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(1) The cessation of resistance by ground, air, and naval forces or part of them in theaters or other regions of military operations, fortresses, or fortified regions and inhabited localities or at sea or on naval bases and elsewhere upon conditions presented by the victor or agreed upon in negotiations between the commanders. Capitulation is, as a rule, accompanied by the surrender of all armament, military ships and aircraft, fortresses, fortified areas, and materiel to the enemy, while personnel become prisoners of the victor.
(2) In international law, the cessation of armed struggle and the surrender of the armed forces of a belligerent state. Capitulation, as a rule, involves the imposition of political, economic, military, and other obligations on the state that has capitulated.
An unconditional capitulation is usually signed if the armed forces have been completely routed and includes recognition of this fact by the defeated state and the surrender of all armed forces. The victorious state may temporarily assume supreme power and establish an occupation regime in the defeated state.
After the unconditional capitulation of Hitlerite Germany and Japan at the end of World War II (1939–5) the Allies, in accordance with special agreements such as the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945, carried out measures toward a democratization of the political regime in these countries, outlawed and disbanded criminal state organizations and political parties, and imposed economic, political, military, and other obligations on Germany and Japan.