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In 1971 India invaded east Pakistan, which ended in the "public surrender" of the Pakistani military on the 16th of December, and modern day Bangladesh is the result. Many of the articles and videos that I've seen (particularly those written by the victors) repeat that this event was "the only public surrender in history".

Is the 1971-12-16 surrender by the Pakistani military the only public surrender in history?

I'm rather skeptical that no other military in history has demanded a surrender in front of the population. In fact, I'd expect that to be rather common over the past few thousand years, especially before mass communication. Or do I just have the wrong definition of what a public surrender is?

Here are some articles that claim it was the only public surrender:

  • sify.com: What happened before Pakistan's public surrender to India

    It is the only public surrender in known history.

  • Dhaka Tribune: Revisiting history

    On December 16, the bulk of the occupying Pakistani force surrendered at Ramna Racecourse which is dubbed by the experts concerned as the “first and perhaps only public surrender in modern military history.”

  • rediff.com: How Pakistan surrendered in 1971

    This surrender is unique, the only public surrender in history where a ceasefire was converted into surrender and signed in four hours.

It's commonly claimed to be the only public surrender in history, which is what this question is concerned with, but I've included the last two articles that provide a couple caveats ("modern military history", or "ceasefire converted into surrender").


What is a public surrender?

In response to comments asking what is meant by a "public surrender", I do not know what exactly the authors mean by "public surrender". However for context, the signing of the instrument of surrender occurred in front of a crowd at the Ramna Race Course garden in Dhaka, according to Wikipedia's article.

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    I am currently building a non-exhaustive list of "surrenders" starting with WW2 and working my way forward in time. Non-existence proofs are extremely difficult to deal with. – DenisS Feb 12 at 21:17
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    I think this should be closed unless the definition of "public" is included in the Notable Claim. – Acccumulation Feb 13 at 1:49
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    Yes, Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded radio address on 15th August 1945, in which he announced the surrender of Japan to the Allies. It seems to me as though that was a public surrender, because the formal surrender was not signed until 2nd September, aboard the battleship USS Missouri. – Weather Vane Feb 13 at 17:41
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    In addition to the "what does 'public' mean?" problem, I'm also unclear on who the belligerents have to be. E.g., does a city under siege surrendering count? (Nevertheless, I still think this is an interesting question.) – Rebecca J. Stones Feb 14 at 7:18
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    I'm still working on a massive answer, but interestingly enough I cannot corroborate the "public surrender" of the war. The claims seem to originate from General Jacob, but the videos of the signing of the surrender document do not show a crowd at the surrender itself. Jacob claims that the Hamidur Rehman report supports his assertion, but it does not. No sources outside of Indian pieces quoting Jacob ever make the claim. – DenisS Feb 18 at 17:00

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