English Across the Curriculum

World War II

The End of the War

The Soviet victory at Stalingrad ended Germany’s advance in eastern Europe. In the following years, the Soviet army received supplies from Great Britain and the United States and started moving westward.

Soon after the Normandy invasion Stalin’s armies attacked along a 700 km front. In July 1944 Soviet troops reached Warsaw and in the following months drove the Germans out of most of eastern Europe.

The final attack on Germany began in early 1945. Soviet soldiers reached the Oder River, about 65 km east of Berlin and Allied forces set themselves up along the Rhine River by March.

By this time, it was clear that Germany could not fight much longer, even though Hitler ordered his men to fight to their deaths. A large number of German soldiers surrendered to the Allies every day.

The Allied leaders– U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin—met in Russia for the Yalta conference. There they planned Germany’s defeat and the occupation of the country.

Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta Conference

Image:  Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives.,
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile the Soviet army pushed on through Germany and by April 25, 1945 they had surrounded Berlin. Adolf Hitler realized that the war was over and committed suicide in his bunker on April 30. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945.

As they marched on through Germany Allied soldiers discovered terrifying evidence of Nazi brutality. Even though they freed death camps thousands died of starvation after Germany's surrender.

German commander surrenders
Image: Lt. Moore (US Army); restored by Adam Cuerden,
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons