The 'Thousand-Year Reich' Collapses as the Cold War Begins

FEW lead headlines of the size or import of this one have run in The Christian Science Monitor. It confirmed for readers that one of history's greatest evils had been vanquished.

Hitler committed suicide on April 30, leaving Grand Admiral Karl Donitz in charge of what was left of the Third Reich. For months, Germany had hoped to work out an armistice with the Western Allies that would leave it free to concentrate against the hated Soviet Communist forces overrunning it from the east. Millions of Germans, collaborators, and other displaced persons were fleeing as fast as they could toward the American, British, and Canadian lines. Many German commanders were committed to covering this retreat: thus the refusal of the German commander in Prague to surrender immediately, noted at the bottom of the lead article.

The firming up of the postwar order was well under way at the United Nations Conference in San Francisco. Once again readers learned that the ''Polish problem'' -- whether the Communist Poles in Moscow or the Polish government-in-exile in London would govern in Warsaw -- had not been resolved. It was not until the collapse of communism in Europe more than 40 years later.

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