He would surrender only to the West, he said, and not to the Russians. Eisenhower blew up. Thus far, the invasion of Germany was costing unexpectedly high American casualties. Men were still dying, and Eisenhower wanted the bloodshed stopped. With that, the supreme commander, who had been pacing impatiently in his office waiting for the war to end, went home to his chateau. The German asked if he might be left alone to meditate. If not, the Allied fronts will be closed to persons seeking to surrender individually, and negotiations will be broken off.
I see no alternative—chaos or signature. It was blackmail. Still, a twohour discussion ensued at Flensburg. In the school at Reims there was a large room where, before the war, French boys played Ping-Pong and chess and took their final examinations. Eisenhower had made this area his war room. Here he held daily staff conferences. The room was an undistinguished site for an epic event in history, but Ike had nevertheless chosen it for the pending surrender signing. He wanted to get the matter over as quickly and with as little fuss as possible. When the fighting in Europe ended, there was still a war to be fought against Japan.
The pale blue walls of the war room were papered over with maps, reports of troop dispositions, casualty lists, locations of stores, and charts depicting railroad and communication networks. A huge graph, shaped like a thermometer, showed the rising numbers of German prisoners pouring into Allied hands.
An old, cracked table, twenty by eight feet, stood at one end of the room.
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At this table the Act of Military Surrender was to be signed. Seventeen war correspondents and photographers, chosen as the press pool to cover the event, milled around the war room. A signing had first been announced for P. The reporters spent this time griping about another Elsenhower decision. News of the surrender was to be embargoed for forty-eight hours.
Eisenhower wanted the press blackout so that a second ceremony could be held in Berlin on May 8 to satisfy the Russians. The end of the war would then be announced simultaneously by the Allied heads of state in Washington, London, and Moscow to take effect at one minute past midnight on May 9. Ivan Sousloparov.
Ike had also transmitted an advance text of the Act of Military Surrender to Moscow. But as the hour for the signing drew near, no response had yet been received from the Russians. With no word yet from Doenitz, Dwight Elsenhower had gone to bed. But soon after midnight on May 7, his telephone rang. His staff secretary was on the line saying that word had just been received from Flensburg. Doenitz was ready to sign. Harry C. Butcher, a former CBS official, advised Ike on public relations matters. Butcher had been given two pens, one solid gold, the other gold-plated.
Parker had asked Eisenhower if he would use these pens for the Nazi surrender. Eisenhower planned to send the gold-plated pen back to Parker and give the solid gold pen to President Truman. As Butcher entered the school, the press pool was alerted that the surrender would take place momentarily.
The war room, cluttered with cameras and banks of klieg lights, its floor treacherous with cables, now resembled a movie set. The photographers moved the table to give themselves better camera angles. At A. They took their places around three sides of the old examination table, seated on cheap white chairs commandeered from the German army. Before each place was a name card, a pad, and a pencil. In the middle of the table was a large, black, double pen holder and a microphone for recording the historic moment. Silence settled over the war room. Six minutes passed. General Strong appeared in the doorway.
Friedrich Wilhelm Oxenius, and Admiral Friedeburg. The three Germans marched up to the table, stood at attention, clicked their heels, and bowed. No salutes were exchanged. General Smith wordlessly gestured the Germans to the three empty chairs opposite him. They sat facing a huge map showing the almost completed subjugation of their homeland.
The surrender document, he informed Jodl, was before him. The Act of Military Surrender was starkly simple, five short paragraphs, four of them consisting of one sentence each. General Strong, standing behind Jodl, read the surrender in German, seemingly for the benefit of the enemy, but actually for the cameras. Smith next asked Jodl if he was ready to sign.
Jodl gave a brief nod. Jodl picked up the gold-plated pen that Captain Butcher had set in front of him. He signed Jodl in bold letters. Butcher immediately retrieved the pen.
Hidden in the Enemy's Sight (Resisting the Third Reich from Within)
Jodl also had to sign a supplementary document. Butcher handed him his own Schaeffer pen. Next to sign was the Soviet representative, General Sousloparov, and, lastly, Gen. General Smith had signed both for the United States and Britain in his capacity as representative of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, which commanded all Western Allied military forces. Thus no British signature appeared on the surrender document of an enemy that the British had fought for nearly six years.
General Jodl rose, his face drawn. He switched to German. Eisenhower stood erect and unsmiling. He wore his service dress uniform. Jodl saluted him. Eisenhower did not return the salute. If the victor of Europe felt any profound emotion at this moment, he concealed it utterly. He asked Jodl in a toneless voice if he understood the provisions of the surrender. Strong translated.
Jodl answered yes.
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You will get details of instructions at a later date. You will be expected to carry them out faithfully. That is all. As soon as he was gone, Elsenhower broke out in the famous ear-to-ear grin. At eight-thirty that morning, an alarming message arrived from Moscow. No one in the presumably atheistic Communist regime had been available over that Russian Orthodox Easter weekend to approve the surrender document.
Consequently, the Soviet response had not arrived in Reims until six hours after the signing had taken place. The note was blistering. Sousloparov was instructed not to sign the instrument of surrender. Reichskristallnacht: Night of the Broken Glass Goebbels Orchestrates a Pogrom By , the Nazis had deprived Jews of the rights of citizenship and were ratcheting up measures to expropriate their assets.
The horrific consequences have names etched in our consciousness: the Night of Broken Glass and the Holocaust. The book is divided into four units, each with three chapters, representing distinct historical periods. A concluding chapter presents a panorama of events during World War II. The suppression could be brutal: those caught with arms, including Red Cross nurses in one instance, were executed on the spot. The law required licenses for the acquisition and carrying of firearms, giving the authorities discretion to deny licenses based on purported lack of need or disqualification based on a subjective determination of dangerousness.
The law failed to end the extremist violence. In secret documents that were discovered by the authorities, future Gestapo legal adviser Werner Best proposed a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and those refusing to surrender their guns would be executed. The Interior Minister warned that the registration records must not fall into the hands of any extremist group.
Yet they could have anticipated by then that the Nazis, the leading extremist group, could take power. Part II describes how the Nazis seized and consolidated power. Social Democrats were automatically disqualified. This was yet another step to nip in the bud resistance to National Socialism. The result was that persons in such categories could be disarmed, deprived of civil rights, and thrown into concentration camps. Part III focuses on the five years of repression that followed.
During this time Nazi leaders leisurely conferred on amendments to the Weimar firearms law, which could be revised as society was cleansed by National Socialism. The Night of the Long Knives verified that Hitler could murder any opponent. The Gestapo banned independent gun clubs, arresting their leaders who failed to surrender their offices to Nazis. Gestapo counsel Werner Best issued a directive to police authorities throughout Germany forbidding issuance of firearm permits to Jews.
In , Hitler signed a new firearm law which exempted Nazi Party members from some restrictions. For the first time, it prohibited Jews from the firearms industry and banned ordinary. The annexation of Austria had occurred just in time to apply the law there. Weeks before the November pogrom, police ordered Jews to surrender their firearms and other weapons. Jews who turned in their registered arms at police stations were still turned over to the Gestapo.
The registration records revealed those who failed to comply. This represents substantial evidence, albeit ignored by historians, that a major action against the Jewish population was already planned, as disarming them would minimize the risk of resistance. An incident was needed to unleash the pogrom. This massive search and seizure operation, allegedly for weapons, entailed the ransacking of homes and businesses, and the arson of synagogues. SS chief Heinrich Himmler decreed twenty years in a concentration camp for possession of a firearm by a Jew.
Diaries and other eyewitness accounts record how the Jewish victims themselves, including gun owners as well as those not remotely connected to gun ownership, described the onslaught. Rusty revolvers and bayonets from the Great War were confiscated from Jewish veterans who had served with distinction. Valuables were stolen in house searches allegedly for guns. The Night of Broken Glass has rightly been described as the prelude to the Holocaust.
Jews about to be deported to death camps were searched one last time for weapons. Why was there no armed partisan movement in Germany, and why was resistance limited to small groups like the White Rose students and the military conspirators who were unsuccessful in killing Hitler? In the occupied countries, the Nazis decreed the death penalty for possession of a firearm, but there were instances of heroic armed resistance by Jews, particularly the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
Despite the significance of the perceived necessity by the Nazis ruthlessly to disarm political enemies and Jews, historians have failed to address this critical subject.
Everyone, including advocates of gun controls, should find this pioneering and thought-provoking book essential reading. Jacobs , Warren E. In Germany the authorities tried to deal with the Nazi and Communist mobs that were shaking society's foundations indirectly, by disarming ordinary people. As Halbrook shows, Nazi leaders went to great lengths to extend the gun control laws they inherited from the Weimar Republic.
They were obsessed with disarming Jews and other designated public enemies. Potential resistance was not only physically disabled. It was morally and psychologically disarmed. Evil then became irresistible in Germany, not because it was fueled by fanaticism but because shielded by fatalism. Halbrook admirably supports his densely woven book with legal, archival, and biographical information to describe how the Nazis exploited the vagaries of differing regulations; unrelenting street violence between political militias and veteran groups; the injustice of rampant anti-Semitism; and draconian punishments to disarm the population.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Stephen Halbrook's excellent and deeply researched book, Gun Control in the Third Reich , has revealed the anticipation of Nazi gun control techniques in Weimar attempts to control incipient civil war between Nazis and Communists. In a conservative country replete with WWI veterans, racked with unemployment and wrecked with ideological struggles among the extreme Left, the list of potential victims proliferated among whom unarmed Jews had top priority. They had been quickly disarmed by the Nazis using Weimar laws.
Only armed peasants and urban refugees in the mountains and forests in the perimeters of the Reich could resist the Nazi juggernaut until saved by Allied armies. History does indeed provide important lessons for contemporary debates and Halbrook's important research should inform our contemporary debate on gun control.
Rarely, however, do they run to more than pages, plus bibliography. Oh no, you think. I reached out to some of these academics to see if they were as worried about the parallels between Nazi Germany and contemporary gun control debates as these blurbs suggested. It is a history with poignancy. With gun controllers in our midst today, who either do not understand the Second Amendment or choose to redefine it for their own ends, it would serve them well to read and digest the powerful arguments in this pathbreaking book.
It provides a timely reminder that self defense and the right to bear arms are fundamental human rights. Many no doubt would like to believe that Nazi Germany is sui generis , which, paradoxically, implies that there is not much to be learned from its specific history or policies with regard to our own dilemmas today. Others are less optimistic, and for them Halbrook's well-told narrative has implications for our contemporary debates.
Levinson , W.
Hidden in the Enemy's Sight: Resisting the Third Reich from Within by Jan Kamienski
John Garwood and W. John Garwood, Jr. Stephen Halbrook, a well-known advocate for gun rights, traces the bone-chilling path taken starting in the Weimar Republic until the beginning of World War II in his masterpiece Gun Control in the Third Reich. Halbrook is careful making any parallels to gun registration in the U. He merely shows what can happen, not what will happen. It shows both the futility and the danger of gun registration, but also why an armed people is a people that stays alive.
Halbrook gives a decisive historical answer to a question which has generally been discussed without much evidence in the political discourse of recent years. Now there is no doubt: Halbrook shows that the Nazis relied on gun control to carry out its totalitarian program. Indeed, by means of painstaking historical research, he shows that the weapon confiscations and punishments of the Third Reich relied very much on the earlier registration measures of the democratic Weimar Republic. This pioneering book tells an essential story that is central to the history of the modern Leviathan state.
Highly recommended! Stephen Halbrook's extensive research and clear explication in his book Gun Control in the Third Reich ensures that future discussion will be much better informed.
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A must-read for anyone interested in this subject. The result is Gun Control in the Third Reich , a fascinating, readable, informative and important book. Supreme Court. Protecting them to death, as it turned out. Congressman and candidate for President of the United States.
Stephen P. Much of the discussion these days regarding registration focuses on the claimed ability to trace crime guns. Among the many chilling discussions is how German Jews were systematically disarmed just weeks before the Night of the Broken Glass Reichskristallnacht. Ultimately, however, just as Americans have recently learned about their IRS tax records, Halbrook shows that no one can really guarantee promises that information on gun registration will never be abused. Lott, Jr. Expedited shipping is also available. Unlike Amazon and other retailers who may also offer Hidden in the Enemy's Sight Resisting the Third Reich from Within books on their website, we specialize in large quantities and provide personal service, from trusted, experienced, friendly people in Portland, Oregon.
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