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Archive for October, 2008

Prior to the “May Crisis”, Hitler appeared to be in no hurry to bring the crisis over Czechoslovakia to a conclusion. An earlier draft memorandum on “Operation Green” (the code name for the invasion of Czechoslovakia), dated 20 May 1938, indicated no immediate timetable for the operation. The events of 19-22 May 1938, however, caused Hitler to change his mind. He believed that Germany had suffered a loss of face in climbing down – or appearing to climb down – when confronted with the apparent resolution of Britain and France. An amendment to the plan was issued within a week. An accompanying covering letter from General Keitel, Chief of the Armed Forces, clearly sets a target date.

Berlin, 30 May, 1938

TOP SECRET, MILITARY
Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht
O.K.W. No. 42/38 Top Secret, Military. LI
ONLY TO BE HANDLED BY AN OFFICER
WRITTEN BY AN OFFICER

By order of the Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, part 2, section II of the directive on the combined preparations for war of the Wehrmacht of June 24, 1937 (Supreme Headquarters No. 55/37, Top Secret, Mil. LIa). (War on Two Fronts with Main Effort in the Southeast, Strategic Concentration “Green”) is to be replaced by the attached version. Its execution must be assured by October 1, 1938, at the latest.

Alterations to other parts of the directive are to be expected during the next few weeks.

Keitel
Chief of the Supreme Headquarters
of the Wehrmacht

To:
C.-in-C. Army
C.-in-C. Navy
C.-in-C. Air Force
O.K.W. Section L

[Enclosure]

Copy of 4th version

TOP SECRET, MILITARY
Appendix to: Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht O.K.W.
No.я42/38,Top Secret, Military, LIa, dated May 30, 1938.
ONLY TO BE HANDLED BY AN OFFICER
WRITTEN BY AN OFFICER

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Broadcast to the American People Announcing the Surrender of
Germany

May 8, 1945

[Delivered from the Radio Room at the White House at 9 a.m.]

THIS IS a solemn but a glorious hour. I only wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly over all Europe.

For this victory, we join in offering our thanks to the Providence which has guided and sustained us through the dark days of adversity.

Our rejoicing is sobered and subdued by a supreme consciousness of the terrible price we have paid to rid the world of Hitler and his evil band. Let us not forget, my fellow Americans, the sorrow and the heartache which today abide in the homes of so many of our neighbors-neighbors whose most priceless possession has been rendered as a sacrifice to redeem our liberty.

We can repay the debt which we owe to our God, to our dead and to our children only by work–by ceaseless devotion to the responsibilities which lie ahead of us. If I could give you a single watchword for the coming months, that word is–work, work, and more work.

We must work to finish the war. Our victory is but half-won. The West is free, but the East is still in bondage to the treacherous tyranny of the Japanese. When the last Japanese division has surrendered unconditionally, then only will our fighting job be done.

We must work to bind up the wounds of a suffering world–to build an abiding peace, a peace rooted in justice and in law. We can build such a peace only by hard, toilsome, painstaking work–by understanding and working with our allies in peace as we have in war.

The job ahead is no less important, no less urgent, no less difficult than the task which now happily is done.

I call upon every American to stick to his post until the last battle is won. Until that day, let no man abandon his post or slacken his efforts. And now, I want to read to you my formal proclamation of this occasion:

“A Proclamation–The Allied armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God’s help, have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. They have violated their churches, destroyed their homes, corrupted their children, and murdered their loved ones. Our Armies of Liberation have restored freedom to these suffering peoples, whose spirit and will the oppressors could never enslave.

“Much remains to be done. The victory won in the West must now be won in the East. The whole world must be cleansed of the evil from which half the world has been freed. United, the peace-loving nations have demonstrated in the West that their arms are stronger by far than the might of the dictators or the tyranny of military cliques that once called us soft and weak. The power of our peoples to defend themselves against all enemies will be proved in the Pacific war as it has been proved in Europe.

“For the triumph of spirit and of arms which we have won, and for its promise to the peoples everywhere who join us in the love of freedom, it is fitting that we, as a nation, give thanks to Almighty God, who has strengthened us and given us the victory.

“Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Sunday, May 13, 1945, to be a day of prayer.

“I call upon the people of the United States, whatever their faith, to unite in offering joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won, and to pray that He will support us to the end of our present struggle and guide us into the ways of peace.

“I also call upon my countrymen to dedicate this day of prayer to the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory.

“In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.”

Harry s. Truman: Broadcast to the American people announcing the surrender of Germany

Source: The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

See also: Victory Speech Broadcast from Moscow on May 9, 1945

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Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz’ Broadcast Informing The German People of Their Unconditional Surrender
May 8, 1945

German men and women,

When I addressed the German nation on May 1 telling it that the Fuehrer had appointed me his successor, I said that my foremost task was to save the lives of the German people. In order to achieve this goal, I ordered the German High Command during the night of May 6-7 to sign the unconditional surrender for all fronts.

On May 8 at 23 hours (11 P.M.) the arms will be silent.

German soldiers, veterans of countless battles, are now treading the bitter path of captivity, and thereby making the last sacrifice for the life of our women and children, and for the future of our nation.

We bow to all who have fallen. I have pledged myself to the German people that in the coming times of want I will help courageous women and children, as far as I humanly can, to alleviate their conditions. Whether this will be possible I do not know.

We must face facts squarely. The unity of state and party does not exist any more. The party has left the scene of its activities.

With the occupation of Germany, the power has been transferred to the occupying authorities. It is up to them to confirm me in my function and the Government I have appointed or decide whether to appoint a different one.

Should I be required to help our Fatherland, I will remain at my post.

Should the will of the German people express itself in the appointment of a head of state, or should the powers of occupation make it impossible for me to continue in my office remains to be seen.

Duty keeps me in my difficult post for the sake of Germany. I will not remain one hour more than can be reconciled with the dignity of the Reich. I will disregard my person in this matter.

All of us have to face a difficult path. We have to walk it with dignity, courage and discipline which those demand of us who sacrificed their all for us. We must walk it by making the greatest efforts to create a firm basis for our future lives.

We will walk it unitedly. Without this unity we shall not be able to overcome the misery of the times to come. We will walk it in the hope that one day our children may lead a free and secure existence in a peaceful Europe. On this thorny path, which we all will have to tread, I will try to help you as much as is possible, should I remain at my post. Should we succeed in going this way together, this step will be a service to the nation and to the Reich.

Source: New York Times, May 1945

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Declaration for the Purpose of establishing Similar Rules of Neutrality, with Annexes. Signed at Stockholm, May 27th, 1938 Between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden

Declaration for the Purpose of establishing Similar Rules of Neutrality, with Annexes. Signed at Stockholm, May 27th, 1938 Between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden

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Memorandum to the Note to the Greek Government, April 6, 1941

Memorandum to the Note to the Greek Government, April 6, 1941

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Note of the ReichGovernment to the Greek Government, April 6, 1941

Note of the Reich Government to the Greek Government, April 6, 1941

Note of the ReichGovernment to the Greek Government, April 6, 1941

Note of the Reich Government to the Greek Government, April 6, 1941

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