It has sometimes been called the greatest generation but for those men and women who fought in World War II we all owe a debt of gratitude that cannot be paid. On this day in 1945, the German High Command signed the unconditional surrender of all German forces, East and West, at Reims, in northwestern France. General Dwight Eisenhower demanded complete surrender of all German forces, those fighting in the East as well as in the West. If this demand was not met, Eisenhower was prepared to seal off the Western front, preventing Germans from fleeing to the West in order to surrender, thereby leaving them in the hands of the enveloping Soviet forces. Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, Hitler’s successor, was radioed with the terms. Donitz ordered his commander to sign. The war in the West was over.
We abolished slavery in the West but we have not found a way to abolish war. Perhaps in my lifetime we might hope for the abolition of war. If not it will be the abolition of humankind. So on this day of victory and defeat which was driven by a megalomaniac with his completely misguided understanding of history – let’s celebrate that right does make might and that the Third Reich is nothing but a pile of rubble. Let’s never forget what appeasement can lead to and vow to work for peace with open eyes.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore. Is 2:4