The German Surrender: Radio announcement from Doenitz to 14 German Commanders.  Typed document in German, 2 pp, 370 x 200 mm, Flensburg, Germany, May 7, 1945,
Lot 1239
The German Surrender: Radio announcement from Doenitz to 14 German Commanders.
Typed document in German, 2 pp, 370 x 200 mm, Flensburg, Germany, May 7, 1945,
Sold for US$ 12,500 inc. premium

Voices of the 20th Century

6 Dec 2017, 13:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
The German Surrender: Radio announcement from Doenitz to 14 German Commanders.
Typed document in German, 2 pp, 370 x 200 mm, Flensburg, Germany, May 7, 1945, on thin military pink paper, with filing holes, lettered "12 copies. Number 1", from the Grossadmiral (and Chancellor) Doenitz, to be read over the radio to 14 Divisional Commanders spread around Germany. Comprising two parts, the first announcing that the capitulation of all forces, land sea and air, had been signed by the German Supreme Command on 7th May at 0241, so as to avoid complete destruction of the German front, and to rescue as many lives as possible for Germany, the second part goes on to say that by May 9, 1945 at 0000 hours, all active combat is to cease, no vessel, aircraft of any kind to be destroyed or damaged, and after 0100 hours all German Forces to obey commands from Allied and Supreme Soviet Commanders, or punishments will be exacted by those forces on Germany. Some light damp staining and rucking. Framed and double-glazed with a contemporary English translation.

A historic document with Chancellor Doenitz formally informing his High Command of the German Surrender that morning, and ordering his forces to cease fire. The announcement was dictated by Doenitz at his HQ at Flensburg, near Bremen, checked by Oberstleutnant Brudermüller, and read out over the radio to 12 of the German High Command, spread around Germany, including Kesselring, Böhme, and Schörner, and two copies of this message couriered to Admiral Meisel and Generalmajor Christian. There is an extra note after the two paragraphs stating that the Army Group Kurland and AOK, in East Prussia, is ordered to make every effort to get away by sea, up to 9 May 1945 0100 hours, all ships to have sailed by that time. The German forces in East Prussia were in dire circumstances, surrounded by Russian forces, and Doenitz was keen to save those men from Russian imprisonment.

This announcement was probably sent out on the morning of the 7th May, the Surrender at Rheims being signed at 0241 on the 7th by Jodl. On the 6th Eisenhower had insisted to Jodl that they would have to be a complete capitulation, which he telegraphed onto Doenitz, Doenitz authorising Jodl to sign, but subject to a 48 hour delay ostensibly to enable the surrender order to be communicated to outlying German military units. The text of the Rheims surrender was sent by Eisenhower to Soviet High Command who said it was unacceptable because the text differed from that agreed by the EAC. So a second signing was arranged in Berlin for 8th May, with the slightly changed terms. The German High command was flown in, and with the Allied and Soviet Commanders present, they eventually signed the definitive Act of Surrender Document at 0100 9th May. Field Marshall Keitel initially balked at the amended text, proposing a grace period of 12 hours for non compliance, but had to be satisfied by a verbal assurance from Marshal Zhukov. There was a later Berlin Declaration on June 5th 1945, adopted by all 4 Allied Powers (Russia, US, Britain and France) who would then control Germany. The German forces in East Prussia, in the Russian sector, tried to make their way to surrender to the Americans, but most were stopped and captured by Soviet forces. And so ended World War II, one of the bloodiest and most savage in World History.
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