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V-E Day

Churchill in London celebrates VE Day, May 8, 1945, WWII
Churchill waves to crowds in London as they celebrate VE Day, May 8, 1945

As we have been long waiting for the final victory in the battle of Covid 19, we must remember the defeat of Germany upon which joy, happiness, relief, and most of all celebrations erupted throughout the western world exactly 76 years ago. Millions celebrated in the streets to mark the end of the European part of the war. In the United States, the event coincided with President Harry Truman's birthday, but he dedicated the victory to the memory of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died in April. Great celebrations took place in many American cities, especially in New York's Times Square.

Today Victory in Europe Day is the day celebrating the formal acceptance of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender by the Allies on Tuesday, 8 May 1945, marking the end of WWII in Europe. Since Adolf Hitler had already committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin, Germany's surrender was authorized by his successor, Karl Dönitz. I have led several tours to the two school buildings – today museums – where the act of military surrender took place. The first was signed at 02:41 on May 7 in SHAEF HQ at Reims, France while a second one – for the request of Stalin – a slightly modified document, was signed at 21:20 local time on May 8 in Karlshorst, Berlin.

Field Marshall Keitel, German surrender Berlin, 1945, WWII
Field Marshall Keitel signs German surrender terms in Berlin

Extract from the German Instrument of Surrender, Article 2: “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...”

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