- Point of Interest
- Niebergallstraße 20, Berlin, Allemagne
On 5 June 1945 the supreme commanders of the Western powers met for the first time with their colleague from the Soviet Union. In Berlin-Wendenschloss they signed the Berlin Declaration, proclaiming the unconditional surrender of Germany and the assumption of supreme authority by the four victorious powers.
On 5 June 1945 the supreme commanders of the Western powers met for the first time with their colleague from the Soviet Union. The meeting was hosted by the Soviet forces in Berlin. They had captured the capital of the German Reich in the final stages of a very fierce battle in early May and had administered it alone for the ensuing two months.
In Berlin-Wendenschloss the four commanders, on behalf of their governments, signed three documents referring to future dealings with vanquished and occupied Germany. The first document became known as the Berlin Declaration. It proclaimed the unconditional surrender of Germany and the assumption of supreme authority by the four victorious powers. “Germany”, it said, “has become subject to such requirements as may now or hereafter be imposed upon her.”
The second document announced the establishment of the Allied Control Council. The third document defined the occupation zones of the four powers, based on the territory of the German Reich as at 31 December 1937. Henceforth the decisions of the victorious powers, individually in their respective zones and jointly in the Allied Control Council for Germany as a whole, became the law of the land.
The capital, Berlin, was treated as a special area under joint occupation by all four powers. Divided into four sectors, the city was governed by a four-power administration called the Allied Kommandatura.
However, mounting tensions between the Western powers and the Soviet Union created a situation in which essential decisions were no longer taken jointly but separately by the military governments in their respective zones and sectors.
Soviet Colonel-General Nikolai Berzarin commanded the 5th Shock Army during the Berlin campaign that lasted from 16 April until 2 May 1945. As the first city commandant of Berlin he worked hard to get the city moving again. He died in a motorcycle accident on 16 June 1945.
Svetoslao N. Hlopoff arrived in eastern France as a soldier with the U.S. Army in December 1944. After the surrender of Nazi Germany, a roundabout route took him to the Allied Kommandatura in Berlin as a Russian-English interpreter. In this capacity he experienced the beginnings and the collapse of the Four Powers Administration.
Wilhelm Keitel served as chief of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht from 1938 to 1945. He loyally supported Hitler’s policies and shared responsibility for the war of annihilation in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. On 8 May 1945 he signed the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces in Berlin. In November 1945 he stood trial in Nuremberg.
The Second World War in Europe ended in the spring of 1945 with the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. The fate of the German people now lay in the hands of the four victorious powers, the USA, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France. Germany and Berlin were placed under a shared four-party administration.