Chapter XXV
The German Surrender

At the beginning of May, the Western Allies and the USSR had virtually destroyed the German fighting machine and were engaged in the task of mopping up the disorganized elements remaining in central Germany. In the week of fighting that remained, while Hitler's successor debated his best course of action and sent representatives to sound out the Western Allies, individual enemy commanders made piecemeal surrenders along a wide front.

Early Peace Feelers

Informal steps toward peace had been taken in mid-January 1945 when Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop on his own initiative sent Dr. Werner von Schmieden to Bern and Dr. F. Hesse to Stockholm to make contact with Allied representatives for the purpose of discussing a negotiated settlement. Von Schmieden found it impossible to establish proper connections, and Hesse reported that his efforts were ruined because of publicity concerning his mission.1

More substantial overtures, looking to final surrender of German forces in Italy, were made in early February by representatives of the German command in northern Italy, who arranged for meetings in Switzerland with Allied agents. Allied authorities in Italy promptly informed the Russians of these talks and asked them to nominate officers to attend future peace conferences if they should be arranged. Despite this frank approach, Marshal Stalin became disturbed as the talks in Switzerland progressed. As his suspicions deepened, he became worried over a possible peace settlement between the Western powers and Germany which would leave the enemy free to continue the war against the Red Army. He protested strongly to Mr. Roosevelt and, when the latter assured him that nothing was being done against the USSR's interest, declared that the President was not being kept informed by his generals. Mr. Roosevelt characterized the statements given Stalin by his informants as "vile misrepresentations." So strong were the feelings engendered that some Allied leaders wondered at the time if the purpose of the German negotiators was to split the anti-Nazi forces. Delays in the negotiations ultimately postponed any final action in Italy until the last week of the war, with the result that the surrender activities had no direct effect on the war in northwest Europe. However, the suspicion aroused in the mind of Marshal Stalin and his


advisers created an atmosphere of distrust which was to surround most of the peace negotiations in northwest Europe.2

The first important overtures in northwest Europe were made by members of Himmler's staff. On 2 April Brigadeführer Walter Schellenberg of Himmler's Intelligence Service, apparently speaking only for himself and without Himmler's authority, approached Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the Swedish Red Cross. Bernadotte, who was in Germany attempting to get Norwegian and Danish prisoners released into the custody of Sweden, was asked if he would discuss with General Eisenhower the possibility of arranging a capitulation. The count refused to act in this capacity, insisting that Himmler would have to take the initiative. Schellenberg pointed to possible developments in Germany which might shake Hitler's position, and said that in such a case Himmler wanted Bernadotte to go to General Eisenhower and ask for the negotiation of a surrender. The Swedish nobleman declared that he would go to the Supreme Commander only after Himmler announced: (1) that he had been chosen as German leader by Hitler; (2) that the Nazi party was dissolved; (3) that the Werewolf organization had been disbanded; and (4) that all Danish and Norwegian prisoners had been sent to Sweden.3

Count Bernadotte's conditions were not met and the Schellenberg suggestion was not passed on to SHAEF. Not until mid-April were peace feelers concerning the surrender of forces in northwest Europe communicated to the Supreme Commander. At this time, reports came from agents in Denmark that Generaloberst Georg Lindemann, German armed forces commander in Denmark (Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Daenemark), was willing to surrender the army there, but would not include SS and police units, Although the Supreme Commander authorized efforts through unofficial channels to get additional details of the proposal, he forbade Allied officers to be present at the conversations. In reporting this action to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, he suggested that the USSR be informed. Later information indicated that General Lindemann would continue fighting, but that commanders in Norway and in northern German cities such as Bremen would consider surrender, The Combined Chiefs of Staff, therefore, on 21 April informed the Soviet Government that unconditional surrender of large-scale enemy forces was a growing possibility and suggested that accredited representatives of all three allies be made available to the headquarters on each front for the purpose of observing negotiations for surrender. The USSR was asked to designate such representatives both at SHAEF and at AFHQ. General Deane and Admiral Archer were authorized to represent the United States and Great Britain at Soviet headquarters. The Soviet high command readily agreed to the suggestion, saying that the names of


their appointees would be submitted later.4

Himmler again entered the picture on the evening of 23 April in a conference, arranged by Schellenberg, with Count Bernadotte at the Swedish consulate in Luebeck. Himmler began the conference by saying that the Germans were defeated, that Hitler would soon be dead, and that he (Himmler) was ready to order a capitulation on the Western Front. Count Bernadotte doubted that an offer to surrender on one front only would be acceptable to the Allies, but he agreed to forward the proposal if Himmler would promise to surrender forces in Denmark and Norway. The SS leader approved this suggestion and wrote the Swedish Foreign Minister that he wished to act through the count. The Swedish Foreign Minister, who shared his fellow countryman's skepticism concerning the acceptability of a surrender on the Western Front alone, nonetheless arranged a meeting between Bernadotte and the British and U.S. ministers in Sweden, Sir Victor Mallet and Mr. Herschel Johnson, who dispatched Himmler's offer to their governments. Mr. Churchill relayed the information by transatlantic telephone to President Truman and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff on the afternoon of 25 April, the day that Soviet and U.S. patrols met near Torgau. The President, while emphasizing his desire to end the war quickly, declared he could accept only an unconditional surrender on all fronts and one made in agreement with the Soviet Union and Great Britain. This information was relayed to Marshal Stalin.5 General Eisenhower expressed his satisfaction with the reply and informed General Marshall that the Prime Minister had agreed that the peace overture was an attempt by the enemy to create a schism between the Allies. "In every move we make these days," said the Supreme Commander, making his position clear, "we are trying to be meticulously careful in these regards."6

During the discussion of Himmler's offer, reports of the possibility of a separate surrender in Norway and Denmark continued to be received in Supreme Headquarters, and an arrangement was discussed in Sweden for removing German soldiers to that country where they could be held for the Allies until the end of the war. SHAEF informed army group commanders that they could receive surrenders of forces facing their fronts but that anything more extensive had to be submitted to the Supreme Commander. It will be remembered that at the close of April General Smith, while discussing with Seyss-Inquart a truce which would permit the Dutch population to be fed, had also suggested that the Reich Commissioner surrender the forces in the Netherlands.

While peace negotiations were still in the talking stage in northwest Europe, the long-drawn-out negotiations in Italy were brought to a close. After a comic-opera interlude in which Kesselring removed the Commander in Chief Southwest and his chief of staff and ordered their arrest, and


in which the deposed officers brought about the arrest of their successors, the German forces in Italy signed surrender agreements on 29 April. Representatives of Generaloberst Heinrich-Gottfried von Vietinghof genannt Scheel, Commander in Chief Southwest, who had been restored to his position by Kesselring, and Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen SS Karl Friedrich Wolff agreed to terminate hostilities at 1200, 2 May 1945. Their surrender affected part of Carinthia, the provinces of Vorarlberg, Tirol, and Salzburg, as well as all of Italy except that part of Venezia Giulia which is cast of the Isonzo. The surrender removed the last threat from General Eisenhower's southern front and spelled the doom of German forces remaining in the Balkans.7

Doenitz Appraises the Situation

Admiral Doenitz and his advisers canvassed the German position completely on 2 May. Agreeing that the military situation was hopeless, they decided that their main effort should be to save as many Germans as possible from the Red armies. They said they would continue to fight on against the British and U.S. forces only to the extent that they interfered with German efforts to elude the Soviets. Otherwise, the German armies would attempt to avoid combat on the Western Front and strive to escape further bombing attacks. It was recognized that the goal of capitulation on one front only was difficult to achieve at the highest levels because of agreements which existed between the Western powers and the USSR, but efforts were to be made to arrange surrender at army group levels and below. In view of Seyss-Inquart's report that General Smith, at discussions on the same day relative to the truce in Holland, had left the way open for armistice negotiations, Doenitz authorized the Reich Commissioner for the occupied portion of the Netherlands to examine the situation. One of the main problems was that of taking necessary measures to save the forces of Schoerner and Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic in the Bohemian area. The military situation there was said to be good, inasmuch as the area could be held another three weeks if supply and ammunition could be brought in. Doenitz was uncertain as to the wisdom of ordering an immediate withdrawal, since he believed there would be considerable losses in the process. He thought Bohemia might make a good bargaining point, and he desired to explore the possibilities of making a political arrangement with the Allies. The Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, Staatsminister Karl Hermann Frank, and Schoerner's chief of staff were ordered to come to Doenitz' headquarters for discussions before a final decision should be made.8

The German military situation in the north was worsened on 2 May by the break-through of the British from Lauenburg to Luebeck and of the U.S. forces to Wismar. These actions closed "the last gate" through which the Germans could be brought back from the Mecklenburg-Pomerania area. Doenitz held that further fighting in northwest Europe against the Allied powers had now lost its purpose. Making use of a British offer to spare Hamburg as an opening for negotiations,


he announced that the city would not be defended. He offered to send a delegation headed by Generaladmiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg, who had succeeded Doenitz as head of the Navy, and Generalleutnant Eberhardt Kinzel, chief of staff to Generalfeldmarschall Ernst Busch, Commander in Chief Northwest, to discuss peace negotiations with Field Marshal Montgomery on the following day. On the evening of 2 May, Doenitz moved his headquarters from Ploen to Flensburg, just south of the Danish border.9

On 3 May, Doenitz again reviewed the German military situation. Staatsminister Frank, present from Bohemia, was not sanguine about the Czechoslovak situation, since he felt that a revolt, which might occur at any time, would make it difficult to hold the protectorate. As possible solutions for strengthening the situation there until the Germans in Bohemia could be saved, he suggested that (1) Prague be declared an open city, (2) possibilities be explored of sending German and Czechoslovak emissaries to General Eisenhower to get favorable capitulation terms in that area, and (3) the Reich government be moved to Bohemia. The third course had been previously considered, but Doenitz opposed it, believing the situation too uncertain. Instead orders were sent to Prague to prepare a plan for defense.10

The situation in southern Germany and Austria was reported as being much worse than in Bohemia. Staatssekretaer Franz Hayler declared that only in upper Austria was there any true control by the government. Troops and administration in the south showed signs of disintegration and there were numerous indications of opposition by the public to the Army. Hayler noted that the old Bavarian flags were reappearing in the south and that there were evidences of an Austrian freedom movement among the Tyrolean Volkssturm. He characterized a putsch which had been attempted in Munich as symptomatic of feeling in the south. On top of these pessimistic reports Doenitz received on 3 May a request from Field Marshal Kesselring that he be permitted to treat with the U.S. forces in his sector. Doenitz at once empowered the field marshal to conclude with the 6th Army Group an armistice applying to German forces between the Boehmer Wald and the upper Inn, and asked him to determine how far the U.S. forces intended to advance eastward. Doenitz said he felt the Germans should be pleased every time U.S. and British forces, rather than Soviet forces, occupied a part of Germany. He agreed that the over-all situation demanded capitulation on all fronts, but held that the Germans should not consider it at the moment since it would mean delivering most of the forces east of the Elbe to the Russians.11

True to his determination to surrender only to the Western Allies, Doenitz explored further the situation in northwest Europe, in the hope of finding something to offer the British and U.S. commanders. He found some encouragement in Norway and Denmark. Since both those countries wished, now that liberation was near, to avoid any action which would bring reprisals, Doenitz considered there would be no revolt there. Therefore, he ordered his commanders to present a


strong front in these countries and directed that efforts be continued to resolve the Norwegian question through Swedish mediation. He approved Seyss-Inquart's efforts to explore peace possibilities in the Netherlands, but directed the continuance of the combat mission. He gave specific instructions that the Netherlands should not be flooded further. The Commander in Chief Northwest was informed that a delegation was on its way to British headquarters to discuss an armistice and that he should prevent a fast Allied breakthrough to and over the Kiel Canal before negotiations could be concluded. Armeegruppe Mueller was set up on 4 May to protect this area.12

Piecemeal Surrenders

Meanwhile discussions with Field Marshal Montgomery had begun. Admiral Friedeburg and his party had been instructed to promise that Hamburg would not be defended, and they were to try to secure the 21 Army Group commander's permission for German troops, including the Third Panzer, Twelfth, and Twenty-first Armies, to retire west of the Elbe. They also wanted permission to pass German civilian refugees through the British lines to Schleswig-Holstein. Such terms the army group commanders were not allowed to grant. As early as August 1944, the Combined Chiefs of Staff had issued a short document which outlined instructions to cover possible capitulations by German forces surrendering as units through their commanders. This document, apparently the basis of the surrender instruments used by the 21 and 6th Army Groups, rested on three main principles: (1) terms of capitulation were unconditional and had to be clearly and expressly limited to the immediate military objects of local surrender; (2) no commitment of any kind was to be made to the enemy; and (3) capitulation was to be made without prejudice to and was to be superseded by any general instrument of surrender which might be imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and the USSR.13 Therefore, when Field Marshal Montgomery indicated to General Eisenhower that overtures for negotiations were being made, the Supreme Commander declared that only unconditional surrender would be accepted. He added that an offer to give up Denmark, the Netherlands, the Frisian Islands, Helgoland, and Schleswig-Holstein could be considered as a tactical matter and the surrender accepted. Any larger offer, such as a proposal to give up Norway or forces on another front, would have to be handled at Supreme Headquarters. One element in this decision was the fact that General Susloparoff had been informed of peace developments and had been told that in the event of the larger surrender Soviet representatives would be present.14

In accordance with these instructions, Field Marshal Montgomery refused to accept the withdrawal into his zone of German troops then on the Soviet front, although he said that individual soldiers would be accepted as prisoners of war. The field marshal added that he personally would not turn over these prisoners to the USSR. The enemy emissaries, lacking


any power to negotiate further, reported to Doenitz that only unconditional surrender would be accepted and that fleeing civilian refugees could not be admitted. Doenitz, in the belief that further fighting in northwest Europe was useless and that a partial capitulation in the west would gain time against the Red armies, agreed to the surrender of forces on Montgomery's front on his terms. Further, the admiral instructed von Friedeburg to get in touch with General Eisenhower with the hope of negotiating for further partial capitulation. He was to explain to the Supreme Commander why surrender on all fronts was not possible. As evidence of good faith toward the West, Doenitz told U-boat commanders to halt their activities, forbade any incidents in Norway, and ordered the release of King Leopold of the Belgians.15

On the afternoon of 4 May, German representatives appeared at the 21 Army Group headquarters at Lueneburg Heath with authority from Doenitz and Keitel to capitulate unconditionally on the British front. They signed an instrument of surrender to become effective at 0800, 5 May, which provided for the "surrender of all German armed forces in Holland, in northwest Germany including the Frisian Islands and Heligoland and all other islands, in Schleswig-Holstein, and in Denmark, to the C.-in-C. 21 Army Group. This to include all naval ships in these areas. These forces to lay down their arms and surrender unconditionally." The terms stipulated that the capitulation was independent of and would be superseded by any general instrument of surrender to be imposed on behalf of the Allied powers and applicable to the German armed forces as a whole.16

The same day, 4 May, also saw the end of operations of the Twelfth and Ninth Armies at the Elbe. The Red drive south of Berlin had threatened the extinction of the Ninth Army, but some 25,000 to 30,000 of its troops, without weapons and almost totally demoralized, made their way to the Twelfth Army about 1 May. Strong Soviet thrusts near the Elbe now made clear that the overrunning of the forces east of the river was a matter of a few days. On the morning of 3 May, General der Panzertruppen Walter Wenck instructed one of his corps commanders, General der Panzertruppen Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Edelsheim, to discuss with representatives of the Ninth U.S. Army the surrender of the Twelfth Army and the remaining elements of the Ninth Army. General Wenck's 100,000 troops, now about 40 percent unarmed, were accompanied by many women and children fleeing from the Soviet zone. General von Edelsheim opened negotiations on 4 May at Stendal, asking that the Ninth Army permit the peaceful crossing of the Elbe by noncombatant personnel and civilians and the honorable surrender of other troops. The Ninth Army representatives, pointing to U.S. obligations to the USSR, refused to accept a mass surrender and forbade the civilians to cross the river. They agreed that individual soldiers might come over and surrender to U.S. units, and they apparently did not enforce too sternly the ban against civilians. Although they denied permission to build a bridge across the Elbe or to repair the damaged structure at Tangermuende, they did allow the use of damaged bridges. These and ferries


were quickly pressed into service. By the close of hostilities on 7 May, the main body of General Wenck's forces and elements of the Ninth Army had crossed the Elbe and surrendered individually to U.S. forces. German estimates of the number who thus gave themselves up to the Ninth U.S. Army vary from 70,000 to 100,000.17

There is no evidence that this action on the part of Ninth Army or similar actions by other forces later was based on any policy or directive prescribed by higher headquarters. So far as SHAEF was concerned, the heads of the British and U.S. Governments and the Combined Chiefs of Staff had laid down the policy that any mass surrenders must be made simultaneously on both fronts. The way had been left open to commanders at lower levels to accept the surrender of units immediately opposing them or of individuals who came into British and United States lines to give themselves up.

In southern Germany and western Austria also, the war was moving swiftly to a close. Under Admiral Doenitz' authority to conclude a truce with the 6th Army Group for the area between the Boehmer Wald and the upper Inn, Field Marshal Kesselring on 4 May notified SHAEF of his readiness to send his chief of staff to Salzburg to discuss surrender terms. General Eisenhower declared that unless the offer included all enemy forces in Army Groups Center, South, E, and G, and all outlying garrisons, and all forces facing the Red Army, the Germans should send their representative not to SHAEF but to the 6th Army Group. Accordingly, General Schulz, commander of Army Group G, sent forward a delegation headed by General der Infanterie Hermann Foertsch, commander of the First Army. The Germans were brought to the Thorak estate at Haar near Munich. There they met Generals Devers, Patch, and Haislip and on 5 May signed an instrument of surrender to become effective at 1200, 6 May. Included in the unconditional surrender were all elements under Army Group G. In spite of this surrender, some SS troops fought on, and one minor engagement ensued near Woergl when SS men attempted to retake Itter Castle, where important French prisoners had been held, after the original German garrison had surrendered it to the Americans. The original garrison helped to beat off the SS attack, and the garrison commander was killed in the process.18

General der Panzertruppen Erich Brandenberger, commander of the Nineteenth Army, came to Innsbruck where on 5 May he signed an instrument of surrender handing over those parts of the provinces of Tirol, Vorarlberg, and Allgaeu up to the Italian frontier which were under the jurisdiction of the Nineteenth Army commander. Hostilities were to cease by 1800, 5 May. Lt. Gen. Edward H. Brooks, commander of the VI U.S. Corps, representing General Devers and General Patch, signed for the United States Army, and Col. T. Demetz (Chief of Staff), representing General de Lattre, signed for the First French Army. Complications arose,


however, because General der Infanterie Hans Schmidt of the Twenty-fourth Army had previously made contact with the First French Army and arranged to negotiate the surrender of his forces. Just before the interview was to take place, his army was attached to General Brandenberger's and his forces were surrendered with those of the latter. Holding that the capitulation of the Twenty-fourth Army had not been made, General de Lattre ordered hostilities continued against General Schmidt's forces. He demanded that General Brandenberger take immediate measures required for the Twenty-fourth Army to surrender directly to the French. Fighting continued between French forces and General Schmidt's units until 7 May, when General Devers issued a cease fire order. The Seventh Army completed its activities on 8 May with the seizure of von Rundstedt, Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm List, Kesselring, and Goering, and the liberation of King Leopold.19

After Brandenberger capitulated, Keitel had instructed Kesselring to assume command of OB SUED. With OKW, Operations Staff B, he was to take over Army Groups Center, South, and OB SUEDOST. Army Group South, which lay between Schoerner (Center) and Generaloberst Alexander Loehr (OB SUEDOST), and was renamed Army Group Ostmark (Austria). Kesselring and his subordinates were ordered to conduct operations so that time could be won in order to save as much of the civilian population as possible from the Soviet forces. If the Bohemian front could not be held against superior enemy attacks, forces in the east were to retreat in a southwesterly direction with the goal of bringing the "valuable human material" of the army groups out of the Russian zone.20 On 6 May, Kesselring was ordered to make no further resistance to any penetration of U.S. forces eastward into the Protectorate of Bohemia and further south.21

General Schulz's surrender of 5 May was followed on the same day by a request from General Loehr, Commander in Chief Southeast, for permission to surrender his forces in the Balkans to Field Marshal Alexander. Loehr held that he could thus save Austria from Bolshevism, but he added that Austria's separation from Germany must be taken for granted. Doenitz on 5 May banned the Werewolf organization and warned Air Group Reich, which threatened to go underground, that such an action would harm the Reich more than it would help. He forbade the destruction of factories, land, and water communications, railroads, bridges, and supplies except where combat made it necessary.22

Preliminary Talks With SHAEF

Meanwhile, arrangements had been made for Admiral von Friedeburg to


proceed to Supreme Headquarters at Reims on 5 May to open negotiations for the surrender of the remaining forces in the west. The Germans still hoped to gain time in which to bring their troops facing the Russians into the western zone. Realizing this, General Eisenhower cabled Moscow of his intention to inform the German emissaries that they must surrender all forces facing the Red Army to the Russians. The surrender was to be purely military and entirely independent of political and economic terms which would be imposed on Germany by the heads of the Allied governments. The Supreme Commander believed it highly desirable for the surrender on the Eastern and Western Fronts to be made simultaneously, and indicated that he would invite General Susloparoff to attend negotiations looking toward surrender of the enemy in the west. As an alternative he suggested that the Soviets send a party to Supreme Headquarters empowered to act for them. General Antonov replied, "The Soviet Command does not object to the plan of surrender set forth in the letter in the event that Doenitz accepts the condition of simultaneous surrender to the Soviet forces of those German troops which face them." In the event that Doenitz refused this condition, the Russians considered it desirable to discontinue negotiations with his representative. General Antonov added, "General Suslaparoff is authorized to take part in the surrender negotiations with the representative of Doenitz since it is not possible to send other officers in view of the shortness of time." In informing the Combined Chiefs of Staff of this arrangement, General Eisenhower said that a paragraph would be added by which the enemy agreed to make the surrender on both fronts simultaneously.23

When proposals for surrender first began to be discussed at the end of April, the question arose as to the nature of the surrender terms to be used. Details of a surrender instrument had been worked out by the European Advisory Commission and approved by the representatives of the United States, Great Britain, and the USSR in late July 1944. The document had been sent to SHAEF, but it was apparently viewed as a draft and not as a final proposal. Several things intervened before May 1945 to confuse its status. One was the fact that when the French were invited to join the European Advisory Commission near the end of 1944 they asked that the protocol for the instrument of surrender be changed to include them as a signatory. This step was delayed until shortly before the final surrender. The second complicating factor came at the Yalta Conference when the three great powers, without informing France, added the word "dismemberment" to provisions for complete disarmament and demobilization as possible steps in the pacification of Germany. Although French representatives learned indirectly of the change, they had not been notified officially of the amendment at the beginning of surrender negotiations. The European Advisory Commission on 1 May 1945 changed the protocol of the original surrender instrument to include France as a signatory, but did not make clear which set of surrender terms was to be used. When, therefore, SHAEF looked about for terms of


capitulation to present to the Germans, it found not one set but two.24

On 4 May, General Smith told Ambassador Winant that no authoritative copy of the surrender instrument had been sent to SHAEF by the Combined Chiefs of Staff nor had the four governments delegated SHAEF power to sign that instrument. The Ambassador agreed that the authority had not been given but said that copies of the documents prepared by the European Advisory Commission were available for SHAEF's use. On 5 May, Mr. Winant was notified that SHAEF had decided to use a briefer form of unconditional surrender which had been drawn up at that headquarters. SHAEF believed, the Ambassador gathered, that it could obtain an acknowledgment by the enemy of complete defeat with the least controversy and delay by this means. Both the Prime Minister and General Smith, to whom Winant appealed when he found that the new draft had omitted certain important points contained in the older document, assured the Ambassador that SHAEF's terms did not preclude the later use of the surrender instrument or declaration which the European Advisory Commission had drawn up. At the Ambassador's suggestion, article four was added to the SHAEF instrument to make that point clear. SHAEF received no other objections to the use of its draft, and it was presented to the Germans for their signature at Reims.25

Surrender at Reims

General Eisenhower was informed on the evening of 4 May that German representatives would be flown to Reims from 21 Army Group headquarters the following morning. In preparation for the negotiations, he told General Smith that there would be no bargaining with the Germans and stipulated that he would not see them until after the surrender terms were signed. General Smith and General Strong, who had handled the Italian surrender in 1943, were chosen to discuss terms with the Germans. To assure the Soviets that nothing underhanded was being done, General Eisenhower gave instructions that General Susloparoff and Lt. Col. Zenkovitch be called to Supreme Headquarters before the Germans arrived.26

In addition to notifying General Susloparoff of approaching negotiations, General Eisenhower kept Moscow informed of the developments at Reims and asked if


the Soviets wished to add to or modify the demands which had been presented. Further, General Eisenhower asked whether they desired "the formality of signing to be repeated before any other Russian representatives" at any other place they might care to designate, and whether they wished to participate in the more formal ratification meeting to follow. This message was handed to Soviet liaison representatives in Moscow by members of the Allied military missions, but no direct contact could be established with authorized members of the Red General Staff, who were said to be absent in the country as a result of the Russian Easter week end. This meant a delay in any reply Moscow might make, and was possibly responsible for the fact that General Antonov's request that the surrender ceremony be held in Berlin was not made until after the signing at Reims.27

Bad weather on the morning of 5 May interfered with the landing of Admiral Friedeburg and his party at Reims. They had to be landed at Brussels and driven by car to Supreme Headquarters. Shortly after 1700, the Germans arrived at Reims and were taken to General Smith's office. On coming before the SHAEF chief of staff, Admiral Friedeburg proposed to surrender the remaining German forces on the Western Front. General Smith informed him of General Eisenhower's refusal to continue discussions unless the Eastern Front was also included in the surrender offer. To make clear the hopelessness of the enemy situation, the SHAEF chief of staff displayed maps of the existing enemy situation as well as special maps on which some imaginary attacks had been projected. The German emissary was impressed, but he declared that he lacked authority to surrender on both fronts. After studying a copy of the proposed Allied terms, Friedeburg cabled Admiral Doenitz asking that he be given permission to sign an unconditional and simultaneous surrender in all theaters of operations or that the chief of OKW and the commanders of the air and naval forces be sent to Reims for that purpose.

General Eisenhower's strong stand shocked the members of the German high command when they received Friedeburg's report. Doenitz found the demands unacceptable and decided to send Jodl, strong opponent of surrender in the east, to explain why over-all capitulation was impossible. His resolution was strengthened on the morning of 6 May by news of an uprising in Prague, which ended any hope of a political solution of the problem in Czechoslovakia and made virtually impossible the withdrawal of Schoerner's forces. Doenitz directed his staff to continue to try to save as many Germans as possible from the Soviets, while keeping rigidly to the terms of any armistice concluded with the Western powers.

General de Guingand and Brigadier Williams of Field Marshal Montgomery's staff brought General Jodl from their headquarters to Reims on Sunday evening, 6 May. After being briefed by Admiral Friedeburg, he opened negotiations with General Smith and General Strong. Concluding after more than an hour of discussion that the Germans were merely dragging out the talks to gain time for their forces in the east, the Allied officers


put the problem before the Supreme Commander. His reaction was that unless the Germans speedily agreed to the terms of surrender "he would break off all negotiations and seal the Western Front preventing by force any further westward movement of German soldiers and civilians." This answer was also reported to General Susloparoff, who was not sitting in on the meetings with the Germans. General Jodl, faced with General Eisenhower's threat, wired Admiral Doenitz for authority to make a final and complete surrender on all fronts, saying that he saw no other alternative except chaos.28

Admiral Doenitz characterized the Supreme Commander's demands as "sheer extortion." He felt impelled nonetheless to accede to them because Jodl, who only the day before had strongly opposed surrender of the forces in the east, now insisted that this was the only way out for the Reich. The grand admiral was consoled somewhat by the reflection that he could save many of the troops in the east during the forty-eight-hour period before the capitulation went into effect. Shortly after midnight he instructed Keitel to wire: "Full power to sign in accordance with conditions as given has been granted by Grand Admiral Doenitz."29 When this message arrived at Reims, activities were transferred from General Smith's office to the War Room, where the final signing was to take place.

Sentimental newspapermen gave the American public a misleading picture of the building in which the peace terms were signed with their dispatches saying that the capitulation ceremonies took place in the "little red schoolhouse of Reims." Actually, the Ecole Professionelle et Technique de Garçons--a modern, three-storied, red brick building--had more floor space than the Hotel Trianon Palace which had housed the General Staff of SHAEF at Versailles. The War Room, it is true, was not very large. Approximately thirty feet square,30 it was a small recreation hall where the students had played ping-pong and chess. Huge maps covered the walls, showing the location of all Allied divisions and supply units, the main airfields, results of air operation, data on transportation and supply, weather conditions, progress of daily operations, casualties, and the like. For the signing, the room had been filled with the equipment of the seventeen photographers and newsmen who had been chosen to represent the Allied press at the ceremony. A large table, which teachers had used in grading their papers, stood in the center of the room. Here about 0200, 7 May, General Jodl, Admiral Friedeburg, and the former's aide, Maj. Friedrich Wilhelm Oxenius, were brought before Generals Smith, Morgan, Bull, Sevez,31 Spaatz, Strong, and Susloparoff,


Admiral Burrough, Air Marshal Robb, Colonel Zenkovitch, and Lieutenant Cherniaev.32 When asked by General Smith if they were ready to sign, the Germans replied in the affirmative. General Jodl affixed his signature to the two documents placed before him, and they were then signed by General Smith for the Supreme Allied Commander and by General Susloparoff for the Soviet high command. General Sevez of the French Army signed as witness. The time was noted as 0241, 7 May 1945. At this point General Jodl rose and said: "General: With this signature the German people and German armed forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the victor's hands. In this war, which has lasted more than five years, both have achieved and suffered perhaps more than any other people in the world. In this hour I can only express the hope that the victor will treat them with generosity."33

The text of the Act of Military Surrender signed by General Jodl follows:

1. We the undersigned, acting by authority of the German High Command, hereby surrender unconditionally to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command all forces on land, sea, and in the air who are at this date under German control.

2. The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European time on 8 May and to remain in the positions occupied at that time. No ship, vessel, or aircraft is to be scuttled, or any damage done to their hull, machinery or equipment.

3. The German High Command will at once issue to the appropriate commanders, and ensure the carrying out of any further orders issued by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and by the Soviet High Command.

4. This act of military surrender is without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by, or on behalf of the United Nations and applicable to GERMANY and the German armed forces as a whole.

5. In the event of the German High Command or any of the forces under their control failing to act in accordance with this Act of Surrender, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and the Soviet High Command will take such punitive or other action as they deem appropriate.

Signed at Rheims at 0241 on the 7th day of May, 1945.

On behalf of the German High Command.


On behalf of the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force

On behalf of the Soviet High Command


Major General, French Army

General Jodl also signed the following statement:

It is agreed by the German emissaries undersigned that the following German officers will arrive at a place and time designated by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, and the Soviet High Command prepared with plenary powers, to


Surrender at Reims
SURRENDER AT REIMS. In the War Room of SHAEF headquarters the Allies accept the unconditional surrender of the German high command. General Jodl (center foreground) prepares to sign the surrender documents. He is shown accompanied by Admiral Friedeburg of the German Navy, and Major Oxenius. Allied officers shown receiving the surrender are (left to right) General Morgan, General Sevez, Admiral Burrough, General Smith, General Susloparoff and General Spaatz.

execute a formal ratification on behalf of the German High Command of this act of Unconditional Surrender of the German armed forces.

After signing, General Jodl was taken to General Eisenhower, who asked if the German officer thoroughly understood all the provisions of the document. When Jodl replied affirmatively, the Supreme Commander warned him that he would be held accountable officially if the terms of the surrender were violated. Jodl was also made responsible for seeing that the German commanders appeared in Berlin to accomplish the formal surrender to the Western Allies and to the USSR.35


At 0324 General Eisenhower cabled the Combined Chiefs of Staff, "The Mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945, Eisenhower." He followed this with an official notification to the Soviet high command, emphasizing the agreement of the Germans to send representatives to a place chosen by General Eisenhower and the Soviets to execute a formal ratification. A delay of two hours in the handing of the latter message to the Russians ensued because they refused to meet the British and U.S. representatives sooner.366

Ceremony at Berlin

In answering General Eisenhower's telegram of 6 May which asked if the Soviet authorities wished to send representatives to a place other than Reims or make other arrangements, General Antonov declared that Admiral Doenitz, despite his offers to surrender, was still ordering German troops to fight against Red forces in the east. The note called attention to changes in the language of the proposed instrument of surrender which had been made at Reims before the final signing. In wiring Moscow on 6 May, General Eisenhower had spoken of a truce, a term stricken out several hours later when the Germans agreed to unconditional surrender. Another Soviet request--for the enemy to send emissaries to ratify the terms of surrender--had already been complied with. The USSR also asked that certain phrases from the European Advisory Commission draft be added. Finally, General Antonov, the Red Army Chief of Staff, asked that the signing of the act of military surrender take place in Berlin and indicated that Marshal Zhukov would represent the Red Army.

This message, dated 6 May but no not handed to General Deane in Moscow for transmittal until 7 May, declared that the Soviets desired only one signing of the document and did not concur with the suggestion that preliminary signing be held with Susloparoff representing the Russians. General Deane and Admiral Archer expressed the belief that General Eisenhower would not agree to any delays which would unnecessarily risk the loss of more lives. They might have added that any delay granted the Germans would have helped them in their desire to remove troops from the Soviet front. General Eisenhower quickly replied that the Western powers had adhered scrupulously to their agreement of no separate truce. He had offered to keep pushing toward the Red forces, and had restrained his forces only at their request. While a brief instrument of surrender had been signed at Reims before the arrival of the Russian note, provision had been made for the representatives of the German high command to report for a more formal signing. He indicated his willingness to go to Berlin on 8 May at a time specified by Marshal Zhukov for this ceremony, but added that if bad weather prevented his arrival the British and U.S. heads of the missions in Moscow were to go to Berlin to represent him.37

General Eisenhower's initial intention to go to Berlin was questioned by some


members of his staff who saw no necessity of repeating the signing. When Mr. Churchill also raised objections, the Supreme Commander appointed as his representative Air Chief Marshal Tedder, who was accompanied by a delegation that included Generals Spaatz, Strong, Bull, and de Lattre, and Admiral Burrough. General Deane and Admiral Archer traveled from Moscow to sign for the Supreme Commander if his party was unable to arrive. The German representatives were Field Marshal Keitel, Admiral von Friedeburg, and General Stumpff.38 The parties from the west arrived in Berlin before noon and were taken to the grounds of the Military Engineering College at Karlshorst, a suburb about ten miles southeast of the city's center. A meeting between Tedder and the Russian representative was delayed until four in the afternoon since Zhukov had to wait for the arrival of Andrei Y. Vishinsky from Moscow before starting discussions.

Even before the formal meeting, difficulties arose over the matter of protocol. General de Lattre had discovered shortly after his arrival that the French flag had been omitted from the group displayed in the surrender hall and demanded that one be added. Since no French flag was available, the Russians made one, erring initially in designing a Dutch instead of a French banner. The proper flag was ultimately completed in time for the final ceremony. Another matter, that of the signing of the surrender instrument, was not so easily arranged. General de Gaulle in directing General de Lattre to sign for France had said that he would sign as a witness in case the document was signed by General Eisenhower. If the Supreme Commander was not present, then de Lattre was to insist on being treated in the same way as the British representative, unless the latter signed in the place of General Eisenhower. General de Lattre, on explaining his instructions to Tedder during the afternoon, was told that he and General Spaatz would sign as witnesses--a proposal to which Zhukov apparently agreed. The arrangement was upset, however, when Vishinsky arrived and said that de Lattre could sign, since his signature would publicly acknowledge the resurrection of France, but that Spaatz could not participate inasmuch as Air Marshal Tedder represented both the U.S. and British forces. General Spaatz insisted on signing if the French general was included, while General de Lattre stood on his instructions and declared that if he went back to France without having signed the capitulation of the Reich he would deserve to hang. Air Marshal Tedder promised to support his right to sign and returned to argue the matter with the Soviets. For several hours the question was debated, Zhukov holding there was no logical need for the witnesses. Tedder replied that it was not a matter of logic but that there had to be a name to represent 40,000,000 Frenchmen and another name to represent 140,000,000 Americans. He added that SHAEF had to represent three flags while the Russians had to consider only one. Near the end of the discussion, when Vishinsky looked at his watch, Tedder took advantage of the situation to say, "Yes, we aren't getting any vodka and food are we?" The Russian representative left the room shortly afterward and returned with a suggestion that the names of


the witnesses be placed on a slightly lower line than those of the principals. This arrangement, promptly accepted, ended a discussion which had lasted from the afternoon until nearly midnight.39

With the settlement of the matter of protocol, the representatives of the Western powers and the USSR were ready to receive the Germans. The Act of Military Surrender to be presented to the Germans differed from that signed at Reims in only a few particulars, and these had been settled fairly quickly during the afternoon. Where the Reims document spoke of the Russian party as "the Soviet High Command," the Berlin document used "the Supreme High Command of the Red Army." To paragraph two, which enjoined the Germans to cease active operations on 3 May and remain in the positions occupied at that time, the new document added: "and to disarm completely, handing over their weapons and equipment to the local allied commanders or officers designated by the Representatives of the Allied Supreme Command." To the injunction that no damage was to be done to naval, marine, and air craft, the Berlin Act added: "and also to machines of all kinds, armament, apparatus, and all the technical means of prosecution of war in general."40

In preparation for the final signing, the representatives of the victorious armies approached their places at the main table. Marshal Zhukov sat in the center, placing Air Marshal Tedder to his immediate left. General Spaatz and then General de Lattre sat at Tedder's left. When Admiral Burrough started to take the seat at Zhukov's right, he found it taken by someone he did not recognize. It was Vishinsky, at whose right the admiral sat during the ceremonies.41 Toward midnight, Marshal Zhukov called the meeting to order and asked that the German representatives be brought in. Field Marshal Keitel, Admiral Friedeburg, and General Stumpff, together with their aides, now came forward and were questioned as to their understanding of the document and their powers to capitulate. Air Chief Marshal Tedder then asked if they were ready to sign. On answering that they were, they were handed copies of the Act of Military Surrender. General de Lattre noted with pleasure the change in seating which placed him just at Keitel's elbow when the field marshal wrote his name. When the Germans completed signing at approximately 2330 hours, Marshal Zhukov and Air Marshal Tedder penned their names on behalf of their respective commands, and General Spaatz and de Lattre were called forward to sign as witnesses. A comic touch was added when it appeared that despite the long dispute over their right to sign neither had a pen. The ceremony was completed at approximately 2345, and Marshal Zhukov gave orders for the Germans to depart. Keitel, bemonocled and carrying his marshal's baton, strode out of the hall, keeping the air of arrogance which had unfavorably


SUrrender at Berlin
SURRENDER AT BERLIN. Field Marshal Keitel prepares to sign unconditional surrender documents. He is shown with General Stumpff (left) and Admiral Friedeburg (right) as German staff officers observe the proceedings.

impressed the delegations throughout the proceedings.42

Before the signing of the surrender document at Berlin, President Truman and Prime Minister Churchill had announced the surrender at Reims. Their statement had been preceded by a series of frantic cables between London, Washington, and Moscow relative to the proper procedure to be followed in making the announcements, and by a breach of SHAEF censorship which led to the suspension of the Associated Press correspondent who represented his group at the surrender in Reims.43 In announcing the Reims capitulation to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, General Eisenhower had recommended a simultaneous statement from the three capitals at 1500 on Tuesday, 8 May, proclaiming 9 May as V-E


Day. He warned that, while no release of any kind would be made from the European theater until after the announcement by the three powers, most of the orders to troops would go in the clear, and it would be impossible to prevent millions of individuals in France and neutral countries from learning the facts. "It is believed hopeless," he said, "to keep this secret until Tuesday." He suggested that the governments might consider it well to announce the surrender as soon as they could agree among themselves.44 When the Soviets indicated their desire to have a signing in Berlin, however, he changed his original recommendations, "since manifestly it would be extremely unwise to make any announcement until the Russians are thoroughly satisfied."45

On the evening of 7 May, President Truman notified Marshal Stalin that if the time was acceptable to everyone he would make the announcement in Washington at 0900, 8 May, corresponding to the 1500 hour, Greenwich time, which General Eisenhower had suggested. General Antonov, not convinced that the Germans intended to surrender, held that a premature announcement would prove embarrassing and asked that the announcement be postponed until after the signing at Berlin or until 1900 Moscow time, 9 May. No word came officially from Marshal Stalin to President Truman. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Churchill had pressed for an announcement at 1800, 7 May, London time, or noon at Washington and 2000 in Moscow. President Truman, feeling that he had committed himself to 8 May, declined to go along unless Marshal Stalin consented to a change. Then followed a series of long-distance communications between the three capitals as efforts were made to get changes in the arrangements. When the Soviets finally declared that they could not advance the hour, the British and U.S. Governments decided to make the announcements on 8 May at the time initially suggested by General Eisenhower. The USSR waited until 0200 on 9 May, after the signing at Berlin, before making the surrender public.

To the man in the street and the soldier on the battlefield the question of how the announcement of the signing at Reims and Berlin reached the world did not matter. For them the significant things were that the war which had started in Europe in the fall of 1939 was ended, and that the final offensive against Japan could now get under way. The time was not far off when they could return to the pursuits of peace.


Table of Contents
Previous Chapter (24) * Next Chapter (26)


1. Interrogation of Dr, Werner von Schmieden, Secretary of Legation in German Foreign Office, 16 Aug 45, WD G-2 file; testimony of Fraeulein Margarete Blank, Ribbentrop secretary, International Military Tribunal Nuremberg (Nuremberg, 1947), X, 193-94.

2. General Eisenhower was kept informed of the progress of negotiations in Italy through messages from AFHQ and CCS. They are outlined in messages between 27 February and 2 May 1945 in SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, Two articles by Forrest Davis, "The Secret History of a Surrender," The Saturday Evening Post, September 22 and 29, 1945, were based on an unpublished OSS story of the negotiations. For the Russian reaction see Stettinius, Roosevelt and the Russians, pp. 315-16; James F. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly (New York, 1947), pp. 56-58; and Leahy, I Was There, pp. 329-35.

3. Count Folke Bernadotte, The Curtain Falls: Last Days of the Reich (New York, 1945), pp. 86-94.

4. SFHQ to EXFOR (21 A Gp), RLB 629, n.d.; EXFOR to SFHQ n.d.; SHAEF to SFHQ, FWD 19147, 14 Apr 45; WO to SHAEF, MI-14/33/17/45, 19 Apr 45; Troopers to SHAEF, 86992-MI-14, 21 Apr 45; CCS to Mil Mission Moscow, FACS 190, 21 Apr 45, Troopers to SHAEF, 87289-MI-14, 21 Apr 45; SHAEF to Mil Mission Moscow (draft approved 22 Apr 45); Mil Mission Moscow to CCS, MX-24031, 24 Apr 45. All in SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, I.

5. Bernadotte, The Curtain Falls, pp. 104-16; Trevor-Roper, Last Days of Hitler, pp. 133-36, Leahy, I Was There, pp. 354-55.

6. Eisenhower to Marshall, FWD 20032, 27 Apr 45, Eisenhower personal file.

7. For a brief outline of the surrender in Italy, see Eisenhower to A Gp Comdrs et al., FWD 20479, 3 May 45, SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany. The Commander in Chief Southwest had been placed under Kesselring's command on 25 April 1945.

8. German White Book 1945.

9. Other members of the German delegation were Konteradmiral Gerhard Wagner and Maj. Hans Jochen Friedel. See OKW, Kapitulationsuerhandlungen 2.V.-11. V.45; German White Book 1945; Schultz, Die Letzten 30 Tage.

10. German White Book 1945.

11. German White Book 1945: Rad, Doenitz to Kesselring, 3 May 45. OKW, Befehle 13.IV.-20.V.45.

12. German White Book 1945; Schultz, Die Letzten 30 Tage; Tel, Keitel to OB NORDWEST, 4 May 45. OKW, Befehle 13.IV.-20.V.45.

13. CCS to Eisenhower and Wilson, FACS 57 (FAN 395), 16 Aug 44, SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, I.

14. Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 327, 2 May 45; Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF, 333, 3 May 45. Both in SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, Policy and Incidents of Local German Surrender.

15. German White Book 1945.

16. See Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 34749; de Guingand, Operation Victory, pp. 453-55. Terms of treaty in SHAEF SGS 387.4-4 Surrender Orders GCT.

17. MS # B-220, Capitulation Negotiations between the Twelfth (German) Army and the Ninth (American) Army, which took place at Stendal on 4 May 1945 (Edelsheim); MS # B-606 (Reichhelm); Conquer: The Story of Ninth Army, p. 329.

18. Tel, Doenitz to Kesselring, 4 May 45), ONI Führer Directives; Alexander to 6th Army Group, FX-69791, 3 May 45; Eisenhower to Alexander, 3 May 45; Eisenhower to Mil Mission Moscow and CCS, FWD 20635, 5 May 45; Eisenhower to CCS, FWD 20674, 5 May 45). All in SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany. SHAEF SGS 387.4-4 SHAEF/21542/2 Surrender Orders GCT contains one of the original copies of the surrender specification signed by Foertsch. See also 6th Army Group diary.

19. Typewritten copy of surrender document and of General de Lattre's Special Order 2 to General Brandenberger of 6 May 1945 in SHAEF SGS 387.4-4 SHAEF/21542/2 Surrender Orders GCT. See also discussion in SUSA Rpt of Opns, Vol. III, for the Seventh Army's story of the surrender.

20. Rad Jodl to Fuehrungsstab B, H.Gr. Mitte, Chef des Generalstabes H. Gr. Mille, 4 May 45, OKW, Befehle 13.IV.-20.V.45.

21. Rad, Keitel to Kesselring, 6 May 45. OKW, Kapitulationsverhandlungen 2.V.-11.V.45.

22. Copies of tels, Loehr to Doenitz, 2 and 5 May 45. OKW, Befehle 13.IV.-20.V.45; German White Book 1945. Rad, Kinzel to Jodl and note by Jodl, 5 May 45; Tel, Keitel to Luftflotte Reich and others, 5 May 45. Both in OKW, Befehle 13.IV.-20.V.45. Loehr intimated that as the senior German officer coming from Austria he might be able to aid in the organization of Austria.

23. Eisenhower to Mil Mission Moscow, FWD 20614, 4 May 45; Mil Mission Moscow to Eisenhower, M-24184, 5 May 45. Both in Eisenhower personal file. Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 340, 5 May 45, SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, Policy and Incidents of Local German Surrenders, I.

24. A valuable summary of this background is given in Philip E. Mosely, "Dismemberment of Germany: The Allied Negotiation from Yalta to Potsdam, Foreign Affairs, XXVIII (April, 1950), 487-98. See also Winant to Secy State 10, Jun 44; EAC Mtg, 25 Jul 44; Gen Vincent Meyer, Military Adviser EAC, to Gens Hilldring and Strong, 14 Oct 44; Winant to Secy State, 7 Nov 44; Memo, French delegation for EAC, 29 Dec 44, CAD 334 EAC, Sec II.

25. A message conveyed by Mr. Robert Murphy to General Smith on 12 May 1945 reviewed the discussions and actions relative to the surrender terms between 4 and 6 May 1945. It may be found in SHAEF SGS 381/ 7 Germany, Policy and Incidents of Local German Surrenders, II. A similar account is given in Professor Mosely article, "The Occupation of Germany," pp. 495-97. This differs from an account given by General Smith in his My Three Years in Moscow (Philadelphia and New York, 1950), p. 20. The author in dealing with the instrument of surrender received helpful suggestions from Mr. Denys Myers of the State Department who made a special study of the subject, and from Mr. Richard Welling, formerly of the Civil Affairs Division, who made available his unpublished study on the subject.

26. The fullest account of the surrender negotiations is given in Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower, pp. 821-26. General Smith has given his recollections in "Eisenhower's Six Great Decisions," The Saturday Evening Post, July 13, 1946. General Eisenhower has a brief account in Crusade in Europe, pp. 425-26. See also Gen. Francois Sevex, "Reims 1945," Revue Historique de l'Armée, September 1948, pp. 75-78.

27. Eisenhower to Mil Mission Moscow, SCAF 345, 5 May 45; Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 346, 5 May 45Msgs from Friedeburg cited in Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 347, 5 May 45; Eisenhower to Mil Mission Moscow, SCAF 348, 0031 hours, 6 May 45; Mil Mission Moscow to Eisenhower, M-24197, 6 May 45. All in SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, Policy and Incidents of Local German Surrenders, I.

28. Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 354, 2144 hours, 6 May 45; Jodl to Doenitz, 6 May 45. Both in SHAEF SGS 387.1 Germany, Policy and Incidents of Local German Surrenders, I. Copy of Rad, Jodl to Keitel, 6.V.45. OKW, Kapitulationsverhandlungen 2. V.--11. V.45.

29. German White Book 1945; Rad, Keitel to Jodl and others, 7 May 45. OKW, Kapitulationsverhandlungen 2. V.-11. V.45.

30. Actually 27 feet 10 inches by 32 feet except for a small offset in one corner.

31. After negotiations with the Germans began, General Eisenhower asked the French to send a representative to attend the signing. General de Gaulle had already named General de Lattre on 4 May to sign for France when a capitulation should be made, but he found that there was not sufficient time to get de Lattre to Reims. He therefore named Maj. Gen. François Sevez to act in the place of General Juin, chief of the French General Staff of National Defense, who was then attending the United Nations conference at San Francisco. Sevez, op. cit., p. 75.

32. These were the members of the delegation at the table. In addition, Captain Butcher and several other members of the SHAEF staff were present. Most photographs of the group omit General Strong, who acted as interpreter for the Germans during the ceremony.

33. Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower, pp. 832-33. Information as to the building and War Room is based in part on an interrogation of a member of the faculty of the school and on measurements of the room made by the author in 1946. Detailed specifications of the War Room and its maps have been made by the Historical Properties Branch of the Department of the Army.

34. Photostatic copies of the original documents in SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, Policy and Incidents of Local German Surrenders, I. The originals are at the time of writing on exhibit at the U.S. National Archives building in Washington. The original battle map from the SHAEF War Room may also be found there.

35. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, p. 426.

36. Eisenhower to Mil Mission Moscow, SCAF 359, 7 May 45; Eisenhower to CCS Br COS, and Mil Mission Moscow, SCAF 357, 7 May 45; Mil Mission Moscow to Eisenhower, MX-24202, 7 May 45. All in Eisenhower personal file.

37. Mil Mission Moscow to Eisenhower, MX-24200, 7 May 45; Eisenhower to Mil Mission Moscow, SCAF 361, 7 May 45. Both in Eisenhower personal file. See also Deane, The Strange Alliance, pp. 168-69.

38. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 427-28; Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower, p. 835; Tedder to author, 13 Feb 47).

39. De Lattre, Histoire de la Première Armée Française, pp. 600-603; Air Chief Marshal Tedder to author, 13 Feb 47). Dean, The Strange Alliance, p. 177, says that Tedder initially objected to de Lattre's signing. However, both Tedder and de Lattre indicate that Tedder backed de Lattre's demand.

40. The Strange Alliance, pp. 175-76. Photostat of signed Act of Military Surrender given in SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, I.

41. It is interesting to note that neither Butcher nor de Lattre mentions Burrough's presence, and that Deane says that the naval representative was Admiral Ramsay--Burrough's predecessor, who had been killed five months before. Admiral Burrough, in a letter of 6 February 1951, gave the author the above details.

42. The author has used for these details the accounts of Deane, The Strange Alliance, Ch. X; Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower, pp. 836-44; and de Lattre, Histoire de la Première Armée Française, pp. 597-606. The accounts while not always corroborative are in agreement on most points. In the case of the time of surrender, the author has followed that set by Air Chief Marshal Tedder in his official notification to General Eisenhower. In his cable sent at 0122, 9 May 1945, Air Marshal Tedder declared that the surrender was signed between 2315 and 2345. De Lattre and Deane both place the surrender one hour later. Newspaper accounts for the most part agree with the later time.

43. See Appendix A.

44. Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 358, 7 May 45), SHAEF SGS 367/1 Germany, I. In an earlier message (Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 356, 7 May 45)) the Supreme Commander had urged an announcement at the earliest hour co-ordination could be arranged.

45. Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 360, 7 May 45), SHAEF SGS 387/1 Germany, Policy and Incidents of Local German Surrenders, I.

46. Deane, The Strange Alliance, pp. 171-73; Leahy, I Was There, pp. 357-64. Admiral Leahy gives the text of the telephone conversation between himself and Mr. Churchill concerning arrangements.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation