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1 panorama by laurent thion
Reddition room – 7 May 1945
The unconditional surrender of the German Third Reich was signed in the early morning hours of Monday, May 7, 1945 at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) at Reims in northeastern France. Present were representatives of the four Allied Powers – France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States – and the three Germany officers delegated by German President Karl Doenitz – Gen. Alfred Jodl, who had alone been authorized to sign the surrender document; Maj. Wilhelm Oxenius, an aide to Jodl; and Adm. Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, one of the German chief negotiators. Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, SHAEF chief of staff, led the Allied delegation as the representative of General Eisenhower, who had refused to meet with the Germans until the surrender had been accomplished. Other American officers present were Maj. Gen. Harold R. Bull and Gen. Carl Spaatz.
After the signing of the Reims accord, Soviet chief of staff Gen. Alexei Antonov expressed concern to SHAEF that the continued fighting in the east between Germany and the Soviet Union made the Reims surrender look like a separate peace. The Soviet command wanted the Act of Military Surrender, with certain additions and alternations, to be signed at Berlin. To the Soviets, the documents signed at Berlin on May 8, 1945, represented the official, legal surrender of the Third Reich. The Berlin document had few significant changes from the one signed a day earlier at Reims.
Reims, salle de la reddition – 7 mai 1945
“Reims, France, le 7 mai. À 2 heures 45 ce chaud matin de printemps, le colonel général Gustav Jodl signa son nom pour la quatrième fois et posa doucement sa plume. La longue guerre d’Europe prenait fin.
Jodl se leva, le dos raide, ses talons dans leurs bottes noires serrés l’un contre l’autre. Il appuya le bout des doigts sur la table de chêne bosselée qui remplissait une bonne partie de ce qui, jusqu’à cette nuit, était la plus secrète de toutes les chambres secrètes d’Europe – la Salle de Guerre du SHAEF.”
“Price Day’s Eyewitness Report of German Surrender”
© 2005 Laurent Thion