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To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower
May 7, 1945 Radio No. W-78438. Washington, D.C.
Personal for Eisenhower from Marshall.
You have completed your mission with the greatest victory in the history of warfare.1
You have commanded with outstanding success the most powerful military force that has ever been assembled.
You have met and successfully disposed of every conceivable difficulty incident to varied national interests and international political problems of unprecedented complications.
You have triumphed over inconceivable logistical problems and military obstacles and you have played a major role in the complete destruction of German military power.
Through all of this, since the day of your arrival in England three years ago, you have been selfless in your actions, always sound and tolerant in your judgments and altogether admirable in the courage and wisdom of your military decisions.
You have made history, great history for the good of all mankind and you have stood for all we hope for and admire in an officer of the United States Army. These are my tributes and my personal thanks.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. “The mission of this Allied force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945,” Eisenhower notified the Combined Chiefs of Staff and British Chiefs of Staff from S.H.A.E.F. headquarters in Reims. (Papers of DDE, 4: 2696.) At that time General Alfred Jodl signed the document of unconditional surrender of the German armed forces. Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith signed the document on behalf of Eisenhower (Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force); Major General Ivan Susloparoff signed on behalf of the Soviet high command, and Major General François Sevez of the French Army signed as witness. (For a more detailed account of the surrender proceedings at Reims, see Pogue, Supreme Command, pp. 485–90.) After signing the surrender, General Jodl was taken to General Eisenhower’s office, where Jodl affirmed that he understood all provisions of the document. (Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe [Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, 1948], p. 426.) For Smith’s account of the surrender, see Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s Six Great Decisions [New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1956], pp. 203–6.)
2. “I truly thank you for your message,” Eisenhower replied on May 8. Meanwhile, he had prepared a message to Marshall, but dispatched it as originally drafted. “Since the day I first went to England, indeed since I first reported to you in the War Department,” Eisenhower revealed, “the strongest weapon that I have always had in my hand was a confident feeling that you trusted my judgment, believed in the objectivity of my approach to any problem and were ready to sustain to the full limit of your resources and your tremendous moral support, anything that we found necessary to undertake to accomplish the defeat of the enemy.” Eisenhower further disclosed: “This has had a tremendous effect on my staffs and principal subordinate commanders. Their conviction that you had basic faith in this headquarters and would invariably resist interference from any outside sources, has done far more to strengthen my personal position throughout the war than is realized even by those people who were affected by this circumstance. . . . Our army and people have never been so deeply indebted to any other soldier.” (Papers of DDE, 6: 14.)
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981– ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945–January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 168–169.