By the end of March 1945, Allied forces were making significant advances against German forces from all directions. American forces were moving in from the north, west and south. Soviet forces were moving in from the east. It was obvious that the end of the war in Europe was drawing near.
On April 1,1945, Allied forces move into Germany, capturing more than 300,000 German troops in the Ruhr Valley, about 50 miles northeast of Dusseldorf. Allied forces launch a major offensive into northern Italy.
On April 10, 1945, Allied forces capture Hanover, Germany, about 160 miles west of Berlin.
On April 11, 1945, American troops arrive at the Buchenwald concentration camp, located near Weimar, Germany. Buchenwald was the first concentration camp built in Germany and was also one of the largest. When the US troops arrived, they discovered that the prisoners had recently managed to free themselves.
On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies at the age of 63. Vice President Harry S. Truman is sworn in and takes over as Commander in Chief.
On April 13, 1945, Soviet forces capture Vienna, Austria from the Germans.
On April 15, 1945, Allied forces capture Arnhem, Netherlands, located about 10 miles from the German border.
On April 16, 1945, Soviet forces launch their attack on Hitler’s capital city of Berlin.
On April 18, 1945, the remaining German soldiers in the Ruhr Valley finally surrender to Allied forces.
On April 20, 1945, Soviet forces launch an attack on German forces trying to defend the crossing at the Oder River while Hitler is celebrating his 56th birthday.
On April 21, 1945, Soviet forces break through Berlin’s defenses and begin entering the suburbs. American forces capture Nuremberg, Germany, future home of the famous Nuremberg war crimes trials.
On April 22, 1945, Soviet forces entering Berlin received orders on how to proceed with their assault on the German capital. Adolf Hitler meets with his staff in his bunker. After learning that the Soviet troops met no resistance at Eberswalde, Hitler admits to his staff that Germany had lost the war. He also tells them that his only course of action at that point was suicide.
On April 24, 1945, the German 12th Army launches a last ditch offensive to stop the Soviet advance on Berlin.
On April 25, 1945, American and Soviet forces encounter each other at the Elbe River.
On April 27, 1945, Soviet forces advance to within 15 miles of the heart of Berlin.
On April 28, 1945, Italian insurgents capture and execute Hitler’s ally Benito Mussolini.
On April 29, 1945, the infamous concentration camp at Dachau is liberated by America troops. Upon searching the facility, they discover an abundances of evidence revealing that the Germans had been performing a number of horrific medical experiments on the prisoners.
On April 30, 1945, Soviet forces have spread throughout much of Berlin and capture the Reichstag. Reportedly, Hitler and his companion Eva Braun commit suicide inside Hitler’s bunker. Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz is then named President of Nazi Germany per Hitler’s will.
On May 1, 1945, Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister waits to make sure that his wife and six kids are murdered and then he also commits suicide. German General Hans Krebs contacts Soviet General Chuikov with a proposal for surrender. Soviet forces open fire on the German Chancellery and surrounding area, destroying the center of Germany’s government.
On May 2, 1945, Soviet forces have taken control of Berlin. German troops in Italy surrender to Allied forces.
On this day, May 7, 1945, German General Alfred Jodl, at the instruction of Doenitz, meets with American General Dwight Eisenhower at Rheims, France and signs an unconditional surrender. Present at the signing was Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, General Walter Bedell Smith, Soviet General Ivan Susloparov and French General Francois Sevez, all signing as witnesses. The war in Europe was officially over.
On May 8, 1945, President Truman announces VE Day and the nation takes to the streets in celebration.
Sources for the above includes: Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at Reims; 1945: World War II Timeline; 1945 Events Timeline of World War 2; World War II: Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz; VE Day 70th anniversary: A look at Germany’s surrender in 1945 and the end of WW2 [Graphic images]; A Timeline of WWII (1939-1945); WW2: German Surrender; This Date In History: Germany Surrenders To The Allies On May 7, 1945, Effectively Ending World War II (PHOTOS); 1945: Germany signs unconditional surrender.