- Victory in Europe Day
Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day or VE Day) was
May 7and May 8, 1945, the dates when the World War IIAllies formally accepted the unconditional surrenderof the armed forces of Nazi Germanyand the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. On April 30, Hitler committed suicide during the Battle for Berlin, and so the surrender of Germany was authorized by his replacement, President of Germany Karl Dönitz. The administration headed up by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg government. The "act of military surrender" was signed on May 7in Reims, France, and May 8in Berlin, Germany.
urrender in Reims
At 02:42 on 7 May 1945, at the SHAEF headquarters in
Reims, France, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command, Colonel General Alfred Jodl, signed the German Instrument of Surrender. All active operations were to cease at 23:01 Central European Timeon 8 May 1945. However since the British were operating on British Double Summer Timethis was 00:01 on May 9th in London. [ [http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/apr45.html RAF Site Diary 7/8 May] ]
Western journalists broke the news of surrender prematurely, precipitating the earlier celebration. Fighting continued on the Eastern Front until the Germans surrendered specifically to the Soviets at
Karlshorst. The Soviet Union kept to the agreed celebration date, and Russiaand other countries still commemorate the end of World War II, a significant part of which is known as the Great Patriotic Warin Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, as Victory Day on May 9th.
By May 8th, most of Germany had already been taken by Allied forces. Hence V-E day was not such a drastic change for most German civilians. In the years after, V-E day was predominantly perceived as the day of defeat. But over the decades, this perception changed, culminating in the speech by West German President
Richard von Weizsäckeron the 40th anniversary of V-E day in 1985, in which he called May 8th "the day of liberation" from the Nazi regime.
urrender in Berlin
Shortly before midnight on May 8th, a second unconditional surrender was signed in the outskirts of Berlin, Germany. The signing ceremony took place in a villa in an eastern suburb of Berlin,
Karlshorst. Representatives of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and the United Statesarrived shortly before midnight. After Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukovopened the ceremony, the German command representatives headed by Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitelwere invited into the room, where they signed the final German Instrument of Surrenderentering into force at 23:01 Central European Time. [Keitel is defiant at Berlin ritual. The New York Times. May 10, 1945] The main outside representatives were:
Air MarshalSir Arthur Tedder, representing the SHAEFand the United Kingdom.
USAAFGeneral Carl Spaatz, for the United States
Jean de Lattre de Tassignyfor France.
On that date, massive celebrations took place, notably in London, where more than a million people celebrated in a carnival atmosphere the end of the
European war, though rationing of food and clothing was to continue for several years, and in fact continued longer during peacetime than the war in Europe had lasted. In London, crowds massed in particular in Trafalgar Squareand up The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the Palace before cheering crowds. Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to wander anonymously among the crowds and take part in the celebrations.
United States, President Harry Truman, who celebrated his 61st birthday that day, dedicated the victory to the memory of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, because he had been so committed to ending the war. Roosevelt had died less than a month earlier, on April 12. Flags remained at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period, which ended on May 12, to pay tribute to Roosevelt's commitment toward ending the war. Massive celebrations also took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and especially in New York City's Times Square.
oviet victory Day
Red Armyveterans and many people in Russia customarily instead of Western European May 8celebrate the Victory in Russia's Great Patriotic Warday on May 9.
May 8 as Public Holiday
East Germanyas "Tag der Befreiung" (Day of liberation).
Slovakiaas "Deň víťazstva nad fašismom" (Victory over Fascism Day) [ Public holidays in Slovakia] .
Czech Republicas "Den vítězství" or "Den osvobození" (Day of liberation).
End of World War II in Europe
Victory over Japan Day
Time of remembrance and reconciliation
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