What It Was Like The Day Benito Mussolini Died

For more context as to what was happening in Germany at the close of the war, then you need look no further than the Battle of Berlin. Generally considered the last major offensive of the European theater, the Battle of Berlin saw Soviet armies force their way into the city between April 20 and May 2. The conflict caused some 100,000 Soviet casualties, and an unrecorded number of German casualties. It is widely considered one of the deadliest battles of World War II. 

But the truly devastating part of the battle doesn’t come from the statistics. See, the Soviet army was racing to capture Berlin, and the feverish rush led to truly barbaric acts inflicted on the people of Berlin, whom the Soviets had stopped seeing as human beings. They brought tanks into the city streets and fired at buildings with little care for civilian casualties. Berliners hid in cellars, hoping to save themselves from the artillery, but that wasn’t enough, as Soviet soldiers took to tossing grenades in, hoping to kill soldiers and not caring if civilians were caught in the crossfire. Some people tried hanging white flags in their windows, despite fearing reprisals from SS officials, and others desperately hoped that the Americans would arrive, if only to drive the Red Army away.

Then, there were the women of Berlin, who had further fears. While the first Soviet soldiers were, apparently, relatively professional, the same couldn’t be said of later arrivals. A reported 100,000 Berlin women were raped, and stories have survived of them preparing to leap from windows just to get away.

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