Thursday, May 7, 2009

Unconditional German Surrender to the Allies - May 7, 1945

General Alfred Jodl signing the capitulation papers in Rheims.
General Alfred Jodl signing the capitulation papers in Rheims.

One half hour after the fall of the city of Breslau in Lower Silesia, Germany, General Alfred Jodl (Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command) arrived in Rheims and, following Dönitz's (Hitler's successor) instructions, offered to surrender only all forces fighting the Western Allies. This was exactly the same negotiating position that von Friedeburg had initially made to Montgomery, and like Montgomery the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, threatened to break off all negotiations unless the Germans agreed to a complete unconditional surrender. Eisenhower explicitly told Jodl that he would order western lines closed to German soldiers, thus forcing them to surrender to the Soviets. Jodl sent a signal to Dönitz, who was in Flensburg, informing him of Eisenhower's position. Shortly after midnight Dönitz, accepting the inevitable, sent a signal to Jodl authorizing the complete and total surrender of all German forces.

On the morning of, May 7, 1945, at the SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) headquarters in Rheims, France, General Alfred Jodl, signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies. General Franz Böhme announced the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway on May 7, the same day as Jodl signed the unconditional surrender document. It included the phrase "All forces under German control to cease active operations at 23:01 hours Central European Time on May 8, 1945." The next day, General Wilhelm Keitel (head of the High Command of the German Armed Forces) and other German army senior representatives traveled to Berlin, and shortly before midnight signed a similar document, explicitly surrendering to Soviet forces, in the presence of General Georgi Zhukov. The signing ceremony took place in a former German Army Engineering School in the Berlin district of Karlshorst.

World War II in Europe comes to an end (Japan surrendered in August 1945).

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

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