Today's Article - The German Instrument of Surrender

This article is for quizzes on Thursday January 7th...

The German Instrument of Surrender ended World War II in Europe. The definitive text was signed in Karlshorst, Berlin on 8 May 1945 by representatives of the three armed services of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) and the Allied Expeditionary Force together with the Supreme High Command of the Red Army, with further French and US representatives signing as witnesses; an earlier signing ceremony having taken place in Reims on 7 May 1945. In the West, 8 May is known as Victory in Europe Day; whereas in post-Soviet states the Victory Day is celebrated on 9 May, since the definitive signing occurred after midnight Moscow time.
There were three language versions of the surrender document: German, Russian and English, although the two latter versions were the only authoritative ones.

Hitler had committed suicide in Berlin on 30 April 1945; having drawn up a Testament in which Admiral Karl Dönitz succeeded him as Head of State, with the title of Reich President. But with the fall of Berlin two days later, and American and Soviet forces having linked up at Torgau on the Elbe, the area of Germany still under German military control had been split in two. Moreover, the rapidity of the final Allied advances of March 1945 - together with Hitler's insistent orders to stand and fight to the last - had left the bulk of surviving German forces in isolated pockets and occupied territories; mostly outside the boundaries of pre-Nazi Germany. Dönitz attempted to form a government at Flensburg on the Danish border; and was joined there on 2 May 1945 by the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht under Wilhem Keitel, which had previously relocated, first to Krampnitz near Potsdam then to Rheinsberg, during the Battle of Berlin.


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