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Nat Geo premieres 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day specials

Donald Bertino was a Private First Class in the U.S. Army, and part of the 131st AAA (Anti-Aircraft Artillery) Gun Battalion. His unit supported the 9th Army in the Battle of the Bulge, and he attended the underground Christmas mass on the outskirts of Maastricht, Netherlands. (National Geographic/Ren Heijnen)
May 21, 2020

On Thursday, May 21, National Geographic is paying tribute to the 75th anniversary of the historic Victory in Europe Day with a full day of special programming, including two new specials featuring stories from the frontlines.

Starting at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST), Nat Geo will premiere “WWII in Europe: Voices from the Front.” Then, at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. CST), the network is premiering another new feature called, “Heroes of the Sky: The Mighty Eight Air Force.”

“WWII in Europe: Voices from the Front” will be narrated by ABC News’ Bob Woodruff and features first-person accounts from some World War II veterans, offering viewers a chance to hear from some of the people that forever changed the world. The show will feature rarely seen archival footage and photographs and dozens of interviews.

“Heroes of the Sky: The Mighty Eight Air Force” is a two-hour feature of an epic story about the legendary airmen who shifted the fate of World War II. The Eighth Air Force, established in 1942, was called into action after the attack on Pearl Harbor and entered the brutal air war over Europe as Nazi Germany occupied most of its land.

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The feature will show recollections of the brave men from the U.S. Eighth Air Force who took flight, integrating the airmen’s own words from personal diary entries, letters to loved ones and previous interviews. The special will also feature film from more than 1,000 hours of rare and never-before-seen intimate footage.

On May 8, 1945, the Allies formally accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany, ending the war in Europe. It wouldn’t be until Sept. 2, 1945 — the day after the United States hit Japan with two nuclear bombs — that the United States’ saw the end of World War II on the other side of the world.

But, the historic May 8, 1945 day, which President Harry S. Truman called “a solemn but glorious hour,” became known as Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day. Millions of people across Europe celebrated the victory, as years of devastating war cost millions of lives and the destruction of an entire continent.

“We look at history in order to understand our past and inform our future,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president of global unscripted entertainment at National Geographic. “At National Geographic, we combine our trademark access and our commitment to historical accuracy to deliver authentic, meaningful content to our viewers. As we approach the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, it’s more important than ever to revisit and remember this crucial time in world history and to ensure that these stories live on for generations to come.”