than the total tonnage dropped by Western Allied bombers on the city.
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The corps was still holding on to the Berlin- Cottbus highway front line. He ordered the IX Army to hold Cottbus and set up a front facing west.
This would supposedly allow them to form a northern pincer that would meet the IV Panzer Army coming from the south and envelop the 1st Ukrainian Front before destroying it.
He stressed that it was already too late for it to move north-west to Berlin and would have to retreat west. He declared that the war was lost, blaming the generals for the defeat and that he would remain in Berlin until the end and then kill himself.