Episodes of the Great Patriotic War

Germany Surrenders!

Reported by Lieutenant-Colonel L. Vysokoöstrovsky and
Lieutenant-Colonel P. Troyanovsky
(in Krasnaya Zvezda, 9th May 1945)

Source: Episodes of the Great Patriotic War (Booklet), 74-76. Originally published in the USSR, 1947.
Transcription/HTML: Mike B. for MIA, 2008
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Before the 8th May 1945 the Berlin suburb of Karlshorst was not in any way famous. It gained historical fame on that day when representatives of the allied powers gathered in a building to dictate the terms of the unconditional surrender to Germany.

Let us follow the events of the day. We will begin at the big Berlin aerodrome of Tempelhof. The centre of the aerodrome has been cleared of wreckage and put in order. Around the edges of the field there are still large numbers of burnt and battered German aircraft that have been piled up there.

The flags of the U.S.S.R., the U.S.A. and Great Britain are flying over the aerodrome. A military band is playing and its music drowns the noise of the fighter aircraft ready to take off from the aerodrome.

A number of cars drive up to the aerodrome bringing generals and other officers of the Soviet Army representing the units that captured Berlin. They are the High Command of the Soviet Army who have come to meet the High Command of the allied armies.

A few minutesA later a huge aircraft with white stars on its wings appears over the aerodrome. This is the American Military Mission that has flown from Moscow to take part in the historic proceedings.

At 12:43 p. m. the engines of the Soviet fighters roar more loudly. At 12:45 p. m. they take off in twos and fly away to the south-west. In nineteen and a half minutes they will reach the allied aerodrome on the Elbe to meet the allied aircraft bringing the other generals to Berlin.

An hour and five minutes pass, and the sky is again filled with the roar of engines. Three transport planes, one British and two American, have arrived. The British plane lands first and British Air Marshall Tedder, American General Spaats, Admiral Barrow and others alight.

While Soviet Army General Sokolovsky. Colonel-General Berzarin, Commandant of Berlin, and Lieutenant-General Bokov are greeting the newcomers, somebody notices that a German aircraft has arrived on the other side of the aerodrome. Keitel, Friedenburg and Stumpf. Representatives of defeated Germany, tread warily on the field where they once strutted at the head of military parades.

Then the French delegation arrived. All the allied officers took their places in the waiting cars and were taken to Karlshorst.

The Soviet, British and American delegations arrived at the building where the Act of Surrender was to be signed. A little later the French delegation, headed by General Delatre de Tassigny took their places in the conference hall.

The building where this historic act was to take place was quite a simple one. In the hall there were three rows of tables covered with soft cloth and a long table for the heads of the allied delegations. At the end of the hall stood a small palm. On the wall were the flags of the four allied powers. the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States of America and France.

The heads of the allied delegations enter the room. Soon the room is filled with secretaries, reporters and cinema cameramen. Marshal Zhukov, head of the Soviet delegation, suggests that they begin work and then orders the German delegation to be brought in. In a few minutes the Germans enter. "Have you the proper authority to sign the Act of Surrender?" Zhukov asks Keitel.

Keitel hands him a document signed by Admiral Doenitz.

Then begins the ceremony of signing the act of Germany's complete and unconditional surrender to the allied powers.

The faces of the allied generals are stern but triumphant. Keitel and the other Germans are gloomy, they stand staring down at the floor. Only a short time before this they were shouting to tell the whole world of their victories.

The allied leaders sign the act of surrender, and then Keitel signs. The lips of his adjutant, standing behind him, tremble as he puts his pen to the paper.

Germany has surrendered. How much pride and joy is included in these simple words!

Transcriber's Note

A. The original text reads "A few months later" (emphasis added), which appears to be an error in translation.