U.S. troops occupying Berlin
The army of the Soviet Union conquered Berlin in April/May 1945. Two months later the Western Allied troops also entered the city. On 4 July 1945, the American Independence Day, U.S. troops officially took charge of their occupation sector in southwest Berlin. In September 1994, after almost 50 years, the Allied troops withdrew from Berlin.
At the end of April 1945 the Soviet forces occupied Berlin, the capital of the German Reich. American and British troops did not enter the city until two months later on 4 July, the French forces participating initially with only a small unit. During those first two months, the Soviet Union was the sole occupying force, reorganizing life in the city in line with its own ideas and objectives.
The Western Allies chose first class combat troops for entering the German capital. But the march to Berlin would prove full of obstacles. When the U.S. 2nd Armored Division, also known as ‘Hell on Wheels’ due to its wartime activities, started moving from Halle to Berlin on 3 July, the Soviet forces stopped the advance on the Elbe Bridge near Dessau. A detour of more than 140 km became necessary because the Soviets declared the bridge unsafe, although it had been previously tested and determined to be passable by U.S. units.
On 4 July 1945, the American Independence Day, an official ceremony was held in the American sector: the Star-Spangled Banner was hoisted in front of the former Prussian Cadet Headquarters in Berlin-Lichterfelde, what later became the Andrew Barracks and today is the Bundesarchiv (The Federal Archives).
In order to set up military government organizations, the Western powers requisitioned real estate as, for example, the former Luftwaffe district headquarters Luftgaukommando III in Berlin-Zehlendorf which became the U.S. headquarters in Berlin.
In September 1994, after almost 50 years, the Allied troops withdrew from Berlin.