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World War II Surrender Pens

(This page published June 1, 2024)

Reference Info Index | Glossopedia  ]

The Second World War ended not with a bang, but with a long, drawn-out whimper. Who signed the death warrants of Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan, and what did they sign with?


High-school history courses pretty much have to mention the historic surrender ceremonies that ended World War II; but usually what the students get in those classes is at best a brief overview. There is much more to know about the situations, the ceremonies, the participants, and — perhaps most of all for pen people — the pens that were used to sign the surrender documents.

What most secondary-school history classes simply don’t have time to mention, let alone discuss, is the dozens of piecemeal surrenders that took place in all theaters of the war, conducted with varying degrees of ceremony (or lack thereof). Those “peripheral” surrenders, mostly all but forgotten, climaxed aspects of the war that played out on a smaller but no less important scale, and they deserve to be remembered. This series of articles looks beneath the surfaces of surrender meetings, famous and not so famous, for which I have been able to gather enough information to set down a good story. And, of course, to identify the pens.

If you’re wondering why I write articles like these, it’s because the grand sweep of history is like the number “one trillion.” It’s too big for any one person to grasp fully. History is not the interminable lists of names, dates, and places that are crammed into history textbooks. It’s people. Dwight Eisenhower, Alfred Jodl, Georgy Zhukov, Wilhelm Keitel, Douglas Macarthur, and Mamoru Shigemitsu are not just names. They were real flesh-and-blood people, people who were living and breathing, loving and hating, less than 80 years ago, people who happened to be involved in some of the greatest events of the 20th century. These articles are my attempt to bring some of those people and events down to the human scale, to the personal level.

The information in this series of articles is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative or complete. If you have additions or corrections to this page, please consider sharing them with us to improve the accuracy of our information.

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