Victory in Europe Day – May 8, 1945

On May 8, 1945, both Great Britain and the United States celebrated Victory in Europe  (V-E) Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine during World War II.

The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms.

I watched this documentary yesterday about events during the last seven days of WWII. It consists of first-person accounts of what happened that week, newspaper accounts, newsreels and other video evidence.

What a terrific relief it must have been for the people of allied countries when this terrible war ended. Britain, after all, had been in a virtual prison on their island for six long years.

This film is only available on YouTube, but I highly recommend that you watch it.

From Wikipedia:

Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, had committed suicide on 30 April during the Battle of Berlin and Germany’s surrender was authorised by his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz. The administration headed by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg Government. The act of military surrender was first signed at 02:41 on 7 May in SHAEF HQ at Reims, and a slightly modified document, considered the definitive German Instrument of Surrender, was signed on 8 May 1945 in Karlshorst, Berlin at 21:20 local time.

The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 23.01 hours Central European time on 8 May 1945…

— German Instrument of Surrender, Article 2

In the United States, the event coincided with President Harry Truman’s 61st birthday. He dedicated the victory to the memory of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died of a cerebral hemorrhage less than a month earlier, on 12 April. Flags remained at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period. Truman said of dedicating the victory to Roosevelt’s memory and keeping the flags at half-staff that his only wish was “that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day”. Later that day, Truman said that the victory made it his most enjoyable birthday. Great celebrations took place in many American cities, especially in New York’s Times Square.




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1 Response to Victory in Europe Day – May 8, 1945

  1. Lucille says:

    It’s always harrowing to view the destruction the German Nazis and their collaborators brought to the world in the 20th century. Was any nation left unscathed? Some endured horrors first-hand, some citizens only read about them. Either way, the entire war was an experience no one forgot.

    Interviews with survivors and liberators are so poignant. Perhaps thousands of them never spoke to their families or anyone else of their experiences. The American soldier telling of finding the starved, sick and dying women abandoned in a building was particularly difficult to watch because it was so difficult for him to relate the tale of such an awful event. For a few moments, we lived it through his memories.

    A friend of mine was 19 and in U.S. Army Intelligence at war’s end. His job was to interview survivors and interrogate the Nazis they encountered at the concentration camps. Imagine being 19 and having to do such a job. He wrote a touching memoir for his family and later expanded it to include more recent interviews with survivors and military personnel. He just felt it should be documented and a record kept of what he saw and encountered. He sent me a copy and it was very hard to read, indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

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