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Answered 2006-09-09 15:30:48

Doubtless there were myriad small battles fought right up until the German surrender but the last major battle on the eastern front would be the fight for Berlin. Berlin in 1939 was a world class city. In that year the four largest cities of the world were New York, London, Tokyo, and Berlin. Each was the center of financial and industrial power for a great nation. By the end of the war, only one, Berlin, had been overrun and conquered although London and Tokyo both suffered air attack. By 1945, much of Berlin was ruined due to air attacks, exactly 1,000 in total. However, Berlin as noted, was a huge city and even 1,000 major air raids had only destroyed about 25% of the city. Much of it continued to function with some effectiveness, such as the water, telephone, and electrical services. Trolleys still ran. Government and factory workers still showed up. When the Soviets began their assault in late April 1945, it was with artillery. The last British led air raid ended just hours before. The artillery bombardment probably did more damage in a couple days that had all the bombing missions so far. The Germans by some accounts had 500,000 men on defense but mostly these were lightly trained militia, old men, boys, etc. Some excellent units did fight including several SS units. These put up such a defense that despite overwhelming numbers and firepower, the Soviets still took about eight days of street fighting to secure the city and suffered huge casualties, probably in excess of 100,000 dead. Supposedly 1,000 Soviet soldiers died just in the initial assault on the Reichstag building. Many German units fought to the death knowing the savages who opposed them would offer no quarter to military or civilian alike. The brutality of the Soviet soldier was unmatched on the planet by any force. Following the German military collapse, the rapes, looting, plunder, murder and arson by these forces are well documented. Of course, Hitler committed suicide near the end of the battle which effectively ended the war. His successor Admiral Doenitz, rushed with all possible haste to end the war on Allied terms, which took about ten days as I recall from Hitler's death to the signing of the surrender papers. As noted above, there were doubtless many small actions here and there in North Italy, Croatia, near Hamburg, etc. but the fall of Berlin effectively ended the major European fighting.

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