On May 8, 1945, all of Europe celebrated V-E Day, for the victory in Europe after the surrender of the Nazi menace in World War II. Germany’s unconditional surrender came quickly after Adolph Hitler killed himself on April 30. The articles of surrender were signed on May 7 in Reims, France and on May 8 in Berlin.
Representatives of the National Socialist Workers Party had surrendered to Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower at Reims, France, on May 7. Japan would fight on until the end of summer, but the war in Europe and Africa was over. America would fight on until the unconditional surrender of Japan.
In Europe, the war had started in seven years earlier, with the German annex of Austria in 1938. The United States, of course, had entered the war in 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Throughout the war, leaders had made clear that the only objective sought was total victory.
The Washington Post blog points out that there was a separatist movement in Ukraine fighting against Stalin for Ukrainian independence in World War II, which the Russians call “The Great Patriotic War.” Russians celebrate V-E Day on May 9.
World War II memorials should be crowded today as we rejoice in the freedom we secured in the war. In 2013, a crowd of about 100 people attended a ceremony at the National World War II Memorial. Speakers highlighted the sacrifices made by American GIs who fought to defeat the forces of fascism and tyranny.