Today in history: The Fall of Germany

Today in 1945, Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered, ending World War II in Europe.

In early 1945, the final year of World War II, Nazi Germany began to collapse. In January, the Soviets advenced to the Oder river, only a few miles from Berlin, bringing destruction to all in their path, and in March, Western forces crossed the Rhine river, while destroying German cities from the air. In April, American forces swept through southern and western Germany, and the Soviets surrounded Berlin. Adolf Hitler committed suicide on the 30th of April and appointed Karl Donitz as his replacement, and two days later Berlin fell. German soldiers fled west, trying to be captured by the American army rather than the Russian, and Donitz sent the Wehrmacht chief of staff Wilhelm Keitel to begin urgent negotiations with the Allies to surrender. The Allies demanded an unconditional surrender, which the troops in the north agreed to on May 5. The total surrender was delayed by failed German maneuvers and separations, and on 7 May Keitel signed a order of general surrender. On May 8, the surrender was celebrated in the West, and at the same time, another surrender was signed to the Soviets, who were not satisfied with the first surrender formula (and therefore they celebrate the surrender on May 9). Scattered fighting continued for a few more days, but soon peace and a new world order landed on Europe.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

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