Soviet and American troops met at the River Elbe

25 April 1945

In January – beginning of April 1945 in the course of powerful strategic offensive over the whole Soviet-German front the Red Army stroke a decisive blow against the main forces of the enemy. During the East-Prussian, Vistula-Oder, Western-Carpathian and Budapest offensives the Soviet troops provided the conditions for further attacks against Pomerania and Silesia and later for Berlin offensive.

In the beginning of April the forces of Western Allies forced a crossing over Rhine and completed the destruction of Ruhr force of the enemy. On April 12 two American armies reached the rivers Elbe and Mulde and on April 14 English divisions reached Elbe near Hamburg.

On April 16, 1945 with a view to seize Berlin and reach Elbe in order to join the Allies troops the Soviet armies began the Berlin offensive carried out by the 1st Belorussian front (under the commandment of Marshal G. K. Zhukov), the 2nd Belorussian front (under the commandment of K. K. Rokossovsky) and the 1st Ukrainian front (under the commandment of Marshal I. S. Konev). In the offensive also took part the Navy of Dnepr, a part of Baltic Navy, the 1st and 2nd armies of the Polish Armed Forces. The German commandment sent to Berlin sector 1 million men, 10 400 guns and mortars, 1 500 tanks and assault guns and 3 300 battle planes.

On April 25 the 4th Guards tank army of the 1st Ukrainian front and the 2nd Guards tank army and 47th army of the 1st Belorussian front joined the armies of the 1st Ukrainian front at the South-East of Berlin and closed the encirclement around the Berlin force of the enemy.

On the same day the advanced units of the 1st Ukrainian front, of the 5th Guards army of General A. S. Zhadov, reached the Western bank of Elbe near Torgau where they met the reconnaissance detachments of the 5th corps of the 1st American army. The Nazi front was divided. The troops of Wehrmacht of the North Germany were now cut off the troops which fought in the Southern part of the Reich.

Moscow celebrated the historical meeting between the Red Army and the Allies with salute of 24 salvoes fired from 324 guns.

In 2005, the Russian and U.S. presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush in a joint statement on the 60th anniversary of the meeting on the Elbe stressed the importance of partnership between the two countries in the face of global challenges. "At a time when Russia and the United States build closer partnerships, meeting at the Elbe reminds us of the tremendous benefits that we can provide for both our countries and the rest of the world" - the joint statement said. "Our people will always remember the historic handshake on the Elbe, which became one of the most vivid symbols of military brotherhood of our countries which had been fighting together against Nazi tyranny, oppression and aggression," - the paper noted.


Lit.: Встреча на Эльбе: Воспоминания советских и американских участников второй мировой войны / Ред.-сост. С. Красильщик (СССР), М. Скотт (США). М., 1988; Иваницкий Г. Союзники избежали боестолкновений // Независимое военное обозрение. 2000. 28 апреля; Лавренов С. Я., Попов И. М. Встреча на Эльбе // Крах Третьего рейха. M., 2000; Русский архив: Великая Отечественная: Т. 15 (4-5). Битва за Берлин (Красная Армия в поверженной Германии). М., 1995; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL:; Перед падением // Самсонов А. М. Крах фашистской агрессии 1939-1945. Исторический очерк. М., 1980. С. 599; Последний бой — он трудный самый // Красная звезда. 2005. 6 мая.


Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Memory of the Great Victory: [digital collection].