Why Germany had to surrender twice in World War II
Why Germany had to surrender twice in World War II

On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. The act of surrender was officially signed in Reims, France. This put such a long-awaited end to that terrible, bloody war, which left such deep scars on the hearts and lives of so many people. This was the final fall of the Third Reich. Just what happened then on May 9 in Berlin? Why did Germany actually have to surrender twice?

This year marks 75 years since the end of the most terrible and destructive war of the 20th century. According to official figures, World War II claimed about 70 million lives. The German government had to surrender twice in this war. It happened because of warring ideologies, quarrels between the Soviet Union and its allies. Unfortunately, such a legacy was left by the recent First World War.

After Stalin learned about the signing of the act of surrender in Reims, he just got furious

The end of Nazi Germany was already quite clear, beginning in 1944. The USSR, USA, France and Great Britain have joined forces to bring this long-awaited event closer. When Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, it was already clear to everyone that the time of the bloody dictatorship of the Third Reich was over. Only now it was not clear how the military and political signing of the surrender would be organized.

As his successor, in case of death, Hitler appointed a naval admiral and an ardent Nazi, Karl Dönitz. It was a disservice. Indeed, in fact, Dönitz inherited not the management of the new Germany, but the organization of its dissolution.

The admiral soon instructed the Chief of Operations of the High Command of the Armed Forces, Alfred Jodl, to negotiate the surrender of all German forces with General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The first signing took place on May 8 in Reims

At the same time, Dönitz hoped that the negotiations would buy him much-needed time to withdraw as many German citizens and troops as possible from the path of the advancing army of the Soviet Union. Also, the cunning admiral hoped to convince the United States, Britain and France, which did not trust the USSR, to oppose the Soviet Union so that Germany could continue its war on this front.

So the people of New York rejoiced in the victory over the Nazis

Eisenhower, however, saw all these tricks and insisted that Jodl sign the surrender document without any negotiations. On May 7, 1945, an unconditional "Act of Military Surrender" and a complete ceasefire were signed, which entered into force at 23:00 CET on 8 May.

Joseph Stalin demanded that the treaty on the part of Germany be signed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel

When Joseph Stalin learned that Germany had signed an unconditional surrender in Reims, he simply flew into a rage. After all, the Soviet Union sacrificed millions of lives of soldiers and ordinary citizens in this war. This means that the Soviet military leader of the highest rank had to accept the surrender, and the signatories limited themselves to only the formal presence of one Soviet officer.

Stalin objected to the very place of signing this act. The Soviet leader believed that such a document should be signed only in Berlin. After all, it was Berlin that was the capital of the Third Reich, which means that only there his unconditional surrender should be formalized.

Admiral Dönitz hoped to embroil the Allies and continue to wage war against the Soviet Union

Joseph Stalin's decisive objection to the Allies was that Alfred Jodl was not Germany's highest-ranking military official. After all, everyone remembered how such a signing of the armistice that ended the First World War helped sow the seeds of the Second World War.

Then in 1918, when the German Empire was on the brink of defeat, it collapsed and was replaced by a parliamentary republic. The new secretary of state, Matthias Erzberger, signed an armistice in Compiegne, in which Germany also surrendered unconditionally.

This surrender, sudden for the majority of German citizens, came as a shock. After all, the government assured them that Germany was about to win. As a result, persistent rumors spread that the new civilian government in Germany was to blame. It was they, the Marxists and the Jews, who stabbed the German army in the back.

The policy of the then German government was very disliked by the right. Especially the new taxation system introduced by the Reich Minister of Finance Matthias Erzberger. He was also one of the signers of the Versailles Armistice Treaty. This made Erzberger the scapegoat for the German people. As a result of the policy of slinging mud, the Reichsminister resigned. But this was not enough on the right. On August 26, 1921, Erzberger was despicably assassinated, and members of the Nazi party banded together to seize absolute power.

Stalin was convinced that the signing of the act of surrender by such an official as Alfred Jodl, with the instructions of the civilian head of state, could in the future serve to create a new myth that the German army was once again stabbed in the back. The head of the Soviet state was very worried that in this case Germany in the future would be able to insist again that the surrender was illegal. Stalin demanded that the document be personally signed by none other than the Supreme Commander of all German armed forces, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel.

Wilhelm Keitel signs a surrender agreement

The Allies agreed with this fear of Stalin, and the delegation was reorganized. The next day, May 8, 1945, Keitel traveled to Karlhorst, a suburb of Berlin, to sign the document in the presence of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov and a small Allied delegation. The German field marshal insisted on the inclusion in the document of a point that was insignificant in his words: granting it to the troops a grace period of at least 12 hours. This is supposedly necessary in order to ensure that they receive a ceasefire order, so as not to face any sanctions for the continuation of hostilities.

Liberated concentration camp prisoners The destroyed building of the Reichstag Everyone wanted to leave their signature on the wall of the Reichstag, as evidence of the victory over fascism

Marshal Zhukov refused to include this clause in the agreement, giving only a verbal promise. As a result of all these events, there was a delay in the official execution of the contract and came on May 9. Not a word was said in the Soviet press about the surrender of Germany signed in Reims. Some allies considered the demand for re-signing to be a clear propaganda move on the part of Stalin in order to attribute all the merit and victory to himself.

On Victory Day, a scout photographer from Perm, Mikhail Arsentiev, took a photo in Berlin at the monument to Kaiser Wilhelm I and called the picture "Winners at the walls of the Reichstag." Taking of the Reichstag

We are unlikely to know what was actually guided by Stalin, but his requirements for the procedure were quite logical and the allies agreed with them. But until now, Victory Day is celebrated in Europe on May 8, the day of the official ceasefire, and on May 9 throughout the territory of the former Soviet Union.

Officially, all former Soviet republics celebrate Victory Day on May 9 and today Festive fireworks in Moscow on May 9, 1945

Much is known about World War II, but there is still more to be learned, or vice versa, it will remain forever a mystery. Read more about this in our article. what the main documents of the Victory looked like.

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