The following order, dated March 31, 1945, is issued
at the order of the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces:
The Allied armies have crossed the Rhine and are driving ever more
deeply into the very heart of Germany.
The German Government has ceased to exercise effective control over
wide areas. The German High Command has lost effective control over
many units, large and small, of the German forces.
In these circumstances, in order to avoid further unnecessary bloodshed
and sacrifice of human life, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary
Forces has issued a series of instructions. Here are instructions to
members of the Wehrmacht:
Soldiers of the German Wehrmacht! To save yourselves further useless
sacrifice, and loss of life, this is what you must do:
(1) Units in contact which no longer receive orders from the German
command are to cease hostilities. The units are to be assembled. Until
further orders, the present commanding officer of each unit is responsible
for the discipline of his men.
(2) Surrender of troop units takes place by sending an emissary to
the nearest Allied command post, under the protection of a white flag.
The surrender must take place in an orderly manner and with observance
of military discipline.
(3) Units out of contact remain under the command of their officers
until further orders. The units are to be assembled and commanding officers
remain responsible for the discipline and supply of the troops under
their command until further orders.
(4) Scattered units and individual Wehrmacht personnel report to the
nearest Allied troop unit while observing the customary signs of surrender;
i.e., unarmed and without helmet or web equipment. Collecting points
are along the main highways and thoroughfares.
The following instructions were issued to foreign workers:
(1) Keep away now from all targets, factories, railroads, marshaling
yards and bridges. Refuse to work in or near such danger spots, in which
no one has the right to compel anyone to work.
(2) When Allied armies approach, seek out the safest spot you can find.
Take refuge away from all military installations, away from factories
and railroads. Keep off the roads, particularly main highroads.
(3) Stay in those refuges until the Allied armies arrive and finish
mopping up the German units. Then report to Allied Military Government
officials, who will put you in touch as soon as possible with your own
liaison officer. Send a spokesman for a group.
(4) Many of your comrades in the areas liberated by the victorious
Russian armies owe their freedom to the fact that they were able to
put into practice instructions such as we have just given you. The same
is true of the western front and this will increase as the momentum
of our advance gathers way.
(5) The Supreme Commander knows your urgent and legitimate
desire to return home as soon as possible. By following his instructions,
you will speed up your return to your family.