In early May, 1945, after conflict of almost unimaginable proportions, the ground forces of Germany which were still fighting had been pushed back into the boundaries of Germany; the resistance of its army, navy and air forces was collapsing. The armies of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and France were in actual occupation of practically all of Germany. The German government composed of Hitler and his cabinet had come to an end by the death, capture or flight of its members. Under Hitler's "political testament," however, Admiral Doenitz was recognized as Hitler's successor by German leaders still in the field. No one claiming to represent the people or government of Germany asserted a conflicting claim to authority. Admiral Doenitz gave Generals Jodl and Keitel powers of attorney to sign surrender instruments. Two such instruments were signed, one on May 7 at Rheims, the other May 8 at Berlin. Both instruments were signed on behalf of the German High Command and constituted formal documents of unconditional surrender terminating combat. Each instrument stated that it was without prejudice to and was to be superseded by a general instrument of surrender imposed by or on behalf of the United Nations and· applicable to Germany and the German Armed Forces. On May 23, Doenitz and his associates were arrested and his "government" also came to an end. After that date no German government existed either de facto or de jure. On June 5, 1945 the Commanding Generals of the armies of the United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, issued several documents, including the Berlin Declaration. This declaration announced the unconditional surrender of all German Armed Forces and declared that Germany had become subject to such requirements as might then or thereafter be imposed.
LEGAL PROBLEMS OF GERMAN OCCUPATION,
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