Unconditional surrender of Germany

With the unconditional surrender of the German Armed Forces on 8 May 1945, the Second World War ended in Europe. The surrender took place in Berlin’s Karlshorst district, where the Soviet forces had set up their main headquarters after the fall of Berlin.

A day earlier, on 7 May 1945, Wehrmacht Chief of Staff Colonel-General Alfred Jodl had signed the German surrender at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in Reims, France. Since the surrender document in Reims had not been signed by the German High Command, all participants agreed that a second act needed to be ratified by high-ranking German officers. The surrender ceremony was repeated in Berlin on 8/9 May.

Shortly after midnight, the surrender was signed on behalf of the German High Command by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff and General-Admiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg. Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov signed the document on behalf of the Supreme High Command of the Red Army and British Air Marshal Arthur W. Tedder as deputy of the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force. After the signature, Zhukov invited his Western Allies to a banquet.

Not only at the Soviet headquarters in Berlin, but all over the world, the victory over Germany and the end of the Second World War in Europe was jubilantly celebrated. The date of the announcement of the surrender in Moscow, 9 May, was the official date of the end of the war in the Soviet Union, and still is in Russia today. In the West, Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) is celebrated on 8 May.

Zwieseler Straße 4, Berlin, Allemagne