German Instrument of Surrender (7 May 1945)

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German Instrument of Surrender  (1945) 
by authority of the German High Command
The German Instrument of Surrender was the legal instrument by which the High Command of the German Armed Forces surrendered simultaneously to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force and to the Soviet High Command at the end of World War II in Europe. Before the main body of the German military surrendered, there were partial surrenders of components of the German military.

This is the main Instrument of Surrender, which was signed on 7 May, 1945, at Rheims, France. The signing took place in a red brick schoolhouse that served as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF).

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Act of Military Surrender


  1. We the undersigned, acting by authority of the German High Command, hereby surrender unconditionally to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command all forces on land, sea, and in the air who are at this date under German control.
  2. The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European time on 8 May and to remain in the positions occupied at that time. No ship, vessel, or aircraft is to be scuttled, or any damage done to their hull, machinery or equipment.
  3. The German High Command will at once issue to the appropriate commanders, and ensure the carrying out of any further orders issued by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and by the Soviet High Command.
  4. This act of military surrender is without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by, or on behalf of the United Nations and applicable to Germany and the German armed forces as a whole.
  5. In the event of the German High Command or any of the forces under their control failing to act in accordance with this Act of Surrender, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and the Soviet High Command will take such punitive or other action as they deem appropriate.


Signed at Rheims at 0241 France on the 7th day of May, 1945.



On behalf of the German High Command.
Jodl

in the presence of


On behalf of the Supreme Commander,
Allied Expeditionary Force.
       
On behalf of the Soviet
High Command.
W. B. Smith
       
Sousloparov


F. Sevez
Major General, French Army
(Witness)
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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).