Last of the German Troops to Surrender – May 13th 1945

Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, commander of Germany’s Wehrmacht, signed the surrender agreement with Allied forces on 7th May, 1945. The agreement declared that all Nazi troops of Germany’s land, air and naval forces should put down their arms and stop fighting.

Most of Germany’s troops obeyed, but a few regiments continued to fight until their last man, including thousands of German troops stuck in the Soviet area of Poland. These soldiers continued to fire on Soviet troops in the coastal city of Danzig, and what was left of the German 4th Army fought on at Heiligenbeil, East Prussia. A few pockets of German troops on the Greek Islands also continued to wage war until the following day.

Five days after the surrender had been agreed upon, the Wehrmacht and SS troops in Czechoslovakia continued to fight, as did troops in Poland’s Hel Peninsula. The final German troops surrendered their weapons on 13th and 14th May.

Six days after the surrender 30,000 pro-Nazi troops from Germany and other Eastern European countries fought a battle against Communist fighters on the Yugoslavian and Austrian border. The battle lasted for two days and more than 400 were killed.  The Allies intervened and sent thousands of Yugoslavian civilian back home; upon their return were killed by the new national army.

At sea, the German U-boat U-234 didn’t surrender until 14th May. The submarine was in the mid-North Atlantic when Germany officially surrendered, and didn’t receive the order until the 10th May. Even then its Captain, Johann-Heinrich Fehler, decided to head to the US instead of returning to Europe; there he believed they would receive a less lengthy detention than from British or Allied forces in Europe, Military History Now reports.

U-234 was captured by the USS Sutton not far from Newfoundland. The submarine also held two Japanese passengers and stocks of uranium that Hitler was sending to Nazi sympathisers in the Far East. The Japanese passengers decided to commit suicide rather than serve time as POWs.  The submarine was taken to the The Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard, Maine where its uranium was confiscated and possibly used to add to US nuclear power stocks. The crewmen were all repatriated and the submarine was eventually destroyed just off Cape Cod.

Editors note: It turns out that there were German units that surrendered well after May 14th 1945.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE