Due rese is mei che uan

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Forse qualcuno si sarà incuriosito dello "spread" dei festeggiamenti legati alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale. Abbiamo 3 date, coincidenti con tre avvenimenti separati:

  1. In Italia non si festeggia la fine della WW2, probabilmente perché la resa delle forze tedesche in Italia, datata 29 aprile, e pienamente effettiva dal 2 maggio (dopo il suicidio di Hitler) avrebbe "offuscato" la ricorrenza del 25 aprile, data della insurrezione del nord Italia e assunta come data della "Liberazione"

  2. Nei paesi anglosassoni si festeggia VE = Victory in Europe il giorno 8 maggio, che ricorda la resa incondizionata firmata a Reims il 7 maggio 1945, ed entrata in vigore alle 23 e 1 minuto del 8 maggio.

  3. In Russia e nei paesi ex sovietici la data di riferimento è il 9 maggio, data di una seconda firma della resa a Berlino.

Due firme per una resa incondizionata, una situazione piuttosto curiosa, ma spiegabilissima con l'ansia di protagonismo del "baffone" Iosif Stalin.

L'Ammiraglio Dönitz, capo provvisorio dello Stato tedesco, come incaricato testamentario di Hitler, aveva trattato la resa con gli alleati cercando di cessare il fuoco ad Ovest, e continuare i combattimenti ad Est, in modo da permettere a quanti più tedeschi di non entrare nelle grinfie dei sovietici.

Non era una strategia accettabile, e i tedeschi vennero indotti alla resa incondizionata immediata. Le trattative erano in corso al Quarter Generale dello SHAEF a Reims. Vennero chiamati d'urgenza un plenipotenziario del Reich (Generale Jodl) e al generale sovietico delegato (Sousloparov), venne affiancato un Colonnello della Armata Rossa incaricato da Stalin. C'era l'accordo per la firma.

Per Stalin la resa non era stata abbastanza spettacolare, e richiese una seconda firma a Berlino, con i sovietici "padroni di casa", adducendo come pretesto che Sousloparov non aveva "poteri di firma".

Per questo l'armistizio di Reims venne ufficialmente "ratificato" a Berlino due giorni dopo, ma con effetti retrodatati alle 24 del 8 maggio (23 inglesi). Per i Tedeschi firmò il Maresciallo Keitel (detto Lakaitel, da lakai = lacchè, per il suo servilismo verso Hitler), per i Sovietici il Maresciallo Zhukov e per gli alleati il Generale inglese Tedder, vice di Ike.

Vi propongo la rilettura di estratto dei capitoli 21 e 22 delle memorie di Eisenhower ("Crusade in Europe"). Notare come, da subito, i sovietici considerassero Berlino "cosa loro".

On May 5 a representative of Doenitz arrived in my headquarters. We had received notice of his coming the day before. At the same time we were informed that the German Government had ordered all of its U-boats to return to port. I at once passed all this information to the Russian high command and asked them to designate a Red Army officer to come to my headquarters as the Russian representative in any negotiations that Doenitz might propose. I informed them that I would accept no surrender that did not involve simultaneous capitulation everywhere. The Russian high command designated Major General Ivan Suslaparov.

Field Marshal von Kesselring, commanding the German forces on the western front, also sent me a message, asking permission to send a plenipotentiary to arrange terms of capitulation. Since Von Kesselring had authority only in the West, I replied that I would enter into no negotiations that did not involve all German forces everywhere.

When Admiral Friedeburg arrived at Reims on May 5 he stated that he wished to clear up a number of points. On our side negotiations were conducted by my chief of staff, General Smith. The latter told Friedeburg there was no point in discussing anything, that our purpose was merely to accept an unconditional and total surrender. Friedeburg protested that he had no power to sign any such document. He was given permission to transmit a message to Doenitz, and received a reply that General Jodl was on his way to our headquarters to assist him in negotiations.

To us it seemed clear that the Germans were playing for time so that they could transfer behind our lines the largest possible number of German soldiers still in the field. I told General Smith to inform Jodl that unless they instantly ceased all pretense and delay I would close the entire Allied front and would, by force, prevent any more German refugees from entering our lines. I would brook no further delay in the matter.

Finally Jodl and Friedeburg drafted a cable to Doenitz requesting authority to make a complete surrender, to become effective forty-eight hours after signing. Had I agreed to this procedure the Germans could have found one excuse or another for postponing the signature and so securing additional delay. Through Smith, I informed them that the surrender would become effective forty-eight hours from midnight of that day; otherwise my threat to seal the western front would be carried out at once.

Doenitz at last saw the inevitability of compliance and the surrender instrument was signed by Jodl at two forty-one in the morning of May 7. All hostilities were to cease at midnight May 8.37

After the necessary papers had been signed by Field Marshal Jodl and General Smith, with the French and Russian representatives signing as witnesses, Field Marshal Jodl was brought to my office. I asked him through the interpreter if he thoroughly understood all provisions of the document he had signed. He answered, “Ja.” I said, “You will, officially and personally, be held responsible if the terms of this surrender are violated, including its provisions for German commanders to appear in Berlin at the moment set by the Russian high command to accomplish formal surrender to that government. That is all.” He saluted and left.

Under the terms of the surrender document the heads of the German armed services were required to appear in Berlin on May 9 to sign a ratification in the Russian headquarters. The second ceremony was, as we understood it, to symbolize the unity of the Western Allies and the Soviets, to give notice to the Germans and to the world that the surrender was made to all, not merely to the Western Allies. For this reason we were directed to withhold news of the first signing until the second could be accomplished.

In order that American and British newsmen could have the full story of the Reims surrender, we invited a number to be present at the ceremony. In accepting the invitation they agreed to withhold publication until the story could be officially given out under the agreements among the Allies. One American reporter published the story before the release hour, which infuriated other newsmen who kept faith. The incident created a considerable furor, but in the outcome no real harm was done, except to other publications.

The Western Allies were invited and expected to participate in the signing at Berlin, but I felt it inappropriate for me personally to go. The Germans had already appeared in the Allied Headquarters to accomplish their unconditional surrender and I thought the ratification in Berlin should be a Soviet affair. Consequently I designated my deputy, Air Chief Marshal Tedder, to represent me at that ceremony.

It was difficult business to make all the detailed arrangements concerning timing, the numbers and classifications of individuals allowed to attend, and the routes to be followed by our planes over Russian-occupied territory. However, these were accomplished and Tedder kept the appointment, accompanied by two or three planeloads of officers, enlisted men, Wacs, and press representatives.3 Some months later I saw in Moscow a movie film portraying the highlights of the Berlin ceremony. No mention was made in the film of the prior surrender at Reims.