An unconditional surrender is a surrender in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times, unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law. Announcing that only unconditional surrender is acceptable puts psychological pressure on a weaker adversary, but may also prolong hostilities. Perhaps the most notable unconditional surrender was by the Axis powers in World War II.
After the Battle of the Trench, in which the Muslims tactically overcame their opponents while suffering very few casualties, efforts to defeat the Muslims failed, and Islam became influential in the region. As a consequence, the Muslim army besieged the neighbourhood of the Banu Qurayza tribe, leading to their unconditional surrender.All the men, apart from a few who converted to Islam, were executed, while the women and children were enslaved. The historicity of the incident has been questioned.
When Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from his enforced exile on the island of Elba, among other steps that the delegates of the European powers at the Congress of Vienna took was to issue a statement on 13 March 1815 declaring Napoleon Bonaparte to be an outlaw. The text includes the following paragraphs:
By thus breaking the convention which had established him in the island of Elba, Bonaparte destroys the only legal title on which his existence depended, and by appearing again in France, with projects of confusion and disorder, he has deprived himself of the protection of the law, and has manifested to the universe that there can be neither peace nor truce with him.
The powers consequently declare, that Napoleon Bonaparte has placed himself without the pale of civil and social relations; and that, as an enemy and disturber of the tranquillity of the world, he has rendered himself liable to public vengeance.— Plenipotentiaries of the high powers who signed the Treaty of Paris (1814).
Consequently, as Napoleon was considered an outlaw when he surrendered to Captain Maitland of HMS Bellerophon at the end of the Hundred Days, he was not protected by military law or international law as a head of state, and so the British were under no legal obligation to either accept his surrender or to spare his life; however, they did so, exiling him to the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena.
The most famous early use of the phrase in the American Civil War occurred during the 1862 Battle of Fort Donelson. Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant of the Union Army received a request for terms from Confederate Brigadier General Simon Bolivar Buckner Sr., the fort's commanding officer. Grant's reply was that "no terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." When news of Grant's victory, one of the Union's first in the war, was received in Washington, DC, newspapers remarked (and President Abraham Lincoln endorsed) that Grant's first two initials, "U.S.," stood for "Unconditional Surrender," which would later become his nickname.
However, subsequent surrenders to Grant were not unconditional. When Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House in 1865, Grant agreed to allow the men under Lee's command to go home under parole and to keep sidearms and private horses. Generous terms were also offered to John C. Pemberton at Vicksburg and, by Grant's subordinate, William Tecumseh Sherman, to Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina.
Grant was not the first officer in the Civil War to use the phrase. The first instance came some days earlier, when Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman asked for terms of surrender during the Battle of Fort Henry. Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote replied, "no sir, your surrender will be unconditional." Even at Fort Donelson, earlier in the day, a Confederate messenger approached Brigadier General Charles Ferguson Smith, Grant's subordinate, for terms of surrender, and Smith stated, "I'll have no terms with Rebels with guns in their hands, my terms are unconditional and immediate surrender." The messenger was passed along to Grant, but there is no evidence that either Foote or Smith influenced Grant's choice of words.
In 1863, Ambrose Burnside forced an unconditional surrender of the Cumberland Gap and 2,300 Confederate soldiers,and in 1864, Union General Gordon Granger forced an unconditional surrender of Fort Morgan.
The use of the term was revived during World War II at the Casablanca conference in January 1943 when American President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated it to the press as the objective of the war against the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan; in doing so, he surprised the leaders of fellow Allied Powers.When Roosevelt made the announcement at Casablanca, he made reference to General Grant's use of the term during the American Civil War.
The term was also used in the Potsdam Declaration issued to Japan on July 26, 1945. Near the end of the declaration, it said, "We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces" and warned that the alternative was "prompt and utter destruction."
It has been claimed that it prolonged the war in Europe by its usefulness to German domestic propaganda, which used it to encourage further resistance against the Allied armies, and its suppressive effect on the German resistance movement since even after a coup against Adolf Hitler:
"those Germans — and particularly those German generals — who might have been ready to throw Hitler over, and were able to do so, were discouraged from making the attempt by their inability to extract from the Allies any sort of assurance that such action would improve the treatment meted out to their country."
It has also been argued that without the demand for unconditional surrender, Central Europe might not have fallen behind the Iron Curtain."It was a policy that the Soviet Union accepted with alacrity, probably because a completely destroyed Germany would facilitate Russia's postwar expansion program."
One reason for the policy was that the Allies wished to avoid a repetition of the stab-in-the-back myth that arose in Germany after World War I, which attributed Germany's loss to betrayal by Jews, Bolsheviks, and Socialists, as well as the fact that the war ended before the Allies reached Germany. The myth was used by the Nazis in their propaganda. It was felt that an unconditional surrender would ensure that the Germans knew that they had lost the war themselves.
With regard to Japan, the demand for unconditional surrender led to Japanese apprehensions that such a surrender would leave the Americans free to prosecute Emperor Hirohito on charges of war crimes. Had the Americans been ready to accept a Japanese surrender conditional upon an immunity to the Emperor (which the US in fact granted after the actual surrender), Japan might have surrendered earlier, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been avoided.
On 16 December 1971, Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, CO of Pakistan Armed Forces located in East Pakistan signed the Instrument of Surrender handing over the command of his forces to the Indian Army under General Jagjit Singh Aurora. This led to the surrender of 93,000 soldiers of the Pakistan's East Command and cessation of hostilities between the Pakistani Armed Forces and the Indian Armed Forces along with the guerrilla forces, the Mukti Bahini.
The signing of this unconditional surrender document gave Geneva Convention guarantees for the safety of the surrendered soldiers and completed the independence of Bangladesh.
During the Global War on Terror, most internationalist jihadist organizations (as opposed to ideologically similar but more contained hostile regimes like the Taliban) such as ISIL or Al Qaeda have been offered nothing but unconditional surrender of their leaders. The US and UK, for instance, follow a policy of no-negotiation with designated terrorist organizations. One of the reasons for this policy is the perception that such organizations are either not rational actors or do not negotiate in good faith, since they are religious fanatics and would continue to pose a growing threat in the long term, and thus there is no benefit in engaging in negotiated settlements.
A parallel in wartime behaviour could be argued to exist between these groups and past belligerents, for example, the Imperial Japanese Army of World War II, in the sense that they refused to abide by international law of armed conflicts (such as the Geneva convention), viewing it as inferior or even anathema to their own standards, and for a widespread refusal to surrender. In the jihadist terrorist case, this is compounded by the problem that they do not recognize an earthly authority ordering them to surrender that would override their doctrine - such as Emperor Hirohito did in this analogy. It is very unclear whether such an order given by the likes of Ayman al-Zawahiri or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would be obeyed by the vast majority of Salafi jihadists.
An advantage of this unconditional surrender or complete destruction policy, permitted by an overwhelming military advantage over their opponents without fear of a realistic strategically vital retaliation, is deterrence to like-minded groups and the shrinking of potential terrorist recruits to the most hardcore in the world. This depletion of human resources from the jihadist side when under serious pressure may be further reinforced by the common knowledge that the allied Western nations in this war usually do not abuse prisoners of war, or are far less likely to do so than local regimes. Despite this, some tactical agreements have been made with groups of such forces in the midst of battles, like in the battle of Raqqa (2017).
In siege warfare, the demand for the garrison to surrender unconditionally to the besiegers is traditionally phrased as "surrender at discretion." If there are negotiations with mutually agreed conditions, the garrison is said to have "surrendered on terms".One example was at the Siege of Stirling, during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion:
Charles, thereupon, sent a verbal message to the magistrates, requiring them instantly to surrender the town; but, at their solicitation, they obtained till ten o'clock next day to make up their minds. The message was taken into consideration at a public meeting of the inhabitants, and anxiously debated. The majority having come to the resolution that it was impossible to defend the town with the handful of men within, two deputies were sent to Bannockburn, the headquarters of the Highland army, who offered to surrender to terms; stating that, rather than surrender at discretion, as required, they would defend the town to the last extremity. After a negotiation, which occupied the greater part of Tuesday, the following terms of capitulation were agreed upon:...
Surrender at discretion was also used at the Battle of the Alamo, when Antonio López de Santa Anna asked Jim Bowie and William B. Travis for unconditional surrender. Even though Bowie wished to surrender unconditionally, Travis refused and fired a cannon at Santa Anna's army, and wrote in his final dispatches:
The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion otherwise the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered their demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat.
The phrase surrender at discretion is still used in treaties. For example, the Rome Statute, in force since July 1, 2002, specifies under "Article 8 war crimes, Paragraph 2.b:"
Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts:
...(vi) Killing or wounding a combatant who, having laid down his arms or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;
The wording in the Rome Statute is taken almost word for word from Article 23 of the 1907 IV Hague Convention The Laws and Customs of War on Land: "...it is especially forbidden – ... To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion",and it is part of the customary laws of war.
A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, performing a perfidy, raping, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no quarter will be given, and seriously violating the principles of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity.
The law of war refers to the component of international law that regulates the conditions for war and the conduct of warring parties. Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territories, occupation, and other critical terms of international law.
Victor's justice is a pejorative term referring to the unjust prosecution of the defeated party's acts in a conflict by the victorious party. Victor's justice generally involves excessive or unjustified punishment of defeated parties and light punishment or clemency for offenses committed by victors. Opponents argue that the difference in rules amounts to hypocrisy and revenge under the guise of retributive justice, leading to injustice, and targets of the label may consider it derogatory.
The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 are a series of international treaties and declarations negotiated at two international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands. Along with the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the body of secular international law. A third conference was planned for 1914 and later rescheduled for 1915, but it did not take place due to the start of World War I.
The final battles of fights in the battle the European Theatre of World War II as well as the German surrender to the Allies took place in late April and early May 1945.
Disarmed Enemy Forces was a US designation for soldiers who surrendered to an adversary after hostilities ended, and for those POWs who had already surrendered and were held in camps in occupied German territory at the time. It was Dwight D. Eisenhower's designation of German prisoners in post-World War II occupied Germany.
The Casablanca Conference or Anfa Conference was held at the Anfa Hotel in Casablanca, Morocco, from January 14 to 24, 1943, to plan the Allied European strategy for the next phase of World War II. In attendance were United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill. Also attending were the sovereign of Morocco Sultan Muhammad V and representing the Free French forces Generals Charles de Gaulle and Henri Giraud, but they played minor roles and were not part of the military planning. USSR General Secretary Joseph Stalin had declined to attend, citing the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad as requiring his presence in the Soviet Union.
A summary execution is an execution in which a person is accused of a crime and immediately killed without benefit of a full and fair trial. Executions as the result of summary justice are sometimes included, but the term generally refers to capture, accusation, and execution all conducted simultaneously or within a very short period of time, and without any trial at all. Under international law, refusal to accept lawful surrender in combat and instead killing the person surrendering is also categorized as a summary execution.
The German Instrument of Surrender was the legal document that effected the extinction of Nazi Germany and ended World War II in Europe. The definitive text was signed in Karlshorst, Berlin, on the night of 8 May 1945 by representatives of the three armed services of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) and the Allied Expeditionary Force together with the Supreme High Command of the Soviet Red Army, with further French and US representatives signing as witnesses. The signing took place 8 May 1945 at 21:20 local time.
Surrender, in military terms, is the relinquishment of control over territory, combatants, fortifications, ships or armament to another power. A surrender may be accomplished peacefully, without fighting, or it may be the result of defeat in battle. A sovereign state may surrender following defeat in a war, usually by signing a peace treaty or capitulation agreement. A battlefield surrender, either by individuals or when ordered by officers, normally results in those surrendering becoming prisoners of war.
The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced by Japanese Emperor Hirohito on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was incapable of conducting major operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. Together with the British Empire and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction". While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders were privately making entreaties to the publicly neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms more favorable to the Japanese. While maintaining a sufficient level of diplomatic engagement with the Japanese to give them the impression they might be willing to mediate, the Soviets were covertly preparing to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea in fulfillment of promises they had secretly made to the United States and the United Kingdom at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences.
The Flensburg Government, also known as the Flensburg Cabinet, the Dönitz Government, or the Schwerin von Krosigk Cabinet, was the short-lived government of Nazi Germany during a period of three weeks around the end of World War II in Europe. The government was formed following the suicide of Adolf Hitler on 30 April 1945 during the Battle of Berlin. It was headed by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz as the Reichspräsident and Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk as the Leading Minister. The administration was referred to as the "Flensburg Government" because Dönitz's headquarters had been relocated to the port of Flensburg in northern Germany on 3 May 1945.
In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception in which one side promises to act in good faith with the intention of breaking that promise once the unsuspecting enemy is exposed. Perfidy constitutes a breach of the laws of war and so is a war crime, as it degrades the protections and mutual restraints developed in the interest of all parties, combatants and civilians.
The Geneva Convention (1929) was signed at Geneva, July 27, 1929. Its official name is the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva July 27, 1929. It entered into force 19 June 1931. It is this version of the Geneva Conventions which covered the treatment of prisoners of war during World War II. It is the predecessor of the Third Geneva Convention signed in 1949.
The term "debellatio" or "debellation" designates the end of war caused by complete destruction of a hostile state. Israeli law-school professor Eyal Benvenisti defines it as "a situation in which a party to a conflict has been totally defeated in war, its national institutions have disintegrated, and none of its allies continue to challenge the enemy militarily on its behalf".
There are differences from one country to another regarding the definition of Japanese war crimes. War crimes have been broadly defined as violations of the laws or customs of war, which include crimes against either enemy combatants or enemy non-combatants. War crimes also included deliberate attacks on citizens and property of neutral states as they fall under the category of non-combatants, as at the attack on Pearl Harbor. Military personnel from the Empire of Japan have been accused and/or convicted of committing many such acts during the period of Japanese imperialism from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. They have been accused of conducting a series of human rights abuses against civilians and prisoners of war (POWs) throughout east Asia and the western Pacific region. These events reached their height during the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45 and the Asian and Pacific campaigns of World War II (1941–45).
By the Berlin Declaration of 5 June 1945, the four governments of the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom and France, acting on behalf of the Allies of World War II, jointly assumed "supreme authority" over German territory and asserted the legitimacy of their joint determination of issues regarding its administration and boundaries, prior to the forthcoming Potsdam Conference.
A war crimes trial is the trial of persons charged with criminal violation of the laws and customs of war and related principles of international law committed during armed conflict.
Air warfare must comply with laws and customs of war, including international humanitarian law by protecting the victims of the conflict and refraining from attacks on protected persons.
On 4 May 1945 1830 British Double Summer Time at Lüneburg Heath, south of Hamburg, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery accepted the unconditional surrender of the German forces in the Netherlands, northwest Germany including all islands, in Denmark and all naval ships in those areas. The surrender preceded the end of World War II in Europe and was signed in a carpeted tent at Montgomery's headquarters on the Timeloberg hill at Wendisch Evern.