May 10, 1945 VICTORY IN EUROPE!

Nisqually Valley News

Teamwork of United Nations Ends Long and Bitter Struggle; U.S. Turns to Job in Pacific

Eleven hard and bitter months after General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s armies smashed through the ramparts of “Fortress Europe” to set foot upon French soil, Germany’s once proud Wehrmacht, weakened after six years of the bloodiest war in history, bowed the knee unconditionally to the Allied powers.

The end saw Nazi generals capitulate to U.S., British and Russian representatives, even as enemy die-hards held out to the last in Czechoslovakia and Norway.

Grand Adm. Karl Doenitz’s order to German troops to cease firing came as a sort of anti-climax since the bulk of the Nazi forces already had laid down their arms in the face of the Allied avalanche. April 29, 1,000,000 Nazis surrendered in northern Italy and western Austria; May 4, another 1,000,000 gave up in Holland and Denmark, and on May 5,400,000 quite in southern Germany.

As the stiff-necked German officers formally admitted defeat, neither they nor the beaten country’s new ministers entertained any illusions as to the character of the Allied terms, with Foreign Minister Count Ludwig Schwenn Von Krossigk telling the people:

… Nobody must deceive himself on the harshness of the terms.

“… Nobody must have any doubt that heavy sacrifices will be demanded from us in all spheres of life….”

Thus did the European war come to its end six years after the might Germany army, striking at the unprepared western powers, rolled through Poland, leveled the lowlands and France, and then turned back to the east again to challenge giant Russia.

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While the Germans gave ground slowly before four Russian armies hacking into their lines all the way from East Prussia on the Baltic down to the Carpathian mountains bordering southern Poland, General Eisenhower reorganized his American and British forces for the big push from the west.

Caught in a giant nutcracker, the German high command made its last desperate bid, opening the sluice gates of the huge Roer river dams in the hope of impedingthe U.S. 1stand 9th armies’ threat to the Rhine while reportedly shifting many of its armored units to the east to combat the Russians.

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