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In Berlin, the flak towers were the last pockets of resistance during the final days of the war. The victorious Soviet troops had to lay siege to them with tanks and artillery, suffering heavy losses from the rooftop guns but still unable to seriously damage the structures, eventually forcing the Russians to negotiate the towers' surrender. By this time the towers were overcrowded with civilians three times their capacity and the air inside was hard to breathe.On August 25, 1940 the first RAF raid reached Berlin with the objective of bombing Templehof Airport. The attack, an embarrassment to the Nazi regime, triggered Hitler into issuing a series of orders to strengthen the air defense of major German cities and personally drawing sketches for an anti-aircraft “fortress” with gun platforms raised above the neighboring buildings. Over the course of the next few years, eight Flakturms ("flak towers”) were built in Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna with several others in the works and similar but smaller installations elsewhere.
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