Elbe River

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ELBE RIVER. The Elbe and a tributary, the Mulde, served as a dividing line between Soviet and Allied forces when World War II ended in Europe. Ceding the honor of liberating Berlin to the Soviets, the Allied high command used the rivers as readily discernible terrain features to avoid inadvertent clashes between converging Allied and Soviet troops. A patrol of the Sixty-ninth Infantry Division under First Lieutenant Albert L. Kotzebue established contact with the Soviets late on the morning of 25 April but radioed the wrong map coordinates, so that credit went instead to a patrol from the same division, under Second Lieutenant William D. Robertson, which in midafternoon of the same day met the Soviets at Torgau.


Ambrose, Stephen. Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe. New York: Norton, 1967.

Toland, John. The Last 100 Days. New York: Bantam Books,1966.

Charles B.MacDonald/a. r.

See alsoRussia, Relations with ; World War II .