Victory in Europe Day

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Victory in Europe Day
Churchill waves to crowds.jpg
Winston Churchill waving to crowds in Whitehall on 8 May celebrating the end of the war
Also called
  • VE Day
  • V-E Day
Observed byEuropean states (see below)
Significance End of World War II in Europe
Date8 or 9 May 1945
Related to Victory over Japan Day, Victory Day

Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day (United Kingdom) or V-E Day (North America), is a day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces on 8 May 1945.


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, [1] and a slightly modified document was signed on 8 May in Berlin.

Most European countries celebrate the end of World War II on 8 May. Russia, Belarus, and Serbia celebrate on 9 May, as did several former Soviet bloc countries. Israel also marks VE Day on 9 May, as a result of the large number of immigrants from the former Soviet bloc, although it is not a public holiday. The term VE Day existed as early as September 1944, [2] in anticipation of victory.


VE DAY Piccadily 1945.jpg
Crowds gathering in celebration at Piccadilly Circus, London during VE Day in 1945
Field Marshall Keitel signs German surrender terms in Berlin 8 May 1945 - Restoration.jpg
Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signing the final surrender terms on 8 May 1945 in Berlin
Allied army positions on 10 May 1945.png
Final positions of the Allied armies, May 1945.
4 US MPs reading about German surrender
United States military policemen reading about the German surrender in the newspaper Stars and Stripes
Wedding cake, Buckingham palace 'poppy drop' during the 50th year VE - VJ day celebrations. MOD 45137359.jpg
Great Britain remembers the 50th anniversary in 1995 with a Lancaster bomber dropping poppies in front of Buckingham Palace

Upon the defeat of Germany, celebrations erupted throughout the western world, especially in Great Britain and North America. More than one million people celebrated in the streets throughout Great Britain 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 Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds. 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. [3] [4]

In the United States, the event coincided with President Harry Truman's 61st birthday. [5] 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. [6] Flags remained at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period. [7] [8] 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". [6] Later that day, Truman said that the victory made it his most enjoyable birthday. [5] Great celebrations took place in many American cities, especially in New York's Times Square. [9]

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 the 8th, Churchill told the British people that: "We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing (as Japan) remains unsubdued". [10] In America, Truman broadcast at 09:00 and said it was "a victory only half won". [11]

Soviet Victory Day

The instrument of surrender signed 7 May 1945 stipulated that all hostilities must cease at 23:01 (CET), 8 May 1945, just an hour before midnight. Since that time would be already 9 May in the USSR, most Soviet states including Russia celebrated Victory Day on 9 May. Since the end of Communism, the former Soviet bloc in Europe, except Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Serbia, have shifted to celebrate where the date is celebrated, such as on major anniversaries, 8 May as the end of World War II, in line with the 7 May 1945 unconditional surrender document that Soviet and Russian leaders refused to recognise.

Commemorative public holidays

(8 May unless otherwise stated)

Former states

See also

Related Research Articles

Victory Day (9 May) Public holidays in Russia and ex-USSR

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Võidupüha Estonian holiday

Võidupüha or Victory Day in English or the Victory Day in the Battle of Võnnu in Russian is a public holiday in Estonia which takes on June 23. The holiday has been celebrated since 1934 and marks the victory of Estonia and neighboring Latvia in the Battle of Cēsis against the Baltische Landeswehr on June 23, 1919.

Public holidays in Ukraine Wikipedia list article

Public holidays in Ukraine

Truman Day

Truman Day is a commemorative holiday to celebrate the birth of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. It is celebrated May 8 in Missouri as a state holiday, according to Missouri Revised Statutes Section 9-035 Public Holidays and nationally by the United States Democratic Party. Since Truman was the only president to come from Missouri, this day is special for this state. However, after the financial crisis of 2008-2010, there were unsuccessful moves by the state government to abolish the holiday. For Missouri state employees, this is a paid holiday.

Liberation Day (Channel Islands) Public holiday in Jersey

In Guernsey and Jersey, Liberation Day is celebrated each year on 9 May, to mark the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II. It is celebrated as Guernsey and Jersey's national day.

1965 Moscow Victory Day Parade

The Moscow Victory Day Parade of 1965 was held on 9 May 1965 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945. The parade marks the Soviet Union's victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Victory Day (United States)

Victory Day is a holiday observed in the United States state of Rhode Island with state offices closed on the second Monday of August. Furthermore, in 2017, WPRI-TV claimed that Arkansas and Rhode Island were the only two states to ever celebrate the holiday, though Arkansas's name for the holiday was "World War II Memorial Day."

Victory Day over Nazism in World War II

Victory Day over Nazism in World War II or Victory Day is a national holiday and a day off in Ukraine. It was first celebrated on 9 May 2015 and follows the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation on May 8. The holiday replaced the Soviet "Victory Day", which was celebrated in the post-Soviet Union states, including Ukraine, until 2014 inclusive.

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Liberation Day (Ukraine)

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Border Guards Day

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The Moscow Victory Day Parade of 1990 was held on May 9, 1990 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War. The parade was inspected by the USSR Minister of Defense Marshal Dmitry Yazov, and was commanded by the Commander of the Moscow Military District Colonel general Nikolai Vasilyevich Kalinin. 12.5 thousand people and 429 units of equipment took part in the parade. It was the last parade in the USSR on Red Square, dedicated to the victory in the Great Patriotic War. This is the first Victory Day parade which does not depict Vladimir Lenin's potrait on the Red Square and this practice begins until now. This parade also features a float featuring the Soldier-liberator Statue, the first-of-its-kind for a Soviet Victory day Parade.

Police Day

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The 2020 Moscow Victory Day Parade is an upcoming military parade that will take place on Moscow's Red Square on 9 May 2020 to commemorate the 75th Diamond Jubilee of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in the Second World War in 1945. The parade will mark the Soviet Union's victory in the Great Patriotic War on the very day on the signing of the German act of unconditional surrender to the victorious Allies in Berlin, on the very midnight of May 9, 1945. This historic parade dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Soviet and larger Allied victory in the Eastern Front of the Second World War against Nazi Germany and her allies will be held on a special scale, bigger than every other parade before it.


  1. Hamilton, Charles (1996). Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich, Vol. 2. San José, CA: R. James Bender Publishing. pp. 285, 286. ISBN   978-0-912138-66-4.
  2. Harper, Douglas. "VE Day". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  3. "Welcome to the Dunmow & District Branch of The Royal British Legion". The Royal British Legion. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  4. "VE Day". County of Simcoe. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  5. 1 2 "Truman Marks Birthday". The New York Times. 9 May 1945. p. 6.
  6. 1 2 "Victory Wreath From Truman Is Laid On Hyde Park Grave of War President". New York Times. Associated Press. 9 May 1945. p. 15.
  7. "Army Extends Mourning Period". New York Times. Associated Press. 12 May 1945. p. 13.
  8. United Press (15 May 1945). "30 Days of Mourning For Roosevelt Ended". New York Times. p. 4.
  9. Telfer, Kevin (2015). The Summer of '45. Islington: Aurum Press Ltd. p. 75. ISBN   978-1-78-131-435-7.
  10. Telfer, p. 33.
  11. Telfer, p. 76.
  12. "2020 May bank holiday will be moved to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day". GOV.UK. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.