Axis collapse, Allied victory

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Axis collapse, Allied victory

Post by DIESEL on Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:01 am

Axis collapse, Allied victory
American and Soviet troops meet east of the Elbe River.
Nuclear explosion at Hiroshima.

On December 16, 1944 German forces counter-attacked in the Ardennes against the Western Allies. It took six weeks for the Allies to repulse the attack. The Soviets attacked through Hungary, while the Germans abandoned Greece and Albania and were driven out of southern Yugoslavia by partisans.[165] In Italy, the Western Allies remained stalemated at the German defensive line. In mid-January 1945, the Soviets attacked in Poland, pushing from the Vistula to the Oder river in Germany, and overran East Prussia.[166]

On February 4, U.S., British, and Soviet leaders met in Yalta. They agreed on the occupation of post-war Germany,[167] and when the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan.[168]

In February, the Soviets invaded Silesia and Pomerania, while Western Allied forces entered western Germany and closed to the Rhine river. In March, the Western Allies crossed the Rhine north and south of the Ruhr, encircling a large number of German troops, while the Soviets advanced to Vienna. In early April the Western Allies finally pushed forward in Italy and swept across western Germany, while in late April Soviet forces stormed Berlin; the two forces linked up on Elbe river on April 25.

Several changes in leadership occurred during this period. On April 12, U.S. President Roosevelt died; he was succeeded by Harry Truman. Benito Mussolini was killed by Italian partisans on April 28[169] and two days later Hitler committed suicide, succeeded by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz.[170]
Soviet soldiers raising the Soviet flag over the Reichstag after its capture

German forces surrendered in Italy on April 29 and in Western Europe on May 7.[171] However, fighting continued on the Eastern Front until the Germans surrendered specifically to the Soviets on May 8. In Prague, resistance of remnants of German Army continued until May 11.

In the Pacific theater, American forces advanced in the Philippines, clearing Leyte by the end of 1944. They landed on Luzon in January 1945 and Mindanao in March.[172] British and Chinese forces defeated the Japanese in northern Burma from October to March, then the British pushed on to Rangoon by May 3.[173] American forces also moved toward Japan, taking Iwo Jima by March, and Okinawa by June.[174] American bombers destroyed Japanese cities, and American submarines cut off Japanese imports.[175]

On July 11, the Allied leaders met in Potsdam, Germany. They confirmed earlier agreements about Germany,[176] and reiterated the demand for unconditional surrender by Japan, specifically stating that "the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction".[177] During this conference the United Kingdom held its general election and Clement Attlee replaced Churchill as Prime Minister.

When Japan continued to reject the Potsdam terms, the United States then dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August. Between the two bombs, the Soviets invaded Japanese-held Manchuria, as agreed at Yalta. On August 15, 1945 Japan surrendered, ending the war.[171]
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