Skip to content


April 19, 2012

Each post on this blog builds chronologically on the ones before. Journal entries are written in bold and comments are written in italics. I gratefully acknowledge the sources I used to follow Al’s journal and have listed them on the page, “Where to Learn More“.

May 7.
9th Army ceases fire.

May 8.
Move to Kusey, near Klotze.  Same kind of work.

May 9.
War ends.  Germany signs unconditional surrender at Rheims, France.  A most happy day indeed!

The War in Europe officially ended at midnight on May 8, 1945.   On May 6, German General Alfred Jodl arrived at General Dwight Eisenhower’s headquarters, a small schoolhouse in Reim,  France.  Since Hitler was dead (having committed suicide on April 30), General Jodl was sent in his place.  Transcripts of the document, which required unconditional surrender,  had been sent  ahead of the event to London, Paris and Moscow for approval.The next day, another German general traveled to Berlin to formally surrender to Soviet troops.  The effective date and time for the cessation of hostilities was 11:01 p.m. Central European time.

This was the final touch on what was actually a week-long end of the war.   On May 2, hostilities had ended in Italy, where a surrender document had been signed a few days before.  A similar document had been signed on May 4 at Montgomery’s headquarters by German army representatives there.

News of the surrender spread through the West on May 8, and celebrations erupted throughout Europe and  the U.S. Americans declared May 8th V-E Day. This was not the end of the war since hostilities with Japan continued,nor was it the end of Al’s involvement.

  1. The photos are fascinating. Some of the scenes of urban bombing are certainly French, as you probably know, from the titles: one says “Entry of the Canadians…”, presumably into a previously German-occupied town. The photos of German soldiers appear mostly to be taken by other Germans and not to show them in captivity and the first one looks like the sort of formal photo a family might keep of their son gone off to war.

    I well remember a photo of capture reproduced somewhere: a Black American soldier is pointing a gun at a German officer. The officer looks furious and may be shouting. The American is tense and looks like it wouldn’t take much for him to pull the trigger. However, behind the officer is another German soldier, fairly old and not an officer: he is relaxed and grinning. Didn’t like the officer??

    • Thank you for your thoughtful reply to “Al’s War; One Man’s Journey Through WW2”. You are right about the German soldier photos; they did, I believe, come from their family homes as the US soldiers “liberated” them. This is based on what Al told me, nothing in the journal about them. Still, I find them fascinating based on that background, too.

      Some of the urban bombing scenes are labeled but still not quite identifiable. For example, there are multiple St Michels and I have not been able to determine which one it is. I appreciate your attempts and interest. I’ve had some schedule challenges but am preparing for Al’s return home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: