- Point of Interest
- Zwieseler Straße 4, Berlin, Allemagne
With the unconditional surrender of the German Armed Forces on 8 May 1945, the Second World War ended in Europe. The surrender took place in Berlin’s Karlshorst district, where the Soviet forces had set up their main headquarters after the fall of Berlin.
A day earlier, on 7 May 1945, Wehrmacht Chief of Staff Colonel-General Alfred Jodl had signed the German surrender at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in Reims, France. Since the surrender document in Reims had not been signed by the German High Command, all participants agreed that a second act needed to be ratified by high-ranking German officers.
The surrender ceremony was repeated in Berlin on 8/9 May. Shortly after midnight, the surrender was signed on behalf of the German High Command by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff and General-Admiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg. Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov signed the document on behalf of the Supreme High Command of the Red Army and British Air Marshal Arthur W. Tedder as deputy of the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force.
After the signature, Zhukov invited his Western Allies to a banquet. Not only at the Soviet headquarters in Berlin, but all over the world, the victory over Germany and the end of the Second World War in Europe was jubilantly celebrated.
The date of the announcement of the surrender in Moscow, 9 May, was the official date of the end of the war in the Soviet Union, and still is in Russia today. In the West, Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) is celebrated on 8 May.
Battle of Berlin
The battle of Berlin was one of the last battles of the Second World War in Europe. The war that had proceeded from Berlin returned to the city. Many soldiers and civilians died in widespread house-to-house fighting.
Victorious powers in Berlin
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.
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.
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.
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny commanded the French ‘Army B’, later the 1st Army, which took part in the liberation of France as the largest French formation. On May 8th 1945 he represented France during the signing of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany in Berlin-Karlshorst.