Berlin as the capital and cultural center of the German Reich was bombed very heavily. With over 45,000 tons of bombs in two weeks the city was almost completely destroyed. The irreplaceable architectural gems of the Schlüter, Knobelsdorf, Schadow and Schinkel were annihilated. Palaces, museums, churches, monuments and cultural sites fell victim to the bombs. Overall, Berlin was bombed 363 times by British, American and Russian aircraft. About 50,000 civilians were killed. They burned, suffocated, were buried under the ruins or lacerated by the bombs.
At the first photo the area extending north beyond the Brandenburg Gate was later controlled by Soviets for almost 40 year. Note the portrait of Stalin in the center. This photo was taken by William Vandivert, on July 1945.
Berlin was subject to 363 air raids during the Second World War. It was bombed by the RAF Bomber Command between 1940 and 1945, and by the USAAF Eighth Air Force between 1943 and 1945, as part of the Allied campaign of strategic bombing of Germany. It was also attacked by aircraft of the Red Air Force, especially in 1945 as Soviet forces closed on the city. British bombers dropped 46,000 tons of bombs, the Americans dropped 23,000 tons. As the bombings continued more and more people moved out. By May 1945 1.7 million people (40%) had fled.
From 1942 onwards the Allied forces had crushed the Third Reich with around the clock bombing (which destroyed around 70%-80% of the historic buildings in Germany) and then finally the Battle of Berlin (April 16th, 1945 – May 2nd, 1945).