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20 Apr 1945
  • Soviet artillery began to fall on Berlin, Germany on Adolf Hitler's 56th and last birthday. After a brief birthday celebration, the generals urged Hitler to flee Berlin for southern Germany to continue the fight; Hitler decided not to go, setting up a northern command (under Karl Dönitz) and a southern command (tentatively under Albert Kesselring) instead should Berlin fall. ww2dbase [Adolf Hitler | TH]
  • Germany evacuated civilians from the island of Helgoland after sundown; the evacuation was ordered after a major bombing attack by over 900 British bombers on the previous day. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • US Army troops landed on Catanduanes, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Philippines Campaign, Phase 2 | CPC]
  • USS Charr arrived at the naval base at Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Charr | CPC]
  • USS Snook failed to respond when requested by a British carrier task force to rescue a downed airman in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. ww2dbase [Snook | CPC]
  • Hermann Göring destroyed his lavish Karinhall estate near Eberswalde in Germany, loading all his treasures (most of which plundered from across occupied Europe) onto 24 heavy trucks and several train cars. ww2dbase [Hermann Göring | CPC]
  • German General of the Infantry Hermann Niehoff distributed chocolate to the encircled troops defending Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) in honor of Adolf Hitler's birthday. ww2dbase [Silesian Offensive and the Siege of Breslau | CPC]
  • German pilot Leutnant Rudolf Schmitt became the first to use the He 162 jet fighter's ejection seat. ww2dbase [He 162 Volksjäger | CPC]
  • Léon Degrelle was promoted to the rank of SS-Standartenführer. ww2dbase [Léon Degrelle | CPC]
  • Karl Burk was promoted to the rank of SS-Brigadeführer and was made Generalmajor of Waffen-SS. ww2dbase [Karl Burk | CPC]
  • I-400 arrived at Dalian, China and began loading fuel. ww2dbase [I-400 | Dalian, Liaoning | CPC]
  • Chinese and American agents of the Sino-American Special Technical Cooperative Organization (SACO) destroyed a Japanese supply train near Wuchang, Hubei Province, China with 50 pounds of TNT. ww2dbase [Wuchang, Hubei | CPC]
Czechoslovakia Finland
  • Andrei Zhdanov, the head of the Allied Control Commission in Finland, gave Finnish Home Secretary Yrjö Leino a list of 22 men, most of whom were citizens of Finland, and ordered him to arrest them and turning them over to Soviet SMERSH. Leino would comply without questioning. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Lorraine completed a week-long bombardment of German positions in the Gironde estuary in western France between La Rochelle and Bordeaux as the Germans surrendered the Girond-Nord fortress in Royan. ww2dbase [Lorraine | Aquitaine | CPC]
  • US Seventh Army captured Nürnberg, Germany. ww2dbase [Southern Germany Campaign | Nürnberg, Franken | TH]
  • The German OKW moved from Zossen near Berlin, Germany to Mürwik, northern Germany to escape the approaching Soviet forces. ww2dbase [Battle of Berlin | Zossen | Wünsdorf, Mark Brandenburg | CPC]
  • Instructed to sacrifice everything for speed the French 5th Armoured Division and Spahi reconnaissance regiment enthusiastically overcame fanatical resistance from German SS units to enter the western suburbs of Stuttgart, Germany. The tanks had moved so fast that it would not be until the following day that their supporting infantry, Moroccan and Algerian Tiralleurs, could catch up, but they had beaten the Americans to the Southwest German city. ww2dbase [Stuttgart, Württemberg-Hohenzollern | AC]
  • Jacques Leroy was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, but no written record survived the war about this award. ww2dbase [Jacques Leroy | CPC]
  • Theodor Morell was ordered by Adolf Hitler to leave Berlin, Germany. ww2dbase [Theodor Morell | Berlin | CPC]
  • Thousands of prisoners were marched out of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Germany toward the northeast, ahead of oncoming Soviet troops. Many of them would die en route. ww2dbase [Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust | Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp | Oranienburg, Mark Brandenburg | CPC]
  • USS Springer departed Guam, Mariana Islands for her second war patrol. ww2dbase [Springer | CPC]
Italy Japan
  • Light carrier Ryuho was transferred from Carrier Division 1 of the 2nd Fleet to the Japanese Navy Kure Naval District Force as Reserve Ship No. 4. ww2dbase [Ryuho | Kure, Hiroshima | CPC]
Korea Panama Canal Zone Russia
  • Joseph Stalin ordered the Soviet Stavka to influence troops to be more humane toward the civilians of conquered German territories in order to ease the future occupation. ww2dbase [Joseph Stalin | Moscow | CPC]
  • US P-51 fighters based in the Philippine Islands attacked Koshun Airfield, Takao Prefecture, Taiwan. ww2dbase [Koshun Airfield | Koshun, Takao | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain the government lifted the black-out restrictions apart from a five-mile wide strip along the coast. However, theatre lights, floodlighting and neon-type advertising was still banned, not to foil bombers but to save fuel. ww2dbase [AC]
Photo(s) dated 20 Apr 1945
An American soldier observed the destruction of an industrial town near Nürnberg, Germany, 20 Apr 1945Two wrecked M4 Sherman tanks at Bloody Ridge, destroyed by Japanese artillery, Okinawa, Japan, 20 Apr 1945Soviet BM-13 Katyusha rocket launchers firing on Berlin, Germany, Apr 1945An oil tank explosion at Deggendorf harbor, Bavaria, Germany after an aerial bombardment by A-20 Havoc aircraft of US 426th Bomb Group, 20 Apr 1945
See all photos dated 20 Apr 1945

20 Apr 1945 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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Famous WW2 Quote
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal

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