Fieldtrip and Postscriptum

The fourth session of Dictionary of War is concluding with a Postcriptum at the historic site of the unconditional surrender of German Fascism in 1945, today's "German-Russian Museum" in Karlshorst. The fieldtrip will start at noon, busses will leave Sunday, February 25th, around 12am at Alexanderplatz in front of Park-Inn Hotel.

On May 8, 1945, World War II was brought to an end with the surrender of the German Wehrmacht at Berlin-Karlshorst. The bloodiest conflict of modern history to date claimed a death toll of at least 50 million people. The attempt for world domination by the German National Socialists under the leadership of Adolf Hitler ended with vast destructions in Germany and abroad. Particularly brutal battles were fought between the German and Soviet troops as a result of the National Socialist ideology, aiming at the enslavement and eventual extinction of the Slavic people.

In 1967, the Soviet troops stationed in the GDR founded the Museum der bedingungslosen Kapitulation des faschistischen Deutschland im Großen Vaterländischen Krieg 1941 - 1945 ("Museum of the Unconditional Surrender of Fascist Germany in the 'Great Patriotic War' of 1941 - 1945"). The museum was located in the same building where the signing of the capitulation took place in 1945. Initially, the museum was open only to members of the Soviet Army; however, soon afterwards, it opened to the general public.

The German unification on October 3, 1990, and the withdrawal of the Soviet troops raised new questions as to the future of the museum as well as the artifacts it contained. The Soviets offered to maintain the collection at Karlshorst and to allow for the continuation of the museum.

On behalf of the Federal Government of Germany and the "Senate" of Berlin, the German Historical Museum, in conjunction with their Soviet partners, was given the task of drawing up a new concept for the continuation of the museum. A committee of German and Soviet (now Russian) experts, consisting of political and military historians, archivists, and museum experts was appointed for this purpose. The committee began drawing up plans on April 14, 1991, and by October 1992 they created a broad concept of the continuation and re-evaluation of the museum Berlin-Karlshorst.

The museum opened its doors to the public on May 10, 1995.