V-sign along the Rhine

  • Rheinallee 35, 46487 Wesel, Germany

In the night of 23 to 24 March 1945, the Allies launched a major offensive under the name Operation Plunder. On a wide front they crossed the Rhine at Rees, Bislich, Wesel and Dinslaken. None other than British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was symbolically photographed here with General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery on 25 March.

On 25 March 1945, the English Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived on the banks of the Rhine to check in. That morning Churchill had attended a church service at the English headquarters in Walbeck, a village on the west side of the Lower Rhine. Afterwards he drove with his chief of staff, sergeant and a few war correspondents in armoured vehicles to the American headquarters in Rheinberg.

Having arrived there, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower told him about a house, 16 km away in Büderich, which offered a good view of the Rhine and the town of Wesel on the opposite bank. Accompanied by a large security force, Churchill, Eisenhower, Montgomery and the journalists were driven to the house. From the balcony on the first floor of the restaurant ‘Wacht am Rhein’, they had a beautiful view of the river and the land behind it on this sunny day. After the men had been extensively filmed and photographed, Eisenhower returned to his headquarters. However, Churchill didn’t feel like leaving yet and suggested crossing the Rhine in a landing craft to Montgomery.

Churchill’s visit to the troops of the great Rhine crossing is but a footnote in the extensive history of the Second World War. Nevertheless, the images made of this moment were spread across the world and provided extra energy to the Allied side. The road to Berlin was, indeed, open.

V-sign along the Rhine