Berlin was the last battleground against Hitler and the Third Reich. The Soviet Red Army was the first to reach the city and fighting was intense. The Soviets lost 80,000 men in the Battle for Berlin alone, a sacrifice which Stalin believed gave him the right to decide the future of the city.
Berlin was devastated by Allied bombing and lay in ruins. It was a city in total chaos, lacking infrastructure, and with tens of thousands of Germans homeless or displaced by Europe's redrawn borders. Berlin was divided into four zones of occupation: Soviet, American, British and French.
One problem for the West was that their zones were deep inside the Soviet sector, which caused a number of tensions. The USSR and USA vied for influence in the city, both wanting military control. Berlin became the most strategically important city of the Cold War and continued to be a political battleground.