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By United States. Central Intelligence Agency

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For the British view, see Field Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Normandy to the Baltic (1947). Two worthwhile volumes which explore the Supreme Commander’s decision-making processes are Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s Six Great Decisions (1956), and Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945—The Decision to Halt at the Elbe (1967). CMH Pub 72–36 Cover: Loaded with troops, assault boats cross the Rhine at St. Goar, Germany.

On the 21 Army Group’s left, one corps of the First Canadian Army reached the North Sea near the Dutch-German border on 16 April, while another drove through the central Netherlands, trapping the German forces remaining in that country. However, concerned that 33 the bypassed Germans would flood much of the nation and cause complete famine among a Dutch population already near starvation, Eisenhower approved an agreement with the local enemy commanders to allow the Allies to air-drop food into the country in return for a local cease-fire on the battlefield.

By the end of April the Third Reich’s twilight was turning to night. Its armies in tatters, Germany retained only a small fraction of the territory it had conquered a few years before. Of the land still under Nazi control almost none was actually in Germany. With his escape route to the south severed by the 12th Army Group’s eastward drive and Berlin surrounded by the Soviets, Adolf Hitler committed suicide on 30 April, leaving to his successor, Admiral Karl Doenitz, the task of capitulation. After attempting to strike a deal whereby he would surrender only to the western Allies—a proposal which was summarily rejected—on 7 May Doenitz granted his representative, General Alfred Jodl, permission to effect a complete surrender on all fronts.

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Central Europe by United States. Central Intelligence Agency

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