D-245

Instrument of Surrender (Multi page document

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Instrument of Surrender (Multi page document)-This is a copy of the 32-page Instrument of (Unconditional) Surrender document officially ending the Third Reich. These documents would have been mimeographed and distributed to the appropriate officials after they were signed. There were three language versions of the surrender document, English, Russian and German, with the Russian and English versions proclaimed in the document itself as the only authoritative ones.

This document was signed on May 8, 1945 at 2am, at Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters in Reims by Gen. Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff of the German Army. This unconditional surrender of the German Third Reich Documents was signed in the early morning hours at Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in Reims which is located in Northeastern France.

Present were representatives of the four Allied Powers – France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States – and the three German officers delegated by German President Karl Doenitz. These were: Gen. Alfred Jodl, who alone had been authorized to sign the surrender document; Maj. Wilhelm Oxenius, who was 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. Eisenhower 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 alterations, 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. But the Berlin document had few significant changes from the one signed a day earlier at Reims.