Defeat of Nazi Germany, 1942-1945 [LCID: eur86820]

Defeat of Nazi Germany, 1942-1945

Beginning in 1938, the Nazis increased their territorial control outside of Germany. By 1942, three years into World War II, Nazi Germany reached the peak of its expansion. At the height of its power, Germany had incorporated, seized, or occupied most of the continent. However, also in 1942, the Allied Powers started to systematically bomb Germany. They would continue to do so until Germany's surrender in 1945, weakening the war effort and demolishing cities.

Slowly, the Allied Powers began pushing Germany back towards prewar boundaries. From 1942 to 1943, Nazi Germany suffered battle and territory losses in the Soviet Union and North Africa. With the Soviets on the offensive, German troops were pushed westward, gradually losing control of the Eastern Front. In July 1943, the Allied Powers landed in Italy, pushing German troops north. Rome was liberated in June, 1944. That same month, other Allied divisions landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, pushing German troops east. By the end of 1944, the Allies had liberated a majority of Axis territories occupied during the war. 

In early 1945, Allied troops entered Germany. By mid-April, the Soviets had encircled the German capital of Berlin. On April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler killed himself. The German armed forces surrendered unconditionally in the west on May 7 and in the east on May 9, 1945, bringing an end World War II in Europe. 


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum

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