“THE WESTERN WORLD HAS BEEN FREED OF EVIL FORCES”: TRUMAN’S PROCLAMATION AT NAZI GERMANY’S SURRENDER, BOLDLY SIGNED BY HIM
TRUMAN, Harry. A Proclamation. Washington, D.C., May 8, 1945. Large official broadside (11 by 16 inches). $25,000.
Large elaborate signed three-color broadside of President Truman’s proclamation upon the Nazi surrender to the allied forces, praising the armed forces and designating a day of prayer to offer “joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won and to pray that He will… guide us into the ways of peace.” Handsomely set in Gothic type and boldly signed in ink “Harry Truman.”
“On the day before Hitler’s suicide, all German troops in Italy laid down their arms. On May 4th, German forces in Holland, Denmark and northwest Germany surrendered to British Field Marshall Montgomery. On the 6th, Donitz authorized General Alfred Jodl to ‘conclude an armistice agreement’ with General Eisenhower. The Germans wanted a separate peace with the allied troops in the West in order to continue their battle with the Russians in the East. Eisenhower would have none of it. He ordered the Germans to surrender unconditionally the next day. The Germans acquiesced, signing the surrender document on May 7th… The cessation of fighting took effect at 11:01 P.M. on May 8th” (Georges Blond). In this triumphal proclamation President Truman gives special praise to the armed forces: “The Allied armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God’s help, have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. They have violated their churches, destroyed their homes, corrupted their children, and murdered their loved ones. Our Armies of Liberation have restored freedom to these suffering peoples, whose spirit and will the oppressors could never enslave.” Truman read this proclamation at a news conference held in his office at the White House on Tuesday, May 8, 1945. Before reading, he remarked: “This is a solemn but glorious hour. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly all over Europe.” Set handsomely in two columns of Gothic type, with large gilt initial letter and red and blue paragraph letters, this elegant broadside commemorates one of history’s greatest military victories. Without lozenge bearing the seal; with scarce red, white and blue ribbon used to tie the document when rolled.