On this day in 1945 General Alfred Jodl, on behalf of the German High Command signed the unconditional surrender of all German forces in east and west of Europe. The signing ceremony took place at the French city of Reims at 2:41 on the morning of 7 May 1945.
This instrument of surrender signed by the Nazis is perhaps the most important capitulation document among all instruments of surrender in the history of warfare. We present the English text for our readers on the 69th anniversary of one of the most memorable event of the 20th century. The English text, is also considered to be the most dependable by all quarters.
The instrument was signed in the presence of the Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Force, a representative from the soviet high command and a Major General of the French Army.
ACT OF MILITARY SURRENDER
1. We the undersigned, acting by authority of the German High Command, hereby surrender unconditionally to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command all forces on land, sea, and in the air who are at this date under German control.
2. The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European time on 8 May and to remain in the positions occupied at that time. No ship, vessel, or aircraft is to be scuttled, or any damage done to their hull, machinery or equipment.
3. The German High Command will at once issue to the appropriate commanders, and ensure the carrying out of any further orders issued by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and by the Soviet High Command.
4. This act of military surrender is without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by, or on behalf of the United Nations and applicable to GERMANY and the German armed forces as a whole.
5. In the event of the German High Command or any of the forces under their control failing to act in accordance with this Act of Surrender, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and the Soviet High Command will take such punitive or other action as they deem appropriate.
Signed at Rheims at 0241 France on the 7th day of May, 1945.
69 years on but in the light of mounting tensions in East Europe did the instrument of surrender - meant for restoring peace in Europe - live up to its expectation?
The writer is Current Affairs Analyst, The Daily Star.