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On 5 May 1945, in the last moments of the war in Europe, Czech citizens spontaneously attacked the German residents and Czech communist leaders emerged from hiding to join the uprising.

The Soviet Red Army, which had been fighting for the Germans, defected and supported the Czechs. German troops counter-attacked, but their progress was slowed by barricades. On 8 May, the Czech and German leaders signed a ceasefire allowing the German forces to withdraw from the city, but not all Waffen-SS units obeyed. Fighting continued until 9 May, when the Red Army entered the city.

The uprising was brutal. Violence against native German citizens, sanctioned by the Czechoslovak government, continued after the "liberation", and was justified as revenge for the occupation or as a means to encourage Germans to flee.

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