Victory in Europe Day

Sunday, 8 May 2022 - 09:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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8 May 1945 - Winston Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall in London © War Office official photographer, Major W. G. Horton

8 May 1945 – Winston Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall in London © War Office official photographer, Major W. G. Horton

Victory in Europe Day is the day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces on Tuesday, 8 May 1945. Russia and many former Soviet countries celebrate on 9 May, marking the end of World War II in Europe. Several countries observe public holidays on the day each year, also called Victory Over Fascism Day, Liberation Day or Victory Day. In the UK it is often abbreviated to VE Day, or V-E Day in the US, a term which existed as early as September 1944, in anticipation of victory. The end of all combat actions was specified as 23:01 Central European Time, which was already 9 May in eastern Europe, and thus several former Soviet bloc countries including Russia and Belarus, as well as some former Yugoslav countries like Serbia, celebrate on 9 May.

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

Wreath of flowers on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 2016 © Clément Gruin/cc-by-sa-4.0 Moscow 2015 © ProtoplasmaKid/cc-by-sa-4.0 8 May 1945 - Winston Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall in London © War Office official photographer, Major W. G. Horton Reims, France, 2010 © Terraner87 Reims, France, 2018 © G.Garitan/cc-by-sa-4.0 Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Capitol Flyover in Washington, D.C., 2015 © Djembayz/cc-by-sa-4.0
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8 May 1945 - Winston Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall in London © War Office official photographer, Major W. G. Horton
Upon the defeat of Germany, celebrations erupted throughout the western world, especially in the UK and North America. More than one million people celebrated in the streets throughout the UK to mark the end of the European part of the war. In London, crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by their daughters and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds. Churchill went from the palace to Whitehall where he addressed another large crowd:

God bless you all. This is your victory. In our long history, we have never seen a greater day than this. Everyone, man or woman, has done their best.

At this point he asked Ernest Bevin to come forward and share the applause. Bevin said: “No, Winston, this is your day”, and proceeded to conduct the people in the singing of For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. Later, Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to wander incognito among the crowds and take part in the celebrations. 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. Tempering the jubilation somewhat, both Churchill and Truman pointed out that the war against Japan had not yet been won. In his radio broadcast at 15:00 on 8 May, Churchill told the British people that: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing (as Japan) remains unsubdued”. In America, Truman broadcast at 09:00 and said it was “a victory only half won”.

Read more on Wikipedia Victory in Europe Day (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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