Unconditional surrender

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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.

Surrender (military) cessation of fighting by the losing party

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.

International law regulations governing international relations

International law, also known as public international law or law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally regarded and accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework for states to follow across a broad range of domains, including war, diplomacy, trade, and human rights. International law thus provides a mean for states to practice more stable, consistent, and organized international relations.

Axis powers Alliance of countries defeated in World War II

The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.

Contents

Examples

Banu Qurayza during Muhammad's era

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. [1] All the men, apart from a few who converted to Islam, were beheaded, while the women and children were enslaved. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Battle of the Trench In 627 trying infidels from mecca to invade Medina

The Battle of the Trench, also known as the Battle of the Confederates, was a 30-day-long siege of Yathrib by Arab and Jewish tribes. The strength of the confederate armies is estimated around 10,000 men with six hundred horses and some camels, while the Medinan defenders numbered 3,000.

Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic, universal religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.

Mā malakat aymānukum is a Quranic expression referring to slaves.

Napoleon Bonaparte

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:

Elba Mediterranean island near Italy

Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the coastal town of Piombino, and the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. It is also part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park, and the third largest island in Italy, after Sicily and Sardinia. It is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea about 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of the French island of Corsica.

Congress of Vienna Early 19th century conference of ambassadors of European states to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe

The Congress of Vienna, also called Vienna Congress, was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815, though the delegates had arrived and were already negotiating by late September 1814. The objective of the Congress was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The goal was not simply to restore old boundaries but to resize the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. The leaders were conservatives with little use for republicanism or revolution, both of which threatened to upset the status quo in Europe. France lost all its recent conquests while Prussia, Austria and Russia made major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west, Swedish Pomerania and 60% of the Kingdom of Saxony; Austria gained Venice and much of northern Italy. Russia gained parts of Poland. The new Kingdom of the Netherlands had been created just months before, and included formerly Austrian territory that in 1830 became Belgium.

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.

Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814) 1814 treaty that exiled Napoleon to Elba

The Treaty of Fontainebleau was an agreement established in Fontainebleau, France, on 11 April 1814 between Napoleon I and representatives from the Austrian Empire, Russia and Prussia. The treaty was signed at Paris on 11 April by the plenipotentiaries of both sides and ratified by Napoleon on 13 April. With this treaty, the allies ended Napoleon's rule as emperor of France and sent him into exile on Elba.

Plenipotentiaries of the high powers who signed the Treaty of Paris (1814). [7]

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. [8]

Outlaw Person declared as outside the protection of the law

In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute or kill them. Outlawry was thus one of the harshest penalties in the legal system. In early Germanic law, the death penalty is conspicuously absent, and outlawing is the most extreme punishment, presumably amounting to a death sentence in practice. The concept is known from Roman law, as the status of homo sacer, and persisted throughout the Middle Ages.

HMS <i>Bellerophon</i> (1786) Royal Navy ship of the line

HMS Bellerophon was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. Launched in 1786, she served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, mostly on blockades or convoy escort duties. Known to sailors as the "Billy Ruffian", she fought in three fleet actions, the Glorious First of June, the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar, and was the ship aboard which Napoleon finally surrendered, ending 22 years of nearly continuous war with France.

Hundred Days period from Napoleons escape from Elba to the second restoration of King Louis XVIII

The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815. This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition, and includes the Waterloo Campaign, the Neapolitan War as well as several other minor campaigns. The phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, Gaspard, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the king back to Paris on 8 July.

American Civil War

The most famous early use of the phrase occurred during the 1862 Battle of Fort Donelson in the American Civil War. Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant of the Union Army received a request for terms from the fort's commanding officer, Confederate Brigadier General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sr. 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.

Battle of Fort Donelson Battle of the American Civil War

The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11–16, 1862, in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The Union capture of the Confederate fort near the Tennessee–Kentucky border opened the Cumberland River, an important avenue for the invasion of the South. The Union's success also elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from an obscure and largely unproven leader to the rank of major general, and earned him the nickname of "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy). The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Brigadier general (United States) one-star general officer in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps

In the United States Armed Forces, brigadier general is a one-star general officer with the pay grade of O-7 in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. The rank of brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed services. The NATO equivalent is OF-6.

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. [9]

Grant was not the first officer in the Civil War to use such a term. The first instance came 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, when a Confederate messenger first approached Brigadier General Charles Ferguson Smith, Grant's subordinate, for terms of surrender, 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 decision later on that day. In 1863, Ambrose Burnside forced an unconditional surrender of the Cumberland Gap and 2,300 Confederate soldiers, [10] and in 1864, Union General Gordon Granger forced an unconditional surrender of Fort Morgan.

World War II

Marshal Georgy Zhukov reading the German capitulation in Berlin. Seated on his right is Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder. Zhukov reads capitulation act.jpg
Marshal Georgy Zhukov reading the German capitulation in Berlin. Seated on his right is Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder.
Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signing the definitive act of unconditional surrender for the German military in Berlin. Field Marshall Keitel signs German surrender terms in Berlin 8 May 1945 - Restoration.jpg
Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signing the definitive act of unconditional surrender for the German military in Berlin.

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. [11] 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." [12]

It has also been argued that without the demand for unconditional surrender, Central Europe might not have fallen behind the Iron Curtain. [12] "It was a policy that the Soviet Union accepted with alacrity, probably because a completely destroyed Germany would facilitate Russia's postwar expansion program." [13]

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. 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. [14]

East Pakistan

Signing of Pakistani Instrument of Surrender by Lt.Gen. A. A. K. Niazi in the presence of Indian military officers. 1971 Instrument of Surrender.jpg
Signing of Pakistani Instrument of Surrender by Lt.Gen. A. A. K. Niazi in the presence of Indian military officers.

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 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.

Surrender at discretion

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". [15] [16] 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:... [17]

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. [18]

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; [19]

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", [20] and it is part of the customary laws of war. [21]

See also

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In war, a victor gives no quarter when the victor shows no clemency or mercy and refuses to spare the life of a vanquished opponent in return for their unconditional surrender. In some circumstances, the opposing forces would signal their intention to give no quarter by using a red flag; however, the use of a red flag to signal no quarter does not appear to have been universal among combatants.

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This is a timeline of the conclusion of the American Civil War which includes important battles, skirmishes, raids and other events of 1865. These led to additional Confederate surrenders, key Confederate captures, and disbandments of Confederate military units that occurred after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865, which was the official end of the American Civil War.

German surrender at Lüneburg Heath

On 4 May 1945 at Lüneburg Heath, east 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.

Convention of El Arish

The Convention of El Arish was signed on 24 January 1800 by representatives from France and the Ottoman Empire in the presence of a British representative. It was intended to bring to an end the French campaign in Egypt and Syria, with the repatriation of French troops to France and the return of all territory to the Ottomans.

References

  1. Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, pp. 167–174.
  2. Peterson, Muhammad: the prophet of God, p. 125-127.
  3. Ramadan, In the Footsteps of the Prophet, p. 140f.
  4. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, vol. 1, p. 191.
  5. Brown, A New Introduction to Islam, p. 81.
  6. Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, p. 229-233.
  7. Baines, Edward (1818). History of the Wars of the French Revolution, from the breaking out of the wars in 1792, to, the restoration of general peace in 1815 (of II). II. Longman, Rees, Orme and Brown. p.  433.
  8. MacDonald, John (1823). "Character of Bonaparte". In Urban, Sylvanus (ed.). The Gentleman's magazine (part 1). 16th of the New Series. 93. F. Jefferies. p.  569.
    • Silkenat, David. Raising the White Flag: How Surrender Defined the American Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019. ISBN   978-1-4696-4972-6.
  9. Burnside's Official Report
  10. See Chapter 9 of Thomas Toughill's "A World To Gain," Clairview Books, 2004, for a detailed examination of how Roosevelt's policy, of which Churchill knew nothing in advance, came to be adopted at the conference.
  11. 1 2 Michael Balfour, "Another Look at 'Unconditional Surrender'", International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944–), Vol. 46, No. 4 (Oct., 1970), pp. 719–736
  12. Deane, John R. 1947. The Strange Alliance, The Story of our Efforts at Wartime Co-operation with Russia. The Viking Press.
  13. Wheeler-Bennett, John W. (1954). The Nemesis of Power: The German Army in Politics, 1918–1945. London: Macmillan. p. 559.
  14. Bradbury, Jim (1992), The Medieval Siege, Boydell & Brewer, p.  325, ISBN   978-0-85115-357-5
  15. Afflerbach, Holger; Strachan, Hew (26 July 2012), How Fighting Ends: A History of Surrender, Oxford University Press, p.  107, ISBN   978-0-19-969362-7
  16. Prince Charles at Glasgow and surrender of Stirling, electricscotland.com
  17. Lord, Walter (1978), A Time to Stand: The Epic of the Alamo, U of Nebraska Press, p.  14, ISBN   978-0-8032-7902-5
  18. s:Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court#Article 8 – War crimes
  19. IV Hague Convention The Laws and Customs of War on Land October 18, 1907. Article 23
  20. The Nuremberg War Trial judgment on The Law Relating to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity held, "The rules of land warfare expressed in the [Hague Convention of 1907] undoubtedly represented an advance over existing international law at the time of their adoption. But the Convention expressly stated that it was an attempt 'to revise the general laws and customs of war,' which it thus recognised to be then existing, but by 1939 these rules laid down in the Convention were recognised by all civilised nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war....",(Judgement: The Law Relating to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity contained in the Avalon Project archive at Yale Law School).