World War II: Final Communique of the German High Command
(May 9, 1945)
FROM THE GRAND ADMIRAL'S HEADQUARTERS, May 9-The High Command of the Armed Forces announces:
In East Prussia - German divisions even yesterday gallantly defended to the very last the Vistula mouth and the western part of the Frisches Nehrung. The Seventh Division distinguished itself particularly in this fighting. To their Commander in Chief, General of Tank Troops von Saucken, were awarded diamonds to the Oak Leaves with swords to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in recognition of the exemplary gallantry of his soldiers.
As an advanced bulwark, our armies in Courland [Latvia], under the well-proved command of Colonel General Guenther, tied down superior Soviet rifle and armored formations through many months and acquired eternal glory in six great battles. They refused any premature surrender. Only the wounded, and later numerous children, were transported in full order by aircraft that still left for the west. Staffs and officers remained with their troops.
At midnight all fighting and all movements were suspended on the German side, under the conditions that had been signed.
The defenders of Breslau, who resisted Soviet attacks for more than two months, succumbed to enemy superiority in the last hour after a heroic struggle.
On the Southeast and East Fronts, from Fiume to Brno [Bruenn] to the Elbe near Dresden, all the higher military authorities have received the order to cease fire.
A Czech rising is taking place in the whole of Bohemia and Moravia and may threaten the execution of the capitulation conditions as well as communications in that area.
The High Command of the Armed-Forces so far has not received any reports regarding the situation of the army groups Loehr, Rendulic and Schoerner.
Far from home, the defenders of the Atlantic bases, our forces in Norway and garrisons of the Aegean Islands have maintained the military honor of the German soldier in obedience and discipline.
Since midnight all weapons have been silent on all fronts on orders of the Grand Admiral, and the armed forces have ceased the fighting, which has now become hopeless, thus ending a heroic struggle that lasted almost six years. This struggle brought us great victories. But also heavy defeats. In the end the German Wehrmacht succumbed with honor to enormous superiority.
Loyal to his oath, the German soldier's performance in a supreme effort for his people can never be forgotten. Up to the last moment the homeland had supported him with all its strength in an effort entailing the heaviest sacrifices. The unique performance of the front and homeland will find a final appraisal in the later, just judgment of history.
The enemy, too, will not deny his tribute of respect to the performance and sacrifices of German soldiers on land, at sea and in the air. Every soldier, therefore, may lay aside his weapon proud and erect and set to work in these gravest hours of our history with courage and confidence to safeguard the undying life of our people.
In this grave hour the Wehrmacht remembers its comrades who have died in battle. The dead impose upon us an obligation of unconditional loyalty, obedience and discipline toward the Fatherland, which is bleeding from countless wounds.
[After the reading of the communiqué there was three minutes silence. Then the announcer said:
["The German radio has transmitted the last High Command communiqué of this war. We close our news bulletin with an official announcement as follows:
[" 'It is officially announced that effective May 9, 1945, blackout regulations are lifted. Effective also from today the ban on listening to foreign stations has been lifted.' "]