For other meanings of the word, see surrender.
File:Surrender of Japan - USS Missouri.jpg

Surrender is when soldiers, nations or other combatants stop fighting and become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers. A white flag is a common symbol of surrender, as is the gesture of raising one's hands empty and open above one's head.

When the parties agree to terms the surrender may be conditional, i.e. if the surrendering party promises to submit only after the victor makes certain promises. Otherwise it is a surrender at discretion (unconditional surrender); the victor makes no promises of treatment other than those provided by the laws and customs of war — most of which are laid out in the Hague Conventions (1907) and the Geneva Conventions. Normally a belligerent will only agree to surrender unconditionally if completely incapable of continuing hostilities.

The Third Geneva Convention states that prisoners of war should not be mistreated or abused. United States Army policy states that surrendered persons should be treated according to the "5 S's" until turned over to higher authority.[1]

  • Silence: so that they cannot plan an escape attempt.
  • Search: for weapons or items of intelligence value.
  • Secure: tie up and/or guard carefully at all times, particularly at first.
  • Safeguard: do not allow the dangers of the battlefield to hurt them
  • Separate: soldiers from officers, men from women, combatants from civilians, to make them easier to control.

Entire nations can also surrender in an attempt to end a war or military conflict. This is done through the signing of an armistice, an unconditional capitulation or peace treaty.

See alsoEdit

  • Capitulation
  • Debellatio occurs when a war ends because of the complete destruction of a belligerent state.
  • No quarter occurs when a victor shows no clemency or mercy and refuses to spare the life of the vanquished when they surrender at discretion. Under the laws of war " is especially declare that no quarter will be given".
  • Unconditional surrender is a surrender without conditions, except for those provided by international law.
  • Strategic surrender



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