Soviet Soldiers Raising the Flag of Victory Over the Reichstag in Berlin, May 2, 1945

May 4, 2021

One of the most iconic photographs of World War II is the shot of Russian soldiers raising a flag atop Berlin’s famed Reichstag building, as seen in this colorized photograph from May 2, 1945. The image was snapped by photographer Yevgeny Khaldei and was soon published around the world as a symbol of Russia’s defeat over Nazi Germany. 

Colorized version of the famous WWII photo of Soviet's raising a flag over the Reichstag in Berlin courtesy Olga Shirnina, aka Klimbin. Source:

The image, which captured a pivotal moment in the war, has become firmly cemented in the history of World War II, but there is just one problem – the photo was both staged and edited. Here is the truth behind the memorable photograph of the Soviet flag being raised over the Reichstag. 

The Battle of Berlin 

The final conflict of the European front, the Battle of Berlin was also one of the bloodiest. (

The Battle of Berlin was the last major fight of World War II, at least in Europe. The Soviet Army advanced on the German capital beginning on April 16, 1945. By April 20, the Battle of Berlin was in full swing. Although it was clear that they were already beat, the Germans put up a fierce resistance to the Soviets, who had hoped for a speedy end to the battle. In fact, this final battle of the war was also one of the bloodiest. By the end of the month, the Soviet soldiers were under even more pressure to deliver a swift victory. May 1 is International Workers’ Day, a perfect time to celebrate the defeat of the Nazis.