Right Wing Nut House


MAY 7, 1945

Filed under: History — Rick Moran @ 6:35 am

“The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7, 1945.”

Seventy million dead and that’s the best Ike could come up with?

Actually, Eisenhower wrestled with what to say about the German surrender that had just taken place at Reims, France in the early morning of May 7, 1945. He knew full well his words would echo down through the ages and wanted the announcement to be memorable. But the truth was, he and his staff were exhausted. They had been up for nearly 48 hours tracking the disintegration of the German armed forces as Army Group after Army Group surrendered locally to Allied forces.

On May 4 1945, the British Field Marshal Montgomery took the military surrender of all German forces in Holland, Northwest Germany, and Denmark on Lüneburg Heath; an area between the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen. Monty had flatly refused to accept the surrender of Nazi armed forces fighting the Russians in the east, preferring to deal with the capitulation of the troops facing his forces alone. Previously, the Germans had surrendered in Italy (May 2), Austria (May 5), and Bavaria (May 5).

Finally, Admiral Donitz who had assumed control of what was left of the Nazi government, sent General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff for the German High Command to Reims to negotiate. Ike would have none of it. At one point, Eisenhower threatened to resume offensive operations against the Germans unless Jodl accepted the surrender terms unconditionally. Bowing to the inevitable, Jodl and the government representative Admiral Hans Georg Friedeburg signed the instrument of surrender early in the morning of the 7th. Eisenhower had tried unsuccessfully to coordinate an announcement of the surrender in London, Washington, and Moscow which became moot when the news leaked out anyway.

Friedburg later committed suicide. Jodl was executed for war crimes following his trial at Nuremberg.

As his staff gathered in the little schoolhouse that served as SHAEF heaquarters following the surrender, Eisenhower pondered what he should say in breaking the news of the German capitulation. His top aide, General Walter “Beedle” Smith says that Ike fiddled with the statement for about a half an hour, taking suggestions from other equally exhausted members of his staff until finally settling on the simple declarative statement he sent in a telegram.

While seeming to be anticlimactic, the statement relfects the mood of SHAEF headquarters at that time. Following the surrender, there was no joyous celebration. A bottle of champagne was brought out but when opened, was found to be flat. Most of his staff simply went to bed.

The next day, Jodl showed up at Marshall Zuhkov’s headquarters outside of Berlin where the Russians made a great show of taking the surrender. This is why the Putin’s celebration will be taking place tomorrow, the 8th.

Officially, V-E Day was celebrated by the Allied people on May 9.

Cross Posted at Blogger News Network


  1. History: So important. Great post, SH.

    Comment by Cao — 5/7/2005 @ 8:50 am

  2. You have a very interesting site.

    I hope you’ll stop by to answer my Question Of The Week.

    God Bless America, God Save The Republic

    Comment by David Schantz — 5/8/2005 @ 3:52 am

  3. Eisenhower was a soldier at that time. It was the perfect statement for a soldier’s report. It requires no condescending explanation of fatigue. The next time you save the free world, you can post a better statement.

    Comment by Jo Namele — 5/8/2005 @ 6:55 pm

  4. Maybe you should lighten up and not be such a total asshole.

    Please see Ambrose, “Citizen Soldier” as well as Lidell Hart”History of the Second World War” as well as Stokesbury “A Short History of World War II” in which all three histories refer to the message and the fact that the “soldier” Eisenhower wanted to make a statement worthy of the ages but because of he and his staff’s exhausted condition, failed.

    Next time, make sure of your facts before you make a total fool of yourself again, idiot.

    Comment by superhawk — 5/8/2005 @ 7:19 pm

  5. “This is why the Putin’s celebration will be taking place tomorrow, the 8th.
    Officially, V-E Day was celebrated by the Allied people on May 9.”

    Vice versa, “historians”.
    Victory Day celebrates on May 9 in the former USSR (later in Russia) since 1946,
    because the difference of time between Germany and Russia is +2 hours, i.e
    11 p.m. in Berlin is 1 a.m. in Moscow.
    The Act of Inconditional Capitulation came into effect since 23.00 on May 8.
    But in the rest of Europe V-E Day was celebrated by the Allied people on May 8.

    Comment by Vladimir, Moscow — 5/9/2005 @ 2:49 pm

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  7. Buon luogo, congratulazioni, il mio amico!

    Comment by Azzurra — 11/4/2006 @ 8:57 pm

  8. My dad was a member of the SHAEF staff and was at the schoolhouse that day. He’s passed now but I remember him telling me that Gen. Eisenhower was so disgusted by and angry with the Germans (having learned the extent of their atrocities and inhumanity in the concentration camps)that he refused to be in the room at the surrender. I’m not sure but I think Gen. Smith did not stand as a sign of disrespect, in contrast to military protocol, when the German generals entered the room.

    Comment by P Lydon (Chicago) — 6/15/2008 @ 11:09 pm

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