Northern Eurasia 1945: From the Vistula to the Oder
In October 1944, the Soviets swung into Hungary. By January, they were ready to thrust into the German Reich itself, closing in on Berlin. With the British and Americans about to invade from the west, Nazi Germany's days were numbered.
14 Sep–24 Nov 1944 Belgrade Offensive▲
Beginning in September 1944 Soviet forces and Yugoslav Partisans launched separate but loosely cooperative operations against German forces in occupation of the area around the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade, while simultaneous Bulgarian and Yugoslav operations were conducted in the south. The attacks threatened to sever German communication lines to Greece, forcing Hitler to begin a general withdrawal from the Balkans. On 20 October the Yugoslavs and Soviets liberated Belgrade, although fighting in the area continued for another month.
11 Oct 1944 Soviet Union annexes Tuvan People’s Republic▲
Soviet Union annexes Tuvan People’s Republic
12–16 Oct 1944 Operation Manna▲
British airborne forces landed in Athens on 12–16 October 1944, assisting Greek partisans in restoring order following German withdrawal.
29 Oct 1944–13 Feb 1945 Budapest Offensive▲
From October 1944 the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Soviet Ukrainian Fronts advanced into German-occupied Hungary. By late December they had reached the Danube and isolated the Hungarian capital Budapest, which they proceeded to besiege and assault. Despite German counteroffensives in January, Budapest finally fell to Soviet forces on 13 February 1945.
12 Nov 1944 Second East Turkestan Republic▲
Following the Soviet-supported Ili Rebellion in northern Xinjiang, Republic of China, Turkic rebel groups declare the creation of the second East Turkestan Republic in Khulja. Ali Khan Ture, Marshal of the Ili National Army, is elected as president. With Soviet military assistance, the rebels quickly take control of the Ili, Tarbagatay, and Altay districts.
16 Dec 1944–25 Jan 1945 Battle of the Bulge▲
On 16 December 1944 the Germans launched their last major offensive campaign on the Western Front, advancing through the forested Ardennes region of Belgium in a last-ditch attempt to split the Western Allied forces. Despite achieving total surprise and isolating an American contingent at Bastogne, the Germans were halted by 24 December and Bastogne relieved by the US Third Army two days later. The battle continued for another month before the front line was effectively restored to its position prior to the attack.
12 Jan–2 Feb 1945 Vistula–Oder Offensive▲
In January 1945 the Soviet Red Army mounted the Vistula–Oder Offensive, moving into German-held Poland and neighboring territories with two fronts commanded by Marshal Georgy Zhukov and Marshal Ivan Konev. Outnumbering the German defenders 5:1, the Soviets quickly captured Kraków, Warsaw, and Poznań. By early February—a little over two weeks later—they had advanced 483 km from the Vistula to the Oder, coming to a halt just 69 km from Berlin.
4–11 Feb 1945 Yalta Conference▲
In February 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain, and Premier Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union met at Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union, to discuss the reorganization of postwar Europe. The conference aimed to both provide a collective security order and to give self-determination to the liberated peoples of post-Nazi Europe. It was agreed that Germany would be demilitarized and denazified, and that the Soviets would declare war on Japan several months after Germany’s unconditional surrender.