Berlin 1945

Brand New Spring Is To Begin

Berlin 1945. Spring. The Red Army was approaching from the East passing the river Oder which was approximately 60 km away from the city.

After the last strong German troops were beaten on the hills „Seelower Hoehen“, the Red Army reached Berlin. There were two groups with the Marshals Zhukov and Konev as commanders competing who would reach the final target first. All officers and soldiers, the army were moving towards the center of Berlin-towards Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag.

When the Soviets being the first occupying power arrived in Berlin 1945, they saw a city devastated by the air raids and street fighting. It was a ghost looking city as a lot of other cities of the world suffered from total devastation and destruction of the World War II.

It is interesting that „Reichstag“ was the main target of the Soviets and the red flag on it became symbol of the victory. But Reichstag never played such an important role in the period of the WWII.

The battle of Berlin resulted in many victims from militaries and local population.



Marshal Zhukov at Reichstag




Hitler meanwhile committed suicide in his bunker near to „Neue Reichskanzlei“. And Zero hour started in Berlin 1945 on the 8th May after capitulation of Nazi government. It became a symbol of an end of the World War II in Germany. The time after Zero hour is called the "time after the war". That was the time which local population feared the most as they expected revenge from the winners.

Germany as a whole surrendered on the 8th of May. The official procedure was on 7th May in Reims and on the 8th May in Berlin, in the district Karlshorst where you can visit the Museum of Capitulation.

The new beginning in a destroyed city was not easy and the violent encroachments against German citizens, especially women during the first days made it horrible for people.


Ruins of Reichstag and modern Berlin




Since Berlin as a capital of Germany was during the conference of Yalta divided into 4 parts (British, French, US and Soviet sectors), soldiers of the other three allied arrived in July in accordance with the decisions of the conference.

The Allied Control Council for Germany took place in Berlin. The commanders in chief of all Allied (General T. D. Eisenhower, Marshal Montgomery, Marshal Zhukov and General de Lattre de Tassigny) were the representatives of their countries in the council.

The idea was to administrate Germany as a unite. But the different interests especially of USA and Soviet Union in Asia and other parts of the world showed here effects, too. The time of the so called cold war started resulting further in Berlin Wall construction and all post war political tensions.

Battle of Berlin was really the most terrible and destructive in the world. It was the battle ending the period of so called Third Reich and start of the new world which realized that peace, freedom and love are the aim of mankind for better life and happiness and harmony.

Tiergarten and Tiger tank and modern Berlin



Facts about the extent of the devastation in Berlin 1945:

  • Around 48,000 buildings were destroyed of total 245,000 buildings which had existed in Berlin before the war.
  • One third of all private apartments were totally destroyed.
  • All electricity, gas and water supplies were destroyed.
  • The transport network was mostly destroyed. But relatively shortly it started to function again.
  • The period of so called The Clean-Up was initiated by Soviets as they were first to enter the city. The Western Allies arrived in July, 1945.

  • According to them, the clean-up operation would last 12 years.
  • On May 29, all women aged between 15 and 65 were conscripted as Truemmerfrauen (rubble women). In all, 60,000 women worked to rebuild Berlin.

Rations and starvation facts in Berlin:

  • The biggest problem that the Berliners had to face was the threat of starvation. German war-time ration cards could not be used.
  • Any remaining rations were either used to feed Russian troops or stolen by hungry Germans.

  • The black market played a great role in the economy of Berlin 1945.
  • The most value had cigarettes not money or people agreed on barter deals. Because of starvation and hunger Berliners exchanged valuable property against any food. People went to countryside area to try to exchange jewelry or anything of value for food. The most important was to survive.
  • At that time situation with crimes was critical. Homeless and hopeless people were ready to murder and steal. Demoralization was very high.
  • And the winter in Berlin 1945-1946 was very severe- up to minus 30 degrees. All of those conditions and the fact of surrender and realization of the results of the WWII played a fundamental role in the future rebuilding of Germany during the cold war and later after unification of West and East Germanys.




Historic footage of the Ruins of Berlin set to the music of Friedrich Hollaender, sung by Marlene Dietrich (one of the most famous Berliner in the world) in the film "A Foreign Affair" (1948), directed by Billy Wilder became prophetic.


The Ruins Of Berlin

Amidst the ruins of Berlin

trees are in bloom as they have never been

sometimes at night you feel in all your sorrow

a perfume as of a sweet tomorrow.

That's when you realize at last

they won't return the phantoms of the past.

A brand new spring is to begin

out of the ruins of Berlin.

In den Ruinen von Berlin,

fangen die Blumen wieder an zu bluehn,

und in der Nacht spuerst Du von allen Seiten,

einen Duft als wie aus alten Zeiten.

Dans les ruines de Berlin

les avant-fleurs parfumees tant jamais!

I na razwalinah Berlina,

nacnetsja nowaja wesna.

In den Ruinen von Berlin,

fangen die Blumen wieder an zu bluehn,

und in der Nacht spuerst Du von allen Seiten,

einen Duft als wie aus alten Zeiten.

Dans les ruines de Berlin

les avant-fleurs parfumees tant jamais!

I na razwalinah Berlina,

nacnetsja nowaja wesna.






Hereby we used photos of a Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov who kindly permitted to use his works. He uses technique called perspective-matching photography or the fancier computational rephotography, which consists of precisely matching the points-of-view of vintage and modern photographs.

The photos of Berlin 1945 look very impressive. Especially if people live in the modern Berlin and in everyday routine they forget about the past. But the past is invisibly everywhere. When you look at the old buildings in the center of the city you can see the traces of the battle of Berlin and Berlin 1945. Those traces are on the walls. The holes from bullets. They were not covered on purpose.

In Treptow Park, Tiergarten, Schoenholz and other places you can visit the memorials to Soviet soldiers and officers.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe you can find in the center. In the other parts of the city one can find memorials to Jewish victims of the WWII such as Memorial in der Großen Hamburger Straße and Memorial in Gruenewald and Monument of Wannsee Conference. In the Heerstraße there is a monument to British Soldiers.

The monuments are kept and restored as they were designed and constructed after the war in the memory of victims of the WWII and for the present and future generations saying-Never Again!


Soviet soldier standing in front of Reichstag




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