the Eastern Front, the major Soviet offensive of December 1943–April
1944 routed the German armies in western Ukraine and allowed the Red
Army to reach the Soviet western border. The Red Army then pursued
the enemy by advancing into Romania at the end of March 1944 and
Poland at the end of July of that year.
Military operations were now increasingly planned in coordination
with the Western Allies. Following the opening of the second front
in France, the cooperation between the Allies entered its most
fruitful stage. By 6 June 1944—the day of the Western Allies’
landing in Normandy—about two-thirds of the more combat-worthy
Wehrmacht divisions were striving in vain to defend against the Red
Army offensive in eastern Europe. In the autumn of 1944 the German
troops were expelled almost entirely from the Soviet territory, and
the Red Army advanced into Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, and Norway.
the winter of 1944–45 the war against Germany and its allies in
Europe entered its final phase. Squeezed between the two fronts,
Germany had to counter the concerted assaults of the Allies. By
mid-April 1945 the Soviet troops had pushed the Germans out of
Poland, Hungary, and the eastern parts of Czechoslovakia and
Austria, and occupied the eastern one-third of Germany.
last-ditch Battle of Berlin, despite the fierce resistance of the
million-strong German forces, failed to repel the Soviet onslaught.
At the climax of the German collapse, with Berlin encircled by
Soviet troops, Hitler committed suicide on 30 April; two days later,
the Berlin garrison capitulated. On 8 May the surrender of all
German forces was signed.