In a brick-red school building in Reims, General Eisenhower established SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) headquarters on February 17, 1945. It was here that the Germans on 7 May 1945, at 02:41 am, signed an unconditional surrender.  The Germans were represented by Field Marshal Alfred Jodl, the Americans by Lieutenant General Bedell Smith and the Soviet Union by Major General Ivan Susloparov. The Capitulation came into force at 11.01 pm on 8 May.

Current status: Preserved with museum (2012).

Address: 12 Rue du Président Franklin Roosevelt, 51100 Reims.

Get there: Walk from central Reims.

My comment:

Stalin, however, annulled Susloparov’s signature because the Soviet union had not been involved in arranging the ceremony and it had not been made clear whether the capitulation also applied to the Soviet union. The Soviet union therefore proposed that a second ceremony should take place the next day and in the Nazi power center and capital Berlin. For Stalin, there was also a political and symbolic value in the Nazis capitulating in Berlin because it was the Soviet union that had taken the city. The more or less unknown Susloparov was also replaced by the far more charismatic and popular Marshal Gregory Zhukov. The ceremony took place in Berlin – Karlshorst and the German representatives were Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel (Wehrmacht), Admiral Hans-Georg von Freideburg (Kriegsmarine) and General Colonel Hans-Jürgen Stumpff (Luftwaffe). The representative of the western allies was the British air marshal Arthur William Tedder. Historically (right or wrong), it is the Second capitulation that is seen as the official end of the Second World War in Europe.

Follow up in books: Beevor, Antony: The Second World War (2012).