Berlin in Trümmern - 1945 -
William Vandivert (1912 – 1989) from American LIFE Time magazine, was the first Western photojournalist to reach Berlin and to gain access to Hitler’s Führerbunker, after the fall of the Third Reich in May 1945. He took a series of photographs including these excellent aerial views showing devastation and bombed out buildings over wide area following Allied capture of the city. 33-year-old Vandivert reported to LIFE: “found almost every famous building a shambles. In the center of town GIs could walk for blocks and see no living thing, hear nothing but the stillness of death, smell nothing but the stench of death.”
On 9-10 July 1945 he took off from Tempelhof airport aboard an US liaison aircraft and overflew the Nazi capital to shot the devastation caused by Allied bombs. A handful of his pictures of the ruined city and the bunker were published in LIFE magazine on 23 July 1945.
These incredible pictures show how the combined British and American aerial bombings and the final battle with the Soviet armies had left the German capital.