The keys to the map room where the first German act of surrender was signed

Source: Musée de la Reddition de Reims


clés salle des cartes


These were the keys to what, for nearly six months, might be considered “the world’s most secret of secret places”, for it was from the map room of a modest Reims secondary school, renamed the “War Room” by the British and Americans, that practically all of the Allied military operations in Europe were coordinated.

On 7 May 1945, it was in that room that the unconditional surrender of the German army was signed by General Jodl.

On 7 July 1945, two months to the day after the signing of that first German surrender, the United States’ General Lord officially handed over these keys to the city mayor, Michel Sicre, saying that they were also, symbolically, “the keys of the world’s freedom.”