Victory in Europe Day

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Victory in Europe Day
Champs Elysees 8 mai 2015.JPG
VE Day 70th anniversary ceremony in Paris 2015
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 (Great Britain) 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 the 8 May 1945.

Allies of World War II Grouping of the victorious countries of World War II

The Allies of World War II, called the "United Nations" from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

An unconditional surrender is a surrender in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times, unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law. Announcing that only unconditional surrender is acceptable puts psychological pressure on a weaker adversary, but may also prolong hostilities. Perhaps the most notable unconditional surrender was by the Axis powers in World War II.

Contents

On 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin. Germany's surrender, therefore, 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.

Adolf Hitler Leader of Germany from 1934 to 1945

Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.

Führer is a German word meaning "leader" or "guide". As a political title it is associated with the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Nazi Germany cultivated the Führerprinzip, and Hitler was generally known as just der Führer.

Death of Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitlers death

Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party, Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and Führer ("Leader") of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. He killed himself by gunshot on 30 April 1945 in his Führerbunker in Berlin. Eva Braun, his wife of one day, committed suicide with him by taking cyanide. In accordance with Hitler's prior written and verbal instructions, that afternoon their remains were carried up the stairs through the bunker's emergency exit, doused in petrol, and set alight in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the bunker. Records in the Soviet archives show that their burned remains were recovered and interred in successive locations until 1946. They were exhumed again and cremated in 1970, and the ashes were scattered.

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 until after the fall of Communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union. Israel marks VE Day on 9 May as well 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.

Celebrations

Churchill waves to crowds.jpg
Winston Churchill waving to crowds in Whitehall, London on the day he confirms that the war with Germany was over
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 army.mil-2007-05-07-132957.jpg
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
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]

Trafalgar Square Public space and tourist attraction in central London

Trafalgar Square is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain that took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.

Buckingham Palace Official London residence and principal workplace of the British monarch

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.

George VI King of the United Kingdom

George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death on 6 February 1952. He was the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth.

In the United States, the victory happened on 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] Massive celebrations took place in many American cities, especially in New York's Times Square. [9]

Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd president of the United States

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the Democratic party, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century. Though he has been subject to substantial criticism, he is generally rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Times Square Neighborhood in Manhattan in New York City, New York

Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center and neighborhood in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York City at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. It stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements, Times Square is sometimes referred to as "The Crossroads of the World", "The Center of the Universe", "the heart of The Great White Way", and "the heart of the world". One of the world's busiest pedestrian areas, it is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Times Square is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days.

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 had to stop at 23:01 (CET), 8 May 1945, just an hour before midnight. Since it was already 9 May in the European part of the USSR, most post-Soviet states, including Russia celebrated Victory Day on 9 May. Since the end of Communism, all former Soviet bloc countries in Europe except Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Serbia have shifted to celebrate 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

(May 8 unless otherwise stated)

See also

Related Research Articles

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Victory Day is a holiday that commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. It was first inaugurated in the 15 republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the German Instrument of Surrender late in the evening on 8 May 1945. The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin. Though the official inauguration occurred in 1945 the holiday became a non-labour day only in 1965 and only in certain Soviet republics.

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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.

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References

  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". www.simcoe.ca. County of Simcoe. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  5. 1 2 "Truman Marks Birthday". The New York Times. May 9, 1945. p. 6.
  6. 1 2 "Victory Wreath From Truman Is Laid On Hyde Park Grave of War President". New York Times. Associated Press. May 9, 1945. p. 15.
  7. "Army Extends Mourning Period". New York Times. Associated Press. May 12, 1945. p. 13.
  8. United Press (May 15, 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 78131 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.
  13. Public holidays in Slovakia
  14. Ukraine to mark both May 8 and May 9 this year – deputy PM, Interfax-Ukraine (24.03.2015))
  15. Президент утвердил мероприятия по празднованию 70-й годовщины Победы и установил 8 мая Днем памяти и примирения Archived April 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine , President of Ukraine (24.03.2015))
  16. Victory Day (9 May)
  17. Victory Day (9 May)