740.00119 EW/5–845: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State

1492. Up to 11 o’clock this morning Moscow time, more than 30 hours after signature of the act of surrender, there had still been no recognition in Moscow of the fact that the end of the war was at hand. While rumors are widely spread, no public announcement had been made; the street scene was as usual; no flags were out; and the morning papers were devoted to such things as the Oswiecim death camp, the fall of Breslau and a celebration at the Great Theater in commemoration of the discovery of radio by the Russian scientist Popov.91 The Russian public was given no inkling that there had been a total German surrender which might have had something to do with the surrender of Breslau garrison. The papers contained no mention at all of military affairs in the west.

The official justification for this state of affairs would doubtless be that there was still resistance here and there against Soviet forces in Eastern Europe but I think the true explanation lies deeper. For Russia peace, like everything else, can come only by ukase and the end of hostilities must be determined not by the true course of events but by decision of the Kremlin. Among the lesser injuries for which the Germans may have to answer to Russia, when the smoke has cleared away, perhaps not the least may be their willfulness in capitulating at a time and place which the Kremlin had not selected.

Sent Department; repeated to Caserta as 90; and to Paris for Reber92 as 102.

  1. Alexander Stepanovich Popov, 1859–1905.
  2. Samuel Reber, Counselor of Mission, Staff of the U.S. Political Adviser, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), with rank of Minister.