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German History in Documents and Images
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Soviet and American Officers Meet (1945)
To clearly demarcate the front lines and avoid negative incidents during encounters between Soviet and American troops, General Eisenhower sent Stalin a telegram on March 28, 1945, informing him that he would have most of his troops advance along the Erfurt-Leipzig line in the direction of the Elbe and wait for the Soviets to arrive there. The first encounter – the so-called link-up – took place on April 25, 1945, when patrols of the United States 69th infantry division met the Soviet 58th rifle division at Torgau on the Elbe. In early May there were further link-ups in Czechoslovakia and Austria. Here we see an American brigadier general shaking hands with a Soviet colonel; the Soviet colonel in the middle of the picture wears a cross around his neck. It was a medal awarded by the Czechoslovak government in exile. Photographer unknown.