Conflict: World War II topic: Battle for Berlin Argument

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Josh Hayes

Horner 4

20th Century Conflicts Project

Conflict: World War II

Topic: Battle for Berlin

Argument: The Battle for Berlin was a significant effect because the German stronghold was shown to be weak. If the Germans managed to hold their ground at Berlin they could have turned the tides of war to their favor. But unfortunately the Germans lost which made the world a more peaceful place today.
Key Passages:

  1. Primary Source

“On 15 of April, Soviet forces launched one of the most powerful artillery barrages in history. Over a million shells were fired against German positions west of the Oder. But when Zukhov's troops advanced from their bridgeheads, they found that the Germans had withdrawn to fortified positions on the Seelow heights further inland, having learned of the imminent Soviet attack from a captured Russian soldier. Zukhov's attack clearly wasn't going according to plan. He decided to send in wave after wave against the German defences. 'We started to fire at the masses,' says one former German machine gunner. '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.' There was confusion all around. According to one Russian veteran, Soviet artillery was fired without proper guidance, killing scores of Red Army soldiers. It took Zukhov three days to break the German resistance, far longer than planned. Huge numbers of Soviet tanks were lost because they were used as battering rams against the German positions. Over 30,000 Soviet soldiers died compared to the 10,000 soldiers lost by the Germans. In the end, the high Soviet casualty rate was largely a result of Stalin's hurry to reach Berlin.”

Remme, Tilman. "BBC - History - World Wars: The Battle for Berlin in World War Two." BBC - Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2011.

  1. Primary Source

“"Together with my wife, Grand Admiral Dönitz and his wife, and our adjutants, we watched this violent and horrible spectacle from a small mound in the garden of the Grand Admiral's service quarters.... During this final heavy bombardment in perfect and sunny weather, ... [o]ur own fighter squadrons did nothing to beat off the attack on Berlin, and the anti-aircraft defenses were powerless against an enemy attacking from such a height. The raid lasted almost two hours, the bombers parading overhead in tight formation as though it were a peacetime air display, dropping the bombs in perfect unison." (zukhov)

Chen, Peter. "Battle of Berlin | World War II Database." World War II Database: Your WW2 History Reference Destination. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2011. .

Primary Source

On the evening of 23 April, General Weidling took command of the city and that same night moved the troops of the 56th Panzer Corps into Berlin. The divisions were immediately committed at crucial points in the battle lines. Remnants of the 20th Panzer Grenadier Division went into action in the southwest, Panzer Division "Muenchenberg" in the southeast, SS Panzer Grenadier Division "Nordland" and remnants of SS Panzer Grenadier Division "Nederland" in the east, and the 18th Panzer Grenadier Division in the northern and southern parts of the Zoo sector. This indication of the distribution of forces can serve only as a general guide, since the position and composition of the units changed daily and even hourly. The Panzer corps and the SS units under Mohnke now carried the burden of the stiffening resistance to the uninterrupted Russian attacks, which were concentrated in the southeast, east, and north. In the west, Berlin was attacked by comparatively weaker forces, but they were still far superior to the defenders. The forces advancing from the south behind the 1st Ukrainian Army Group had to divert elements against the Ninth Army, Potsdam, and later the Twelfth Army.In the course of heavy fighting, the German troops were pushed back to the city circuit railroad and even beyond it. By 30 April only the government sector, the immediate vicinity of the Tiergarten and a strip extending westward from the Zoo sector to the Havel River were still held by the defenders. The Russians employed a planned and methodical procedure of attack. Bombing and heavy artillery and mortar fire preceded every fresh assault. The infantry was supported by tanks advancing singly or in group formation and by engineer troops with flame-throwers and demolition equipment. Advances were made by small sectors - street by street and house by house. The infantry took every opportunity to infiltrate through back yards, cellar passageways, subway tunnels, and sewers. In this way many of the defense positions were

stormed from behind or below.”

"German Army Defense of Berlin - World War II Battle of Berlin." Military How To, Espionage and Military History Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2011.

  1. Primary Source

“Within Berlin, Weidling possessed around 45,000 men composed of Wehrmacht, SS, Hitler Youth, and Volkssturm militia. Initial Soviet assaults on Berlin began on April 23, a day before the city was encircled. Striking from the southeast, they met heavy resistance but reached the Berlin S-Bahn railway near Teltow Canal by the following evening. On April 26, Lieutenant General Vasily Chuikov's 8th Guards Army advanced from the south and attacked Tempelhof Airport. By the next day, Soviet forces were pushing into the city along multiple lines from the south, southeast, and north.”

Hickman, Kennedy. "Battle of Berlin - World War II Battle of Berlin." Military History - Warfare through the Ages - Battles and Conflicts - Weapons of War - Military Leaders in History. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2011. .

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