Skip to comments.French Sign Reich Truce, Rome Pact Next; British Bomb Krupp Works; House Passes 2-Ocean Navy Bill
Posted on 06/22/2002 7:13:06 PM PDT by swarthyguy
Nazi Terms Signed
But Hostilities Persist as French Fly to Get Italy's Demands
Huntziger Voices View at Close of 27-Hour Compiegne Parley
Nazi Truce Signed; Italy's Pact Next
By GUIDO ENDERIS Wireless to The New York Times
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Berlin, June 22--The armistice treaty between Germany and France was signed today in the forest of Compiègne at 6:50 P.M. German Summer time [12:50 P.M. New York time]. Col. Gen. Wilhelm Keitel, Chancellor Hitler's plenipotentiary, signed for Germany and General Charles Huntziger for France.
Its contents will not be made public for the present, but it is announced that the agreement does not provide for immediate cessation of hostilities. The fighting is to end six hours after the Italian Government has notified the German High Command of the signing of an armistice treaty between Italy and France.
As the latter is now believed to be a mere formality, already agreed upon by the leaders of the Axis Powers in their discussion in Munich last Tuesday, its conclusion is expected within the next forty-eight hours. The French delegation that conferred at Compiègne also will negotiate with Italy. Such procedure, it is predicted, will end the war on the Continent early in the coming week.
Scene in Car Dramatic
The French delegation returned to Compiègne from Paris at 10 A.M. and continued its deliberations throughout the day, during which it was in constant communication with the Bordeaux government. To expedite contacts, German military authorities installed a direct telephone wire connecting the armistice car with Bordeaux.
The German radio broadcast announcing the signing of the treaty closed with the words, "We thank our Fuehrer." There was a dramatic scene in the armistice car at Compiègne before the formalities were completed. General Huntziger, in a choked voice, announced that his government had ordered him to sign.
"Before carrying out my government's order," he said, "the French delegation deems it necessary to declare that in a moment when France is compelled by fate of arms to give up the fight, she has a right to expect that the coming negotiations will be dominated by a spirit that will give two great neighboring nations a chance to live and work once more. As a soldier you will well understand the onerous moment that has now come for me to sign."
After the signatures were affixed, General Keitel requested all present to rise from their seats, and then said:
"It is honorable for the victor to do honor to the vanquished. We have risen in commemoration of those who gave their blood to their countries."
Talks With Italy Speeded
The French delegation left Compiègne for Paris tonight and is expected to take up negotiations with Italy without further delay to bring the hostilities to a quick close.
With an Italian-French armistice in imminent prospect, military activities are now expected to give way to diplomatic negotiations and it is not improbable that Germany, Italy, France and possibly also Belgium will meet in conference soon in some German city to discuss steps for an approach to honorable peace.
Meanwhile there is no indication in German official or press utterances to suggest that Germany is not grimly determined to prosecute her war on Britain with all possible speed, and this determination has received fresh impetus through uninterrupted attacks by British bombers on German objectives.
With French Channel ports now available as German air bases, raids on English coastal points also have increased in recent days and with the final liquidation of the war in France it is predicted that Chancellor Hitler will lose no time in ordering his air squadrons across the Channel.
The German press today is wholly occupied in stressing the historic significance of the new armistice of Compiègne.
"Compiègne was not selected as the scene of the present armistice merely as retaliation," says the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, "but because it is now the business of Europe to liquidate the running war that England and France have been waging against the Reich and the German people since 1914. Our aim is to achieve a genuine and lasting peace, and for this purpose it demanded a symbolic act to wipe out everything that might have kept the German and French people apart unless the spirit of Compiègne of 1918 is to be perpetuated."
A similar sentiment finds expression in the Voelkis Beobachter, which says:
"It required the forest of Compiègne to make reparation for one of the infamies of history. The very moment that the French delegation leaves Compiègne, we and with us all Germany will realize that one of the blackest days that ever befell the German people will have been deleted from the pages of history. Among other things, not only Germany but all of Europe emerges a victor from Compiègne."
Reference to a "peace of reparation," which was one of the three armistice demands specified in the preamble read to the French delegation at Compiègne yesterday, must also be interpreted as applying to Germany's demands for restitution for injustices done at Versailles. Though its phraseology is somewhat obscure, its importance is made clear in today's press comments, which leave no doubt that redress for wrongs inflicted on Germany will come up for review and revision in the coming settlement.
Reparations for those wrongs fall on the shoulders of France and Britain jointly, the press observes, although France, for the time being, must carry the burden alone. There is only one remaining foe to world peace after the armistice with France, says the Fremdenblatt, and that is "the naked and brutal power politics of Britain." "Of this the peace-loving nations of the world are fully aware," the paper adds.
French Fly to Italy
Berlin, June 22 (UP)--France signed Chancellor Hitler's terms of armistice tonight at 6:50 o'clock [12:l50 P.M. New York time] in the Forest of Compiègne, and her emissaries hastened immediately by plane to Rome to learn Italy's price for peace.
The agreement was announced officially three hours later in Berlin and broadcast to the German people by radio. By that hour the French delegates, having placed on record their spokesman's protest against the "severity" of the German conditions, were already en route by German plane to Italy.
If no difficulties occur, it was believed here that the "cease firing" order might come some time Monday.
The plenipotentiaries agreed on French-German terms twenty-seven hours and twenty minutes after Chancellor Hitler presented his demands to the French delegates yesterday.
The armistice was signed today in the same old railroad dining coach of the Wagons Lits company where yesterday Herr Hitler received the French delegates and where twenty- two years ago Marshal Ferdinand Foch received the Germans on a similar mission.
General Charles Huntziger, the Alsatian-born, German-speaking chief of the French plenipotentiaries, signed the armistice for France--at the orders, he said, of his government. Col. Gen. Wilhelm Keitel, acting for Chancellor Hitler, signed for Germany.
Yesterday the clearing in the pleasant Compiègne forest where the emissaries met was flooded with sunshine. Today the sky grew overcast as the afternoon wore on and it was gloomy in the woods by the time the hour of signature arrived.
Huntziger Enters Protest
Before he affixed his name to Herr Hitler's terms General Huntziger, speaking slowly in a voice husky with emotion, entered a brief protest. A transcription of his words and of the proceedings at the moment of signature was broadcast to the German people over the official radio tonight. General Huntziger said:
"Before I sign this armistice at the order of the French Government I would like to make a personal statement.
"Forced by the fate of arms to give up the fight in which she engaged with both her Allies, France is forced to accept conditions whose severity must be emphasized.
"France experts in the future negotiations that Germany will be imbued with a spirit that will enable both great nations to live at peace in the future.
"I appeal to the soldiers' spirit in the hope that the French will never have cause to regret the step we are now taking."
General Keitel, speaking slowly in a deep voice, replied:
"I acknowledge your declaration that you are signing the armistice at the order of your Government. In answer to the General's personal statement, I can only reply that it is honorable for the victor to honor the vanquished."
Terms Still Withheld
It was announced that no details of the armistice terms would be made public, at least until after the agreement with Italy was reached. There was no positive assurance that the terms would be published even then.
In the old dining car--which now will be brought to Berlin at Chancellor Hitler's order-- for the final ceremony were the four French delegates, General Huntziger, Admiral Maurice Leluc, Leon Noel and Air General Jean Marie Bergeret.
Representing Germany were General Keitel, Generals Jodl and von Tippelskirch and Dr. Paul Schmidt, Foreign Office interpreter.
Herr Hitler was not at Compiègne when the final agreement was reached. He had returned to his field headquarters immediately after his brief appearance in the railroad coach yesterday.
Inspired articles in the German press carried a clear forecast of what Herr Hitler's thus far unrevealed terms to the French are designed to achieve.
Press comment indicated that France has been asked for full military capitulation--the handing over of all her armed resources on land, sea and air--and additional conditions that would guarantee Germany against any possible revival at some future date of the Anglo-French alliance.
The Angriff, vigorous exponent of Nazi doctrine, proclaimed that "Compiègne has become the end of the whole order of the economic, social and political system of the French Republic."
This newspaper indicated belief that France would not only be stripped of her military power, but also swung into the totalitarian economic and political orbit.
"After this war," it said, "France will take the first step toward a new era that the young authoritarian States of Europe have already taken."