Outside in the corridor, someone was approaching. The door opened and General Strong stepped in. “General, we’re ready to begin,” he said.
Jodl nodded. He reached into his jacket’s inner pocket and took out
something which he then fixed into his eye. A monocle! Jodl now
looked like a Prussian played by Erich von Stroheim. What was he
thinking? Did he somehow consider it vital that Germany be
represented in her darkest hour by a walking caricature? Perhaps he
was angling for a post-war career in Hollywood. From what Ziggy had
heard, plenty of German and Austrian Jewish refugees had found
lucrative careers playing Nazis in films. Jodl was the real thing.
Why shouldn’t he get some of it?
"Ready?” asked Jodl. Seeing everyone nod, he said to them: “Gentlemen, this
is a black day for Germany, but I promise you, we will survive!”
I wonder if Eisenhower will be there,” von Friedeburg mumbled aloud
They were brought into a crowded, map-filled room, at the far end of
which, under the glaring light from a bank of movie-studio
floodlights, was a large rectangular table. Sitting there facing them
were nearly a dozen British, American, and Russian generals with
Bedell Smith at the center. Ziggy examined the faces of the other
Allied generals, but none of them looked anything like Eisenhower. On
the other hand, he noticed Suslaparov glaring at him, this time not
as though they were best friends.
They took chairs on the near side of the table. Bedell Smith gestured to
an aide, who brought Jodl a document. Scowling, Jodl examined it
perfunctorily and then scribbled his signature onto it before passing
it to von Friedeburg, who did the same. The document then went to
Bedell Smith, then to a British general, a French general, an
American, and then Suslaparov, all of whom added their signatures to
it. Then another copy of the surrender made the rounds, followed by
another and another and another.
When all the copies had been signed, Jodl raised his hand. “General, I
would like to say a word,” he said.
"Yes, of course,” said Bedell Smith, sounding nicer than he had in any of
their previous encounters.
Jodl stood up and began addressing everyone in the room. “General, with
this signature the German people and the German armed forces are, for
better or worse, delivered into the victor’s hands. In this war,
which has lasted more than five years, both have achieved and
suffered perhaps more than any other people in the world. In this
hour I can only express the hope that the victor will treat them with
Then they were marched out. The war was over.
(Excerpt from Germania, Simon & Schuster, 2008, Kindle version available here).