04 May, 2012

04 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
4 May, 1945      0840
Germany

My dearest darling Wilma –

It seems as if almost any hour or certainly any day – this thing ought to fold up. Actually – for most of us – I don’t believe the actual announcement will affect us very much. It will be sort of anticlimactic. We got our thrill – our realization that the Germans were whipped as we raced thru central Germany. The rest is a formality. I suppose we’ll be allowed to discard our helmets temporarily and wear our light helmet liners. Other than that I don’t see much change. The men will certainly go on carrying their weapons – for this is after all – Germany. I think this battalion will go on caring for allied ex-prisoners of war – but for how long, dear – your guess right now is as good as mine. Still that’s not as bad as some other outfits who have already been broken up into M.P. units and have the job of policing various cities; a good many others are doing Military Government work, and I may have told you we lost 3 officers to M.G. already. That’s why I say, darling, that news of V.E. day will be anticlimactic. To all intents and purposes – the Army is already acting as if it were over.

And then what? If I only knew. No one does though, dear, so I, we – have a lot of company. So far it seems as if I’m destined to remain with the 438th – come hell or high water. It’s too late to change now – and I doubt the Army Surgeon is doing any changing anyway. The big trouble, dear, is that so many doctors are and have been in the same boat as I. Well – as usual, I’ll wait. If nothing else – the Army makes good waiters out of men – although sometimes I feel as if I were going to explode – from waiting.

Here – the work continues and I’m learning a little Russian. They’re a tough people and damned hard to handle – from an administrative point of view. They just won’t be disciplined and they run wild all over this place – and this camp is going to be all-Russian. They get hold of liquor somewhere or other – and the first thing they do after drinking it – is to start a brawl. Someone always gets beat up badly.

I got mail yesterday, sweetheart, one from you of the 21st, one from Barbara Tucker and one from Dad A. The latter’s letter referred to his visit to Sgt. Freeman. You had mentioned it in your letter of the day before. I kind of wished he hadn’t gone – but apparently the reaction was all right. He was bandaged and that helped a lot. Also – he must have told a pretty good story – because my father said that he was much relieved after hearing of our experiences from Freeman. I owe him a debt of thanks for that.

Your letter, darling, referred to your receiving those books on the Olympics. I liked them also because I recognized so many names and faces; also – I don’t think any outfit in the U.S. has done so good a job in recording the events. There are still lots of packages – it seems to me – you’ve never mentioned receiving – although you may have mentioned it in some of your letters which I haven’t as yet received. But I can’t think of anything especially valuable – so I’m not worried particularly – although now that I think of it – there are a couple of things I would like to reach you.

Today I’ve got to do a little running around seeing that shots are given to our own personnel. We’re spread out so now that it’s quite a job. These days – when the day is over, I really feel tired out – which is a change. But the activity does help the day go by more swiftly – and that’s all I ask until once again I’m with you – sweetheart. Then I’ll want each day to be interminable – so I can tell you over and over how much I love you – and in addition to telling you – show you. Sit tight, sweetheart – it can’t be too long.

All for now, dear, except love to the folks – and remember – I’m

Yours always –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Germany Surrenders Holland and Denmark

From Charles Anesi's blog comes this:
BEFORE the might of Allied arms, vaunted Festung Europa, Fortress Europe, crumbled into final ruin in the spring of 1945 and its Nazi masters died ignominiously or slunk into hiding like the criminals they are, leaving substitute fuehrers to yield in unconditional surrender. Thus the Nazi revolution against the morals of modern civilization came to an end. It came so close to succeeding, however, that the testimony of its failure, the surrender documents signed at Liineburg, Reims, and Berlin, will remain forever among the most significant records of our times.

Squirming under the heels of the victorious Allied Expeditionary Force and the conquering Red Army, the Germans, in the vain hope of obtaining a softer peace, sought to surrender only to the AEF. At Liineburg, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery sternly rejected the bid for a surrender of the German armies in Holland, northwest Germany, and Denmark to the AEF alone. Trapped, General Admiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg, who had become head of the German Navy when Grand Admiral Karl Donitz succeeded Hitler as Reichspresident, consequently yielded those armies to all the Allies when he surrendered to Montgomery on Liineburg Heath on May 4, 1945, three days before the general surrender at Reims. Kinzel, G. Wagner, Poleck, and Friedel also signed this document.
Friedeburg Signs the Surrender, Montgomery Watches

The surrender document (typed below for easier reading)

The surrender document typed for easier reading

Instrument of Surrender
of
All German armed forces in HOLLAND, in
northwest Germany including all islands,
and in Denmark.
  1. The German Command agrees to the surrender of all German armed forces in HOLLAND, in northweast GERMANY including the FRISLAN ISLANDS and HELIGOLAND and all other islands, in SCHLESWIGHOLSTEIN, and in DENMARK, to the C.-in-C. 21 Army Group. This is to include all naval ships in these areas. These forces to lay down their arms and to surrender unconditionally.

  2. All hostilities on land, on sea, or in the air by German forces in the above areas to cease at 0800 hrs. British Double Summer Time on Saturday 5 May 1945.

  3. The German command to carry out at once, and without argument or comment, all further orders that will be issued by the Allied Powers on any subject.

  4. Disobedience of orders, or failure to comply with them, will be regarded as a breach of these surrender terms and will be dealt with by the Allied Powers in accordance with the accepted laws and usages of war.

  5. This instrument of surrender is independent of, without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by or on behalf of the Allied Powers applicable to Germany and the German armed forces as a whole.

  6. This instrument of surrender is written in English and in German.  The English version is the authentic text.

  7. The decision of the Allied Powers will be final if any doubt or dispute arises as to the meaning or interpretation of the surrender terms.
Source: Germany Surrenders Unconditionally
(Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1945)

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