Storming the Reichstag

Soviet troops of the 3rd Shock Army reenact their assault on the Reichstag, two days after the flag was actually raised over the building. Photographer Ivan Mikhailovich Shagin (1904-1982) worked for Komsomolskaya Pravda from 1932-1950. The actual storming of the Reichstag took place at night; the flag was raised just minutes before Soviet Premier Josef Stalin's imposed deadline of May 1st. This was so that the May Day celebrations in Moscow could feature news of the defeat of Berlin. In actuality, combat around the Reichstag continued until 1300 Hours on May 2, 1945, when the exhausted survivors of the garrison laid down their arms with the rest of Berlin's defenders. The irony of Stalin's quest to unfurl the Red Victory Banner over the Reichstag is that the Nazis never met there after 1933, when the Reichstag burned as result of arson. Soviet assault troops used mortars at almost a zero trajectory to break through the masonry covering the Reichstag's entrances. The Reichstag was repaired and opened as the new German Parliament building in 1999. The graffiti of victorious Soviet soldiers was found during the renovation and preserved.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Tuesday, May 1, 1945