Battle For Berlin – April 24, 1945
. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Lowell Thomas and the News – April 24, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
70 years ago, it was a question of days before Germany called it quits. With Soviet troops in Berlin and the fighting house to house, resistance was dwindling, but was still going on. More than half the German capitol had been captured, but the defenders split into several groups, or islands of resistance, with the strongest around Potsdamer Platz in the center of the city.
News of German troops and civilians, fleeing the city and making their way to British and American lines in order to surrender. News too, of German SS troops firing on their own, pulling down white flags of surrender, in an attempt to stave off the inevitable.
Further reports that American and Soviet troops had linked up just south of Berlin, and that Patton’s 3rd Army was just 61 miles from Munich and that British Army forces were close to capturing Bremen.
The stubborn German resistance in Northern Italy had finally crumbled, and German troops in the thousands were heading to the Alps.
From Paris came word that a group of U.S. Senators and news people were going on a tour of the recently liberated Concentration camps, as requested by General Eisenhower. The fact-finding mission was put together less than 72 hours after Eisenhower suggested the tour to President Truman. And the Supreme Allied Commanders War Crimes Commission sent investigators to these concentration camps to start gathering evidence of the systematic murder and torture of hundreds of thousands of civilians and which became a symbol of Nazi infamy. British authorities denied reports that the Josef Kramer, commandant of the Belsen Concentration camp had been summarily executed, but was instead being held by the British Army and would stand trial for War Crimes when the time came.
News was moving quickly this day, changing by the hour,and it would continue that way until surrender was finally declared.