“The Mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945, Eisenhower.”
With that simple statement, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, announced the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe.
The 1st Infantry Division, whose history we present at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, played a significant role in achieving the victory.
There is much we should recall about that moment 70 years ago.
The Nazi surrender took place in Reims, France, on May 7. There was an immediate cease-fire, but the surrender did not take effect until just before midnight on May 8. This allowed time to get the word to units of both sides and to allow Allied forces to conclude operations in favorable positions.
A formal surrender ceremony took place in Berlin on May 9. In Russia, therefore, V-E Day is marked as May 9.
Adolf Hitler did not surrender. He and his wife of a single day, Eva Braun, committed suicide on April 30 in his bunker under the Reich Chancellery in the center of Berlin as Soviet forces closed in.
Hitler designated Adm. Karl Donitz, commander of the German navy, as his successor because of all Hitler’s henchmen, he considered Donitz the…