By Karl Bahm
Berlin 1945: the ultimate Reckoning
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Extra resources for Berlin 1945. The Final Reckoning
As Germany's capital and largest city, Berlin was naturally heavily defended; as the showcase for Hitler's grandiose 'Thousand-Year Reich', those defences were built on an equally grandiose, monumental scale. In 1940, Albert Speer, the state's chief architect and one of Hitler's closest personal advisors, had designed three massive, fortress-like buildings which became the centrepiece of the city's air defences. Each building covered an area of roughly a city block and was approximately 13 stories high, topped with gun platforms containing four pairs of 128mm (Sin) guns capable of firing a salvo every 90 seconds to a ceiling of 14,800m (48,556ft), with a kill zone of 240m (260yds) across.
This disaster was followed by the Anglo-American counter-offensive in the west and the inevitable collapse of the Western border. For the first time since Napoleon had careered across Europe in the earlynineteenth century, German soldiers were faced with fighting the enemy on their own soil. Despite the pretensions of Nazi ideology, this was not something that the Germans were prepared for. For all his imitation of Mussolini's totalitarian state, Hitler had always been reluctant to order a total mobilisation of all Germany's economic and social resources for the war effort.
In April 1945, the city surrendered. IN BERLIN soldiers to 'Kill! Kill! In the German race there is nothing but evil! Follow the precepts of Comrade Stalin. once and for all in its lair! Use force and break the racial pride of these Germanic women. Take them as your lawful booty. Kill! As you storm onward, kill! ' Those who had personally witnessed Red Army brutality in the conquered territory, or who had personal knowledge of the atrocities committed by the German troops during their advance in Russia, expected the wOrst.