Victory in Europe Day
Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day as it is otherwise known, is a holiday observed on May 8th worldwide. In 1945, it was celebrated as a public holiday in the United States to rejoice in the formal acceptance of the Allies’ surrender from Nazi Germany on May 7th, 1945. Although it has not been observed since 1945 in the U.S., many countries around the world still observe it. However, not all of them celebrate it on May 8th.
History of Victory in Europe Day
On May 7th, 1945, Germany officially surrendered to the Allies, thereby bringing an end to World War II. Since Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in April of that year, General Alfred Jodl signed the documents of surrender for Nazi Germany in Reims, France, a document that became effective on May 8th, 1945.
This resulted in May 8th being declared Victory in Europe Day in the United States and Europe. Although it is no longer officially celebrated in the U.S., many European countries do celebrate this holiday. In 1945, Victory in Europe Day coincided with the birthday of then-President Harry Truman. He took the opportunity to dedicate the day to his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had died less than a month earlier. Massive celebrations erupted all over the country, from Los Angeles to New York.
Victory in Europe Day Customs & Traditions
Victory in Europe Day is not a public holiday in the United States but is celebrated in France as Victoire, in Slovakia as Victory Over Fascism Day, and in Norway as Liberation Day. In many other countries around the world, the surrender of Germany is celebrated, but it isn’t celebrated on May 8th. For instance, in Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia, it is not celebrated until May 9th.
That’s because German and Soviet forces continued to clash for two days following the official signing of the surrender documents by Germany. The Soviets lost half a thousand more soldiers in Silesia before the Germans formally surrendered on May 9th. It was then that Stalin spoke on a radio broadcast and acknowledged that the Nazis had been defeated and that the war was over.