To mark the 60th Anniversary of V-E Day, I’ve put together a BitTorrent file containing all ten of the historical documents dated March 1941 through September 1945 in National Archives & Records Administration’s “100 Milestone Documents” Collection. The torrent includes a PDF of the Surrender of Germany, signed on behalf of Germany by Gen. Alfred Rodl, specifying that German forces will cease operations at 2301 hours Central European time on May 8, 1945.
18 MB (10 historical documents, 16 PDFs total)
- The Lend-Lease Act, 1941
- Prohibition of Discrimination in Defense Industry, 1941
- FDR’s Address to Congress on 12/8/1941 (“Day of Infamy” Speech)
- Japanese Relocation Order, 1942
- Page from Manhattan Project Notebook, 1942
- Gen. Eisenhower’s Order of the Day for 6/6/1944
- GI Bill, 1944
- Surrender of Germany, 5/8/1945
- UN Charter, 1945
- Surrender of Japan, 1945
Source: NARA’s “100 Milestone Documents” Collection
Background history on the Surrender of Germany from the National Archives:
This instrument of surrender was signed on May 7, 1945, at Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters in Rheims by Gen. Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff of the German Army. At the same time, he signed three other surrender documents, one each for Great Britain, Russia, and France.
The unconditional surrender of the German Third Reich was signed in the early morning hours of Monday, May 7, 1945 at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) at Reims in northeastern France. Present were representatives of the four Allied Powers—France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States—and the three Germany officers delegated by German President Karl Doenitz—Gen. Alfred Jodl, who had alone been authorized to sign the surrender document; Maj. Wilhelm Oxenius, an aide to Jodl; and Adm. Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, one of the German chief negotiators. Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, SHAEF chief of staff, led the Allied delegation as the representative of General Eisenhower, who had refused to meet with the Germans until the surrender had been accomplished. Other American officers present were Maj. Gen. Harold R. Bull and Gen. Carl Spaatz.
After the signing of the Reims accord, Soviet chief of staff Gen. Alexei Antonov expressed concern to SHAEF that the continued fighting in the east between Germany and the Soviet Union made the Reims surrender look like a separate peace. The Soviet command wanted the Act of Military Surrender, with certain additions and alternations, to be signed at Berlin. To the Soviets, the documents signed at Berlin on May 8, 1945, represented the official, legal surrender of the Third Reich. The Berlin document had few significant changes from the one signed a day earlier at Reims.
For more information, see Milestone Documents in the National Archives, “Germany Surrenders” (Washington: National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1989), pp. 5–6, 8–9.
Please note: the purpose of including all ten of the “100 Milestone Documents” dated from March 1941 (the Lend-Lease Act) through the September 1945 (Surrender of Japan) was to avoid making political judgments about the documents, so please do not misconstrue the inclusion of a controversial document like the Japanese Relocation Order as an endorsement of that policy, or any other form of commentary.