National East Meets West Day

National East Meets West Day is a holiday observed annually on April 25th. It commemorates the day when the Eastern front of Allied forces met the Western front on the banks of the River Elbe in April of 1945.

This historical event is widely considered to be the day when the end of WWII could be seen by Allied forces. This holiday is a great day for people to reflect on the World War and all of the sacrifices that had to be made by Allied forces in order to win that war.

The History of National East Meets West Day

In April of 1945, the first contact between American and Soviet patrols occurred near the small town of Strehla in Saxony, Germany. This is when U.S. First Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue crossed the River Elbe in a boat with three men of an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon.

On the east bank of the river, they met forward elements of the Soviet Guards Rifle Regiment of the First Ukrainian Front that was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Gordeyev. On the 26th of April, Emil F. Reinhardt—the 69th Infantry Division of the First Army—and Vladimir Rusakov—the 58th Guards Rifle Division of the 5th Guards Army—met at Torgau.

Arrangements were then made to host a photo opportunity on April 27th that showed Second Lieutenant William Robertson shaking hands with Lieutenant Alexander Silvashko. This photo was released with a statement issued in London, Washington, and Moscow that assured the world that the Allies were dedicated to the complete destruction of the Third Reich.

Observing National East Meets West Day

On this day, everyone should take the time to learn something new about World War II. For some people, it might be the encounter between American and Soviet forces on the River Elbe, but for others, it might be some other aspect of WWII that they need to learn about. History buffs should also use the hashtag #NationalEastMeetsWestDay on their social media accounts to spread the word about this holiday.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 25 Thursday
Next year (2025)
April 25 Friday
Last year (2023)
April 25 Tuesday
Culture & History