the final assault on germany

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CONTENTS

With the halt of the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, the offensive against the Germans resumes
The Germans in full retreat across Germany
But the Germans continue to offer stiff resistance in Holland and Italy
The changing of the guard at the White House
The destruction of Hitler's German Reich - May 1945

THE OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE GERMANS RESUMES

With the halt of the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, the offensive against the Germans resumes

.

"We were getting our second wind now and started flattening out that bulge.
We took 50,000 prisoners in December alone." American soldier with captured Germans. Ca. 1944.
National Archives 208-YE-105.

"Chow is served to American Infantrymen on their way to La Roche, Belgium.
347th Infantry Regiment." Newhouse, January 13, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-198849.


On the Eastern Front the Soviets are pushing deep into German and East European territory

A Soviet T-34 tank on the street of Belgrade
Wikipedia - "World War II"

THE GERMANS IN FULL RETREAT ACROSS GERMANY

"General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander,
at his headquarters in the European theater of operations.
He wears the five-star cluster of the newly-created rank of General of the Army."
T4c. Messerlin, February 1, 1945.
National Archives 80-G-331330

American generals: seated left to right are
William H. Simpson, George S. Patton, Jr., Carl Spaatz, Dwight D. Eisenhower,
Omar Bradley, Courtney H. Hodges, and Leonard T. Gerow;
standing are Ralph F. Stearley, Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Walter Bedell Smith,
Otto P. Weyland, and Richard E. Nugent. ca. 1945.
National Archives 208-YE-182.


The Allied conference at Yalta (in the Crimea in Southern Russia/Ukraine) - February 1945
The goal: to set the terms for the pacification of Europe
and to get Russia to actively support the war against Japan in the East

"Conference of the Big Three at Yalta makes final plans for the defeat of Germany.
Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Premier Josef Stalin."
February 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-260486

Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at Yalta - February 1945
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
Ball, Images of American Political History.

Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta - February 1945
(behind them: Sir Anthony Eden, Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Sir Alexander Cadogan, Vyacheslav Molotov and Averell Harriman)
Note: Roosevelt is not in good health; the trip to Yalta greatly drained his strength
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
Athearn [American Heritage - Vol. 15], p. 1332


At this Point the Allies Are Streaming into Germany

"Then came the big day when we marched into Germany--right through the Siegfried Line." 1945.
National Archives 208-YE-193.

"First U.S. Army men and equipment pour across the Remagen Bridge;
two knocked out jeeps in foreground." Sgt. William Spangle, Germany, March 11, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-201973.

"I drew an assault boat to cross in--just my luck.
We all tried to crawl under each other because the lead was flying around like hail."
Crossing the Rhine under enemy fire at St. Goar. March 1945.
National Archives 208-YE-132.

American infantry moving through Bensheim, Germany as a woman contemplates the destruction - March 1945
National Archives
Keesee and Sidwell, p. 532

"All this inanimate wreckage around us was little enough compensation
for the human wreckage we hauled back and forth, back and forth.
Lunebach, Germany" - ca March 1945 - Army
National Archives
Ball, Images of American Political History

"Two anti-tank Infantrymen of the 101st Infantry Regiment, dash past a blazing
German gasoline trailer in square of Kronach, Germany."
T4c. W. J. Rothenberger, April 14, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-206235.

"Infantrymen of the 255th Infantry Regiment move down a street in Waldenburg to hunt
out the Hun after a recent raid by 63rd Division." 2d Lt. Jacob Harris, April 16, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-205778

A"Soldiers of the 55th Armored Infantry Battalion and tank of the 22nd Tank Battalion,
move through smoke filled street. Wernberg, Germany." Pvt. Joseph Scrippens, April 22, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-205298.


BUT THE GERMANS CONTINUE TO GIVE FULL ACCOUNT OF THEMSELVES IN THE NORTH (HOLLAND)
AND THE SOUTH (ITALY)

Canadian Infantry of the Regiment de Maisonneuve, moving through Holten
to Rijssen, Netherlands. Lt. D. Guravitch, April 9, 1945.
National Archives 306-NT-1334B-11.

"Moving up through Prato, Italy, men of the 370th Infantry Regiment,
have yet to climb the mountain which lies ahead." Bull, April 9, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-205289.

The corpses of Mussolini, his mistress Clara Petacci and other Fascists strung up in Milan - May 1945
U.S. Army Air Forces
Time - 75 Years, p. 64.

THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD AT THE WHITE HOUSE

Roosevelt in his fourth run for the White House ...
is up against a very highly respected Republican candidate, New York Governor Thomas Dewey.
But Americans generally feel that this is no time to be 'changing horses' in the mid-stream of the War

Roosevelt is elected to his fourth term as President.
But unknown to most Americans, he has only a few month to live as he enters his fourth term in early 1945.
To the enormous shock of the nation, he dies suddenly in mid-April while seeking the healing waters of Warm Springs Georgia.
.

Polio patients at Warm Springs Georgia spa honoring the dead president FDR
Edward Clark / LIFE
LIFE, p. 204

Accordianist Graham Jackson paying tribute to FDR at Warm Springs
Edward Clark / LIFE
LIFE, p. 204

Harry S. Truman sworn in as 33rd President by US Supreme Court Chief Justice Harlan Stone - April 12, 1945
Harry S. Truman Library
Evans, p. 373

FDR's funeral cortege passes through Washington, D.C. on its way to Hyde Park, New York - April 1945
UPI
Athearn [American Heritage - Vol. 15], p. 1339

James Byrnes, the new President, Harry Truman, and Henry Wallace awaiting FDR's funeral train - 1945
The Harry S. Truman Library
Evans, p. 413

Harry Truman - 1945
Library of Congress
Ball, Images of American Political History


Harry Truman -- the man

Harry S. Truman (left) in haberdasher shop he co-owned with Edward Jacobson (not shown)
in Kansas City - 1919-1922
Corbis-Bettmann
Evans, p. 375

Harry S. Truman and Kansas City boss Tom Pendergast - who brought him into politics in 1922
Harry S. Truman Library
Evans, p. 375

THE FINAL DESTRUCTION OF HITLER'S GERMAN REICH - MAY 1945

"With torn picture of his feuhrer beside his clenched fist, a dead general of the Volkssturm
lies on the floor of city hall, Leipzig, Germany. He committed suicide rather than face
U.S. Army troops who captured the city on April 19. 1945." T5c. J. M. Heslop.
National Archives 208-YE-148

"Choked with debris, a bombed water intake of the Pegnitz River no longer supplies war factories
in Nuremberg, vital Reich industrial city and festival center of the Nazi party, which was captured
April 20, 1945, by troops of the U.S. Army."
National Archives 208-AA- 207L-1

American and Soviet troops meet east of the Elbe River - April 1945
U.S. Army
Wikipedia - "World War II"

"Happy 2nd Lt. William Robertson and Lt. Alexander Sylvashko, Russian Army, shown in front of sign
[East Meets West] symbolizing the historic meeting of the Russian and American Armies,
near Torgau, Germany." Pfc. William E. Poulson, April 25, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-205228

Soviet soldiers entering the Frankfurter Allee station in Berlin - 1945
Russian State Archiv
Wikipedia - "World War II"

Soviet troops raising the Soviet flag over the Bundestag in Berlin - May 1945
Yevgeny Khaldei - Russian State Archiv
Wikipedia - "World War II"


"Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, signing the ratified surrender terms for the German Army
at Russian Headquarters in Berlin." Lt. Moore, Germany, May 7, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-206292.

Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall on the day he broadcast to the nation
that the war with Germany had been won, 8 May 1945
Imperial War Museum Photo No.: H 41849
Wikipedia - "World War II"

"Jubilant American soldier hugs motherly English woman and victory smiles light the faces
of happy service men and civilians at Piccadilly Circus, London,
celebrating Germany's unconditional surrender." Pfc. Melvin Weiss, England, May 7, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-205398.

The Supreme Commanders on June 5, 1945 in Berlin: Bernard Montgomery,
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Georgy Zhukov and Jean de Lattre de Tassigny.
Wikipedia - "World War II"

Victory Parade on Red Square, Moscow on June 24, 1945.
Wikipedia - "World War II"

"Happy veterans head for harbor of Le Havre, France, the first to be sent home
and discharged under the Army's new point system." Pfc. Stedman, May 25, 1945.
National Archives 111-SC-207868.

"The famous British liner, QUEEN MARY, arrives in New York Harbor, June 20, 1945,
with thousands of U.S. troops from European battles."
National Archives 80-GK-5645.


The Reichbank's reserves in a cavern
National Archives

Eisenhower and Bradley inspecting stolen art
National Archives