Ivan Konev, Marshal of the Soviet Union: “While breaking through to Prague from a long way off, we were moving fast toward Prague residents who rose up. We were seriously alarmed for Prague and wanted to come to the rescue of our brothers as soon as possible before the Nazis using their numerical superiority could do away with them. In order to break into Prague in the morning, we had to advance incredibly fast, 80 kilometers, in the early hours of May 9. Each of us did everything we could...”
A Wehrmacht grouping numbering up to a million people was deployed near Prague by May 1945. Fulfilling Hitler’s order, the Nazis intended to put up a defense near Prague and inside the city as well, turning it into “a second Berlin”. In this case, the city faced complete destruction.
On May 5, a popular uprising against German occupation broke out in Prague. Nazis started pulling in troops to Prague.
The Soviet Army command remained unaware regarding the U.S. Army plans to liberate Prague from the Germans, so it did not take decisive action for a week’s time after Berlin’s surrender. Only after it received convincing data that the Americans were reluctant to move east of Plzen, the Soviet Army sent strike forces toward Prague and liberated the city on May 9, 1945.
Battles around Prague lasted for several more days, until May 12.
Over 1,000 Soviet soldiers died while liberating the city.
On May 4, the U.S. 88th Infantry Division met at Brenner Pass in the Alps with the 103rd Infantry Division, which, engaged in an offensive from Germany and Austria, had passed through the Alps and entered Italy. On May 8, the entire Italian territory was liberated.