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berlin map 1945
From the Feb. 12, 1945, issue of TIME TIME

See This Map of the 1945 Bombing of Berlin

Feb 03, 2015

As World War II began to draw to a close in Europe, the Feb. 12, 1945, issue of TIME reported that, "Through the smoke of fires set by R.A.F. and U.S. bombers, overcrowded Berlin could see the lightning and hear the thunder of Marshal Georgy K. Zhukov's First White Russian Army guns."

On Feb. 3 — 70 years ago Tuesday — the bombing of Berlin had started. Throughout that month, the air raids, hundreds of them in total, would continue. But, as TIME reported in the same issue, from which the map above is drawn, the stronghold of the Nazis was not yet prepared to surrender:

Terror came on the cold, wet wind with the sound of Russian guns. Panic came on the heels of the milling, stumbling horde of refugees. Berlin, at last, was a battle zone.

Berlin had not been captured by a foreign invader since 1806—and there was no battle then. Headed by their mayor, the citizens came out and welcomed Napoleon's Marshal Davout with open arms; the local press lavished praise on the French. In those days, good middle-class Prussians washed their hands of the Prussian soldiery.

Last week the citizens were part of the Army. The Volkssturm men who felled trees, dug trenches and fashioned barricades from bomb rubble were simply civilians with red arm bands. Women rode on the antiaircraft guns pulling out for the Oder front. The "mayor," this time, was clubfooted Paul Joseph Goebbels (Gauleiter of Berlin), who screamed defiance over the radio: "Factories will be blown up and the whole capital scorched!"

Berlin would be defended stone by stone: "We cannot let Breslau and Königsberg put us to shame, much less Warsaw, Leningrad and Moscow!"

Robert Ley, the besotted labor chief, feebly paraphrased Churchill and Clemenceau: "We will fight in front of Berlin, in Berlin, behind Berlin!"

Read the rest of the story here, in the TIME Vault: The Man Who Can't Surrender

'The Battered Face of Germany': Ruins of the Reich, Pictured From the Air

Gas storage tanks of I.G. Farbenindustrie at Ludwigshaven, one of largest synthetic plants in Europe, wrecked by RAF and U.S. 8th Air Force.
Caption from LIFE. Gas storage tanks of I.G. Farbenindustrie at Ludwigshaven, one of largest synthetic plants in Europe, wrecked by RAF and U.S. 8th Air Force.Margaret Bourke-White—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Gas storage tanks of I.G. Farbenindustrie at Ludwigshaven, one of largest synthetic plants in Europe, wrecked by RAF and U.S. 8th Air Force.
Julich is a small German frontier town (pop. 8,500) 15 miles northeast of Aachen, 25 miles west of Cologne.
Mainz, not far from Frankfurt, Germany, after Allied bombing, 1945.
The picture above shows the center of the Krupp Compound [Essen], with wrecked steel mills (foreground) and blasted gas tanks (right background).
Nurnberg [Nuremberg], second largest city in Bavaria, was famous for its Gothic churches. One of them, St. Sebaldus, can be seen here.
On June 2, 1945, RAF night raid of tremendous proportions wrecked key objectives in the center of the city (Nuremberg), leaving skeletal walls and leveled areas pictured.
Just before the Normandy invasion last year the Reich's transport system became the No. 1 target for all bombers, day and night. One of the largest railroad marshaling yards in Germany was at Nurnberg [Nuremberg].
Aerial view of sunken ship and bombed-out shipbuilding installation after Allied air attack on Germany's chief naval base at Kiel, near Baltic harbor.
Aerial view of bomb-damaged buildings in Mainz, Germany, 1945.
Destruction by Allied air attacks, Germany, 1945.
Aerial view of bomb-damaged buildings after an Allied air attack on Nuremberg, Germany, 1945.
Aerial view of a bomb-damaged churches among the buildings in the center of Worms, Germany, 1945.
Aerial view of bomb-damaged churches in the center of Wurzburg, northern Bavaria, 1945.
Aerial view of bomb craters in the residential section of Nuremberg, Germany, 1945.
Aerial view of the bomb-damaged Krupp works in Essen, 1945.
Aerial view of bomb-damaged residential areas, Essen, Germany, 1945.
Caption from LIFE. Gas storage tanks of I.G. Farbenindustrie at Ludwigshaven, one of largest synthetic plants in Europe,
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Margaret Bourke-White—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Imag
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