On this day Germany signed an unconditional surrender to the Allies, thus ending World War II. The signing was done in the French city of Reims (the traditional coronation site of French kings). Colonel-General Alfred Jodl, as Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht – OKW), signed the surrender of Germany. Jodl was also the representative of the new German President Admiral Karl Donitz (Hitler appointed Dönitz the new President of the German Reich in his will).
The surrender agreement was to take effect the following day, 8 May, so that day is considered as the date of the end of World War II in Europe. The Allies deliberately wanted the surrender of Germany to be signed by a representative of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (OKW) and not the German civilian government. Namely, in the World War I the German surrender was signed by civilians, and later the German Army claimed that it had been “stabbed in the back.” In World War II, the OKW signed the surrender, so no one could argue that the German Army had been cheated.