German Military Surrender

Germans-surrender-Paris_1944The outcome of the Second World War was predictable some time before May 1945. The Allies were approaching fast and taking back Nazi-occupied territory; Hitler was dead and the regime’s network of concentration camps was gradually being liberated. German forces had also been surrendering in different parts of Europe: in Berlin on 2 May; in the Netherlands and Denmark on 4 May; and Hermann Göring himself surrendered on 6 May.

 

Just thirty minutes after the fall of Fortress Breslau, General Alfred Jodl arrived in Reims, France, and offered the surrender of all forces fighting the Western Allies. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, was not satisfied with this arrangement and threatened to break off negotiations unless an unconditional surrender was offered. Jodl relayed this information to Großadmiral Karl Dönitz, whom Hitler had instated as ‘President of Germany’ before he died. Shortly after midnight the following day, Dönitz contacted Jodl to authorise the total surrender of German forces.
The surrender documents were signed by General Jodl at 02:41am on 7 May; the next day, other German officials, such as Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, travelled to Berlin and signed similar documents. News of the end of the war broke on 8 May, and is now known as Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

The Surrender of Nazi Germany
History Learning Site

1945: Germany signs unconditional surrender
May 7
BBC On This Day

Surrender of Germany (1945)
Document:
“Act of Military Surrender”
Our Documents

Text of Speech:
Announcing the Surrender of Germany (May 8, 1945)
Harry S. Truman
Miller Center
University of Virginia

End of the War in Europe
May 8, 1945
Broadcast, London, and House of Commons
The Churchill Centre

PDF:
Terms of the German
Surrender June 5, 1945
Behind Closed Doors
PBS

MILESTONES: 1937–1945
The Potsdam Conference, 1945
Office of the Historian
U.S. Department of State

Photo: General Wilhelm Keitel Signing the Act of Military Surrender (May 8, 1945)
German History in Documents and Images (GHDI)

YouTube Video:
Germany Surrenders in Berlin, 1945 

Video Clip:
German Surrender
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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