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This is an article about a WWII offensives. For WWI offensive, see Silesian Offensive.
WWII Eastern Front during 1945

The Silesian Offensives were two 1945 offensives conducted by the Soviet Red Army against the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front in World War II.

Contents

The offensives

The Lower Silesian Offensive ran from February 8 to 24, 1945, and the Upper Silesian Offensive — from March 15 to March 31, 1945. Designed to flank the Soviet main advance on Berlin, the two operations pushed the Wehrmacht out of Silesia.

The 1st Ukrainian Front under Ivan Konev’s command, having completed the Vistula-Oder Offensive, was to advance westward toward Silesia with the primary objective of protecting the left flank of the 1st Belorussian Front, which was pushing toward Berlin. Similarly, the East Pomeranian Offensive of the 2nd Belorussian Front in the north was tasked with protecting the 1st Belorussian Front's right flank.

Delay

The need to secure the flanks delayed till April the Soviets' final push toward Berlin, which had originally been planned for February. By mid-April, the East Pomeranian Offensive — carried out by the 2nd, and elements of the 1st, Belorussian Fronts — had succeeded in its objectives, reaching the important German port city of Stettin (now Szczecin).

Motives

Stalin's decision to delay the push toward Berlin from February to April 1945 has been a subject of controversy among Soviet generals and military historians, with one side arguing that in February the Soviets had a chance of securing Berlin much faster and with much smaller losses, and the other arguing that the possibility of large German formations remaining on the flanks could have resulted in a successful German counterattack and further prolonged the war. Stalin's aim in delaying the advance on Berlin had likely been political, as it allowed him to occupy substantial parts of Austria in the Vienna Offensive.

See also

External links

Further reading

  • Beevor, Antony. Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Penguin Books, 2002, ISBN 0-670-88695-5
  • Duffy, Christopher. Red Storm on the Reich: The Soviet March on Germany, 1945, Routledge, 1991, ISBN 0-415-22829-8
  • Dubiel, P. Wyzwolenie Śląska w 1945 r. [Liberation of Silesia in 1945], Katowice 1969
  • Glantz, David M., The Soviet‐German War 1941–45: Myths and Realities: A Survey Essay
  • Karl Friedrich Grau, Silesian Inferno: War Crimes of the Red Army on Its March Into Silesia in 1945: a Collection of Documents, Landpost Press, 1992, ISBN 1880881098
  • Rawski, T. Wyzwolenie Śląska [Liberation of Silesia], Studia i Materiały z Dziejów Śląska, t. VI, 1964
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