The end in Europe
Allied forces arriving Normandy, France, on D-Day.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies began the invasion of Normandy, France. The code name for the invasion was Operation Overlord. The landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the German forces in France. Paris was cleared out of the Germans on August 25, and the Allies continued to pushed the Germans back to the Rhine before the beginning of 1945. The Allied invasion in Italy also pushed the Germans there to their last defensive line.
On June 22, the great Soviet offensive, codenamed Operation Bagration, almost destroyed the German Army Group Centre.85 Soon the Germans were forced to defend Ukraine and Poland. Arriving Soviet troops caused uprisings against German government in Eastern European countries, but all of those failed to succeed without helped by the Soviets.86 Then another Soviet offensive forced Romania and Bulgaria to join the Allies.87 Communist Serbs partisans under Josip Broz Tito retook Belgrade with some help from Bulgaria and the Soviet Union. By early 1945, the Soviets attacked many German-occupied countries: Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia and Hungary. Finland also stopped fighting the Soviets and joined the Allies.
American and Soviet soldiers met east of Elbe river, April 1945.
On December 16, 1944, the Germans tried for the last time to win on the Western Front by attacking the Allies in the Ardennes, Belgium, which was also the last German major attack in the war, but it failed every target.88 By March 1945, the Soviet army moved quickly from Vistula River in Poland to East Prussia and Vienna, while the Western Allies crossed the Rhine, closing in from Western Germany. By late April, the Allies pushed forward in Italy, while the Soviets attacked Berlin. The two linked up on Elbe river on April 25.
Hitler killed himself in April 30, 1945, two days after Mussolini’s death.89 He appointed his navy commander, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, to be the President of Germany.90 Opposing Hitler’s will to have Germany continue fighting, Dönitz wanted to surrender to the Western Allies.
German forces surrendered in Italy on April 29. Germany surrendered to the Western Allies on May 7, known as V-E Day, and was forced to surrender to the Soviets on May 8. The final battle in Europe was ended on May 11