Victory in Europe Day

Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day (Great Britain) or V-E Day (North America), or simply as V-Day, is a day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces on the 8 May 1945.

On 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin. Germany's surrender, therefore, was authorised by his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz. The administration headed by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg Government. The act of military surrender was first signed at 02:41 on 7 May in SHAEF HQ at Reims,[1] and a slightly modified document was signed on 8 May in Berlin.

Most European countries celebrate the end of World War II on 8 May. Russia, Belarus, and Serbia celebrate on 9 May, as did several former Soviet bloc countries until after the fall of Communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union. Israel marks VE Day on 9 May as well as a result of the large number of immigrants from the former Soviet bloc, although it is not a public holiday. The term VE Day existed as early as September 1944,[2] in anticipation of victory.

Victory in Europe Day
Champs Elysées 8 mai 2015
VE Day 70th anniversary ceremony in Paris 2015
Also called
  • VE Day
  • V-E Day
Observed byEuropean states (see below)
SignificanceEnd of World War II in Europe
Date8 or 9 May 1945
Related toVictory over Japan Day, Victory Day


Churchill waves to crowds
Winston Churchill waving to crowds in Whitehall, London on the day he confirms that the war with Germany was over
VE DAY Piccadily 1945
Crowds gathering in celebration at Piccadilly Circus, London during VE Day in 1945
Field Marshall Keitel signs German surrender terms in Berlin 8 May 1945 - Restoration
Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signing the final surrender terms on 8 May 1945 in Berlin
Allied army positions on 10 May 1945
Final positions of the Allied armies, May 1945.
4 US MPs reading about German surrender
United States military policemen reading about the German surrender in the newspaper Stars and Stripes
Wedding cake, Buckingham palace 'poppy drop' during the 50th year VE - VJ day celebrations. MOD 45137359
Britain remembers the 50th anniversary in 1995 with a Lancaster bomber dropping poppies in front of Buckingham Palace

Upon the defeat of Germany, celebrations erupted throughout the western world, especially in Great Britain and North America. More than one million people celebrated in the streets throughout Great Britain to mark the end of the European part of the war. In London, crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds. Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to wander incognito among the crowds and take part in the celebrations.[3][4]

In the United States, the victory happened on President Harry Truman's 61st birthday.[5] He dedicated the victory to the memory of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died of a cerebral hemorrhage less than a month earlier, on 12 April.[6] Flags remained at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period.[7][8] Truman said of dedicating the victory to Roosevelt's memory and keeping the flags at half-staff that his only wish was "that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day".[6] Later that day, Truman said that the victory made it his most enjoyable birthday.[5] Massive celebrations took place in many American cities, especially in New York's Times Square.[9]

Tempering the jubilation somewhat, both Churchill and Truman pointed out that the war against Japan had not yet been won. In his radio broadcast at 15:00 on the 8th, Churchill told the British people that: "We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing (as Japan) remains unsubdued".[10] In America, Truman broadcast at 09:00 and said it was "a victory only half won".[11]

Soviet Victory Day

The instrument of surrender signed 7 May 1945 stipulated that all hostilities had to stop at 23:01 (CET), 8 May 1945, just an hour before midnight. Since it was already 9 May in the European part of the USSR, most post-Soviet states, including Russia celebrated Victory Day on 9 May. Since the end of Communism, all former Soviet bloc countries in Europe except Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Serbia have shifted to celebrate 8 May as the end of World War II, in line with the 7 May 1945 unconditional surrender document that Soviet and Russian leaders refused to recognise.

Commemorative public holidays

(May 8 unless otherwise stated)

See also


  1. ^ Hamilton, Charles (1996). Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich, Vol. 2. San José, CA: R. James Bender Publishing. pp. 285, 286. ISBN 978-0-912138-66-4.
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "VE Day". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Welcome to the Dunmow & District Branch of The Royal British Legion". The Royal British Legion. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  4. ^ "VE Day". County of Simcoe. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Truman Marks Birthday". The New York Times. May 9, 1945. p. 6.
  6. ^ a b "Victory Wreath From Truman Is Laid On Hyde Park Grave of War President". New York Times. Associated Press. May 9, 1945. p. 15.
  7. ^ "Army Extends Mourning Period". New York Times. Associated Press. May 12, 1945. p. 13.
  8. ^ United Press (May 15, 1945). "30 Days of Mourning For Roosevelt Ended". New York Times. p. 4.
  9. ^ Telfer, Kevin (2015). The Summer of '45. Islington: Aurum Press Ltd. p. 75. ISBN 978 1 78131 435 7.
  10. ^ Telfer, p. 33.
  11. ^ Telfer, p. 76.
  12. ^ "2020 May bank holiday will be moved to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day". GOV.UK. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  13. ^ Public holidays in Slovakia
  14. ^ Ukraine to mark both May 8 and May 9 this year – deputy PM, Interfax-Ukraine (24.03.2015))
  15. ^ Президент утвердил мероприятия по празднованию 70-й годовщины Победы и установил 8 мая Днем памяти и примирения Archived April 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, President of Ukraine (24.03.2015))
  16. ^ Victory Day (9 May)
  17. ^ Victory Day (9 May)

External links

2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade

The 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade was an armoured brigade of the Canadian Army that saw active service during World War II. The brigade was composed of the 6th, 10th and 27th Canadian Armoured regiments and saw service in northwest Europe, landing in Normandy on D-Day and remaining in combat up to Victory in Europe Day.

3rd Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

The 3rd Infantry Division was an infantry division of the German Army that fought in World War II. The division was established under the cover name Wehrgauleitung Frankfurt in 1934 by expanding the 3rd Division of the Reichswehr. It was redesignated Kommandant von Frankfurt shortly afterward, and took on its bona fide name when the formation of the Wehrmacht was announced in October 1935. In March 1939 the division took part in the invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia.

During World War II the division took part in the invasion of Poland in September 1939 where it was part of the German 4th Army. It then took part in the invasion of France in May 1940. In October that year it returned to Germany and was upgraded to a fully motorized division. (Most German divisions during the war had no transport for the infantry and used horses to tow their artillery; German industry could not turn out sufficient motor transport while also trying to meet other military requirements.)

Redesignated the 3rd Motorized Infantry Division it took part in Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, advancing on Leningrad under Army Group North. In October the division was transferred to Army Group Center for Operation Typhoon and the Battle of Moscow and the defensive battles of the winter. In mid-1942 it was transferred to Army Group South to take part in the summer offensive Fall Blau ("Case Blue"), and was ultimately caught up in the Battle of Stalingrad, where it was destroyed in the encirclement with the German 6th Army in February 1943.

It was reconstituted as the 3rd Panzergrenadier Division in March, absorbing the 386th Motorized Division in the process. It then fought on the Italian Front until the summer of 1944, when it was transferred to the Western Front to help re-establish the front line after the Allied breakout from the Normandy beachhead. Later in the year, it participated in the Battle of the Bulge and then in the defensive actions at Remagen, ultimately surrendering in the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945, shortly before Victory in Europe Day.

European theatre of World War II

The European theatre of World War II, also known as the Second European War, was an area of heavy fighting across Europe, starting with Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 and ending with the United States, the United Kingdom and France conquering most of Western Europe, the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe and Germany’s unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945 (Victory in Europe Day). The Allied powers fought the Axis powers on two major fronts (the Eastern Front and Western Front) as well as in a strategic bombing offensive and in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East theatre.

German Instrument of Surrender

The German Instrument of Surrender was the legal document which effected the extinction of Nazi Germany and ended World War II in Europe. The definitive text was signed in Karlshorst, Berlin, on the night of 8 May 1945 by representatives of the three armed services of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) and the Allied Expeditionary Force together with the Supreme High Command of the soviet Red Army, with further French and US representatives signing as witnesses. The signing took place 9 May 1945 at 00:16 local time.

An earlier version of the text had been signed in a ceremony in Reims in the early hours of 7 May 1945. In most of Europe, 8 May is celebrated as Victory in Europe Day; 9 May is celebrated as Victory Day in Russia, Belarus, Republika Srpska, Serbia and Israel.

There were three language versions of the surrender document – Russian, English and German – with the Russian and English versions proclaimed, in the text itself, as the only authoritative ones.

Guards Armoured Division

The Guards Armoured Division was an armoured division of the British Army during the Second World War. The division was created in the United Kingdom on 17 June 1941 during World War II from elements of the Guards units, the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards, and Welsh Guards.

The division remained in the United Kingdom, training, until 13 June 1944, when it landed several armoured command vehicles at Arromanches and lagered its advanced tactical headquarters in communication with GHQ awaiting the bulk of the armour Normandy, France, during Operation Overlord as part of VIII Corps where its first major engagement was Operation Goodwood, the attack by three armoured divisions towards Bourguebus Ridge in an attempt to break out of the Normandy beachhead. That was followed by Operation Bluecoat, the advance east of Caen as the Falaise pocket formed. Transferred to XXX Corps, the division liberated Brussels. It led the XXX Corps attack in Operation Market Garden, the ground forces' advance to relieve airborne troops aiming to seize the bridges up to Arnhem, capturing Nijmegen bridge in conjunction with American paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division. The Tac HQ reached Arnhem but was not able to seize the bridge because German anti tank guns were entrenched on the North side and the British airborne had surrendered or were too far away to help. During the Ardennes offensive, it was sent in bitterly cold weather, which forced the tanks to start their engines every hour to prevent the fuel and oil freezing, to the Meuse as a reserve in case the Germans broke through the American lines; some German tanks breaking through were stopped. It endured hard fighting in Operation Veritable, the advance towards the Rhine through the Reichswald, and again in the advance through Germany. The division existed until 12 June 1945, more than two months after Victory in Europe Day, when it was reorganised as an infantry division, the Guards Division, after almost exactly four years as an armoured division.

Herr Meets Hare

Herr Meets Hare is a 1945 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng. This short, not long before the collapse of the Third Reich, was the penultimate wartime themed cartoon from Warner Bros. (Draftee Daffy was the last) being released just under 4 months before Victory in Europe Day.

Irish neutrality during World War II

The policy of Irish neutrality during World War II was adopted by the Oireachtas at the instigation of the Taoiseach Éamon de Valera upon the outbreak of World War II in Europe. It was maintained throughout the conflict, in spite of several German air raids by aircraft that missed their intended British targets and attacks on Ireland's shipping fleet by Allies and Axis alike. De Valera refrained from joining either the Allies or Axis powers. While the possibilities of not only a German but also a British invasion were discussed in the Dáil, and either eventuality was prepared for, with the most detailed preparations being done in tandem with the Allies under Plan W, De Valera's ruling party, Fianna Fáil, supported his neutral policy for the duration of the war.

This period is known in the Republic of Ireland as "the Emergency", owing to the wording of the constitutional article employed to suspend normal government of the country.

Pursuing a policy of neutrality required attaining a balance between the strict observance of non-alignment and the taking of practical steps to repel or discourage an invasion from either of the two concerned parties.

Despite the official position of neutrality, there were many unpublicised contraventions of this, such as permitting the use of the Donegal Corridor to Allied military aircraft, and extensive co-operation between Allied and Irish intelligence, including exchanges of information, such as detailed weather reports of the Atlantic Ocean. For example, the decision to go ahead with the Normandy landings was decided by a weather report from Blacksod Bay, County Mayo.

No. 120 Squadron RAF

Number 120 Squadron or No. CXX Squadron is a squadron of the Royal Air Force which was established as a Royal Flying Corps unit late in World War I, disbanded a year after the end of the war, then re-established as a RAF Coastal Command squadron during World War II. Although disbanded again a month after Victory in Europe Day, during and after World War II it operated almost continuously, with maritime patrol aircraft; most recently with the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland until the type's withdrawal in March 2010. The squadron was disbanded again the following year. No. 120 Squadron stood up again in April 2018 at RAF Lossiemouth and will become the first squadron to be equipped with the Boeing Poseidon MRA1 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft in 2019.

Philip Roberts (British Army officer)

Major General George Philip Bradley Roberts, (5 November 1906 – 5 November 1997), better known as "Pip", was a senior officer of the British Army who served with distinction during the Second World War, most notably as General Officer Commanding of the 11th Armoured Division (nicknamed the "Black Bull") throughout the campaign in Northwestern Europe from June 1944 until Victory in Europe Day in May 1945.

Potsdam Conference

The Potsdam Conference (German: Potsdamer Konferenz) was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 17 July to 2 August 1945. (In some older documents, it is also referred to as the Berlin Conference of the Three Heads of Government of the USSR, USA, and UK.) The participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, represented respectively by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee, and President Harry S. Truman.

Stalin, Churchill, and Truman gathered to decide how to administer Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier on 8 May (Victory in Europe Day). The goals of the conference also included the establishment of postwar order, peace treaty issues, and countering the effects of the war.

Public holidays in Israel

Note: for exact dates in the Gregorian calendar see Jewish holidays 2000-2050.

Public holidays in Israel refers to national holidays officially recognized by the Knesset, Israel's parliament. The State of Israel has adopted most traditional religious Jewish holidays as part of its national calendar, while also having established new modern holiday observances since its founding in 1948. Of the religious and modern holidays below, some are bank holidays / federal holidays requiring all schools, government institutions, financial sector, and most retailers in Jewish Israeli society to be closed, while other holidays are marked as days of note or memorial remembrances with no breaks in public or private sector activities.

As is the case with all religious Jewish holidays, most public holidays in Israel generally begin and end at sundown, and follow the Hebrew calendar. Because of this, most holidays in Israel fall on a different Gregorian calendar date each year, which syncs every 19 years with the Hebrew calendar.

Shabbat, the weekly Sabbath day of rest, in Israel begins every Friday evening just before sundown, ending Saturday evening just after sundown. Most of the Israeli workforce, including schools, banks, public transportation, government offices, and retailers within Jewish Israeli society are shut down during these approximately 25 hours, with some non-Jewish retailers and most non-kosher restaurants still open.

SS Northeastern Victory

February 2017

The SS Northeastern Victory was a cargo ship built during World War II, under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. The Northeastern Victory (MCV-735) was a type VC2-S-AP2 Victory ship built by Richmond Shipyards|Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard 2, of Richmond, California. The cargo ship was the 703rd ship built. The Ship was laid on March 28, 1945. The ship was christened on June 30, 1945. SS Northeastern Victory was an armed cargo ship named after a Northeastern University in Boston. She was built at the Oregon Shipbuilding yards in just 96 days. The 10,600-ton ship was constructed for the Maritime Commission. The American-Hawaiian SS Company operated her under the United States Merchant Marine act for the War Shipping Administration.Victory ships were designed to supersede the earlier Liberty Ships. Unlike Liberty ships, Victory ships were designed to serve the U.S. Navy after the war and also last longer. The Victory ship differed from a Liberty ship in that they were: faster, longer and wider, taller, and had a thinner stack set farther toward the superstructure. They also had a long raised forecastle. Northeastern Victory served in the Atlantic Ocean, taking supplies to troops still in Europe after Victory in Europe Day, on 8 May 1945.

Veterans Day (Norway)

Veterans Day (Norwegian: Veterandagen) in Norway on May 8 was first observed in 2011. It recognizes the efforts of veterans of World War II, United Nations peacekeeping initiatives and other international operations.

It was instituted in 2010 by Norway's Cabinet and falls on Victory in Europe Day, May 8. The choice of day has been criticized by Bjørnar Moxnes, leader of political party Rødt, saying one must differentiate between a defensive fight against an occupation force and offensive military operations outside Norway. The Norges Forsvarsforening (NFF) [Norwegian Defence Association] wants a debate about the "form and content" of the day.

Victory Day

Victory Day is a name of different public holidays in various countries to commemorate victories in important battles or wars in the countries' history.

Victory in Europe Day (Israel)

Victory in Europe Day is an Israeli national day of remembrance celebrated annually on the ninth of May, to commemorate victory over the Nazis, ending World War II in Europe.

War Cross (Norway)

The War Cross with Sword (Norwegian Bokmål: Krigskorset med Sverd, Norwegian Nynorsk: Krigskrossen med Sverd) is the highest ranking Norwegian gallantry decoration. It is awarded for extraordinary brave actions or extraordinary leadership during combat. A recipient deemed worthy of additional citations will receive up to an additional two swords on the medal ribbon in addition to the "standard" single sword. Additional citations are rare: Gunnar Sønsteby is the only person to have received the War Cross with three swords (more appropriately known as "War Cross with sword and two swords").

Wilfred Sénéchal

Joseph Henry Wilfred Sénéchal MM, BCL (August 7, 1918 – February 11, 2000) was a Canadian lawyer, a decorated World War II soldier, and a politician.

Known by Wilfred, he was born in Campbellton, New Brunswick. Immediately upon the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the eighteen-year-old Wilfred Sénéchal volunteered for duty with the Canadian Army, serving until his discharge in 1945 in the months following Victory in Europe Day. Sénéchal served overseas with the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps as a member of New Brunswick's Carelton and York Regiment. He was part of the Dieppe Raid in which more than sixty percent of the men who made it ashore were either killed, wounded, or captured. The British government awarded him the Military Medal for bravery in battle.

On returning home, Wilfred Sénéchal pursued a secondary education, graduating in 1954 from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Civil Law degree.

Your Job in Germany

Your Job In Germany is a short film made for the United States War Department in 1945 just before Victory in Europe Day (VE). It was shown to US soldiers about to go on occupation duty in Germany. The film was made by the military film unit commanded by Frank Capra and was written by Theodor Geisel, better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss.


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