Nazi ‘Surrender Order’ sold for over $30,000

Not everyone commanding the German Army was as ambitious as Hitler was in his last days of the Second World War. As the war approached to its logical end, Hitler had very few loyal commanders left in his ranks. This is a fact that the idea of surrendering to the allies or Russians never crossed the Fuhrer’s mind, even when he was about to shoot himself in his bunker. However, some of Nazi Generals were a little more realistic then Hitler.

Very Recently a Nazi ‘Surrender Order’ has appeared and is in the custody of a collector. In an auction the historic document has sold for over $30,000 (£20,000).

Before committing a much-deserved suicide, Adolf Hitler appointed Admiral Karl Doenitz as his successor. Doenitz was previously the head of German Navy and was more realistic then Hitler would give him credit for. Shortly after taking over the reigns of collapsing Reich, Doenitz decided to surrender to the allies and sent out an order to all his commanders to lay down their weapons. Though most of the documents were destroyed by Nazis before the surrender, however one surrender order survived in the pocket of the Head of Luftwaffe, Field Marshal Robert Ritter Von Greim.

The document contains a very clear surrender order by Doenitz, sent out at 10.40pm on May 8. Doenitz also stated in the document that Nazis had undoubtedly lost the war and all hostilities and assaults were to cease immediately. He added that no maritime vehicle or plane was to be fired at, since this could lead to a punitive action from the allies who clearly had the control over all matters. Although Doenitz had promised the Fuhrer to fight till the last bullet, he decided to surrender to allies rather then giving up their weapons to Russians.

Historians agree that Doenitz had clearly read the reality of the situation that the defeat was inevitable and the only choice they had left was to choose between Allies and Russians to lay their weapons to. In his order to his commanders, Doenitz justified his decision by citing that he was taking this step to save as many lives as possible for Germany, The Telegraph reports.

Goring, the head of the Luftwaffe was arrested on May 8 in Austria, he famously told his American captors that ‘I am the head of Luftwaffe, but I have no Luftwaffe’. The only surviving version of the surrender order by Doenitz was found in his pocket. Later on he bit on a cyanide pill before he could be hanged.

Ian Harvey

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