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20 Apr 1945
  • USS Snook failed to respond when requested by a British carrier task force to rescue a downed airman in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • USS Charr arrived at the naval base at Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • 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 [Main Article | 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 [Main Article | 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 [Main Article | 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 [Main Article | CPC]
  • German pilot Leutnant Rudolf Schmitt became the first to use the He 162 jet fighter's ejection seat. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Léon Degrelle was promoted to the rank of SS-Standartenführer. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Karl Burk was promoted to the rank of SS-Brigadeführer and was made Generalmajor of Waffen-SS. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • I-400 arrived at Dalian, China and began loading fuel. ww2dbase [Main Article | 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 [CPC]
  • Between 13,500 and 15,000 prisoners were transferred from Buchenwald and Gross-Rosen subcamps to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in occupied Czechoslovakia over the following 20 days. ww2dbase [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • 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 [Main Article | CPC]
  • US Seventh Army captured Nürnberg, Germany. ww2dbase [Main Article | TH]
  • The German OKW moved from Zossen near Berlin, Germany to Mürwik, northern Germany to escape the approaching Soviet forces. ww2dbase [Main Article | Facility | 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 [AC]
  • Jacques Leroy was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, but no written record survived the war about this award. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Theodor Morell was ordered by Adolf Hitler to leave Berlin, Germany. ww2dbase [Main Article | 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 [Main Article | Facility | CPC]
  • USS Springer departed Guam, Mariana Islands for her second war patrol. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • US 5th Army broke through German defensive lines and reached the Po River Valley north of Bologna, Italy. ww2dbase [Main Article | TH, CPC]
  • 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 [Main Article | Tabular Record of Movement | CPC]
  • Vice Admiral Gisaburo Yamaguchi was named the commanding officer of Chinkai Guard District in southern Korea. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
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 [Main Article | CPC]
  • US P-51 fighters based in the Philippine Islands attacked Koshun Airfield, Takao Prefecture, Taiwan. ww2dbase [Main Article | 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]
United States
  • USS Ticonderoga departed Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Washington, United States for Alameda, California, United States, and then on to Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii. ww2dbase [Main Article | DS, CPC]
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
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937