Victory in Europe Day

  (Redirected from V-E day)

Victory in Europe Day is the day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces on Tuesday, 8th May 1945, marking the end of World War II in Europe. Several countries observe public holidays on the day each year, also called Liberation Day or Victory Day. In the UK it is often abbreviated to VE Day, or V-E Day in the US, a term which existed as early as September 1944,[1] in anticipation of victory.

Victory in Europe Day
Churchill waves to crowds.jpg
Winston Churchill waving to crowds in Whitehall on 8 May celebrating the end of the war
Also called
  • VE Day
  • V-E Day
Observed by Full list see below
TypeInternational
SignificanceEnd of World War II in Europe
Date8 May
Next time8 May 2021 (2021-05-08)
FrequencyAnnual
First time8 May 1945
Related toVictory over Japan Day, Victory Day (9 May) and Europe Day

Several former Soviet bloc countries like Russia, Belarus, and Serbia celebrate on 9 May as the end of all combat actions was specified at 23:01 Central European Time, which was already 9 May in the USSR. Israel also marks VE Day on 9 May, as a result of the large number of immigrants from the former Soviet bloc, although it is not a public holiday.

HistoryEdit

Crowds gathering in celebration at Piccadilly Circus, London during VE Day on 8 May 1945
Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signing the final surrender terms on 8 May 1945 in Berlin
Final positions of the Allied armies, May 1945.
United States military policemen reading about the German surrender in the newspaper Stars and Stripes

Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, had committed suicide on 30 April during the Battle of Berlin and Germany's surrender 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,[2] and a slightly modified document, considered the definitive German Instrument of Surrender, was signed on 8 May 1945 in Karlshorst, Berlin at 21:20 local time.

The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 23.01 hours Central European time on 8 May 1945...

Upon the defeat of Germany, celebrations erupted throughout the western world, especially in the UK and North America. More than one million people celebrated in the streets throughout the UK 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 their daughters and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds. Churchill went from the palace to Whitehall where he addressed another large crowd:[3]

God bless you all. This is your victory. In our long history, we have never seen a greater day than this. Everyone, man or woman, has done their best.

At this point he asked Ernest Bevin to come forward and share the applause. Bevin said: "No, Winston, this is your day", and proceeded to conduct the people in the singing of For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.[3] Later, 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.[4]

In the United States, the event coincided with 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] Great 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 8 May, Churchill told the British people that: "We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing (as Japan) remains unsubdued".[10][11] In America, Truman broadcast at 09:00 and said it was "a victory only half won".[12]

Soviet Victory DayEdit

The instrument of surrender signed 7 May 1945 stipulated that all hostilities must cease at 23:01 (CET), 8 May 1945. Since that point in time would be on 9 May in local time in the USSR, most Soviet states including Russia celebrated Victory Day on 9 May.[13][14]

National celebrationsEdit

VE Day is celebrated across European nations as public holidays and national observances.

List of associated holidays
Country Holiday name Date Type Notes
  Armenia Victory and Peace Day 9 May National public [15]
Shushi Liberation Day 9 May National public It is celebrated jointly with VE Day
  Azerbaijan Victory Day 9 May National public [15]
  Bailiwick of Guernsey Liberation Day, Guernsey 9 May Regional public British Channel Islands have three Liberation Days: 9 May in Jersey and Guernsey;[16] 10 May in Sark;[17] and 16 May in Alderney
Liberation Day, Sark 10 May Regional public [17]
Liberation Day, Alderney 16 May Regional public [16]
  Belarus Victory Day 9 May National public [18]
  Bosnia and Herzegovina Victory Day 9 May Regional public Public holiday only in Republika Srpska but celebrated across the nation[19]
  Estonia Remembrance Day 8 May National commemorative Not a public holiday; commemorative services are held during the day.[20]
  Czech Republic Victory Day 8 May National public As Den vítězství (Day of Victory) or Den osvobození (Day of Liberation)[21][22]
  France VE Day 8 May National public Orléans simultaneously celebrates both VE Day and the anniversary of the Siege of Orléans being lifted by French forces led by Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years War on this date.[citation needed]
  Georgia Victory over Fascism Day 9 May National public As "ფაშიზმზე გამარჯვების დღე" (Victory over Fascism Day)[23][24]
  Israel VE Day 9 May National commemorative Considered a national day of remembrance.[25]
  Jersey Liberation Day 9 May Regional public [26]
  Kazakhstan Victory Day 9 May National public [27]
  Kyrgyzstan Victory Day 9 May National public [15]
  Latvia Remembrance Day 8 May National commemorative As Nacisma sagrāves un Otrā pasaules kara upuru piemiņas diena (The Crushing of Nazism and Commemoration Day of Victims of World War II). Not a public holiday; commemorative services are held during the day.[28]
  Lithuania Remembrance Day 8 May National commemorative As Antrojo pasaulinio karo aukų atminimo diena (Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the World War II).[29] Not a public holiday; commemorative services are held by the President and other officials.
  Moldova Victory Day or Europe Day 9 May National public [15][30]
  Norway Liberation Day 8 May National commemorative as "Frigjøringsdagen" (Liberation Day) and The National Veterans Day, an official flag day, not a public holiday.[31]
  Russia Victory Day 9 May National public as "День Победы" (Victory Day)[32][33]
  Serbia Europe Day 9 May National public [34]
  Slovakia Victory over Fascism Day 8 May National public [35]
  Tajikistan Victory Day 9 May National public [15]
  Ukraine Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation 8 May National commemorative [36]
Victory over Fascism Day 9 May National public [37]
  United Kingdom Victory in Europe Day 8 May National commemorative VE Day is not an annual public holiday because of the proximity of the May Day bank holiday on the first Monday in May. In 1995 and 2020 the bank holiday was moved from the preceding Monday to 8 May to commemorate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of VE Day, respectively.[38] [39]
  Uzbekistan Day of Remembrance and Honour 9 May National public [40] Known as "День Памяти и Почестей"; before 1999, it was known as "Галаба куни" or "День победы" (Victory Day).[citation needed]

Other commemorative eventsEdit

Former statesEdit

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Hermiston, Roger (2016). All Behind You, Winston – Churchill's Great Coalition, 1940–45. London: Aurum Press. ISBN 978-17-81316-64-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Telfer, Kevin (2015). The Summer of '45. Islington: Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 978-17-81314-35-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "VE Day". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  2. ^ Hamilton, Charles (1996). Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich, Vol. 2. San Jose, CA: R. James Bender Publishing. pp. 285, 286. ISBN 978-0-912138-66-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  3. ^ a b Hermiston 2016, p. 355.
  4. ^ Barr, Sabrina (8 May 2020). "How Princess Elizabeth celebrated VE Day". The Independent. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Truman Marks Birthday". The New York Times. 9 May 1945. p. 6.
  6. ^ a b "Victory Wreath From Truman Is Laid On Hyde Park Grave of War President". New York Times. Associated Press. 9 May 1945. p. 15.
  7. ^ "Army Extends Mourning Period". New York Times. Associated Press. 12 May 1945. p. 13.
  8. ^ United Press (15 May 1945). "30 Days of Mourning For Roosevelt Ended". New York Times. p. 4.
  9. ^ Telfer 2015, p. 75.
  10. ^ Telfer 2015, p. 33.
  11. ^ Hermiston 2016, p. 356.
  12. ^ Telfer 2015, p. 76.
  13. ^ Earl F. Ziemke, 1990, Washington DC, CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY, CHAPTER XV:The Victory Sealed Page 258 last 2 paragraphs
  14. ^ Parfitt, Tom (9 May 2015). "Russia's Victory Day Parade marks new East-West divide". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Victory Day around the world in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  16. ^ a b "The History of Liberation Day in Guernsey". www.visitguernsey.com.
  17. ^ a b "Sark celebrates Liberation Day". ITV News.
  18. ^ "National Holidays, Belarus | Belarus.by". www.belarus.by. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Bosnia and Herzegovina Public Holidays 2019". PublicHolidays.eu. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  20. ^ https://www.valitsus.ee/en/news/statement-government-republic-estonia
  21. ^ "8. květen – Den vítězství | Svátky Centrum.cz". svatky.centrum.cz. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  22. ^ "National Holidays in Czech Republic in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  23. ^ "9 მაისი, როგორც ფაშიზმზე გამარჯვების დღე, საქართველოშიც აღინიშნა". რადიო თავისუფლება (in Georgian). Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  24. ^ "National Holidays in Georgia in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Knesset Creates Victory in Europe Day". Knesset. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  26. ^ Jersey, States of. "Government of Jersey". gov.je.
  27. ^ "National Holidays in Kazakhstan in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  28. ^ Latvia’s National holidays and Remembrance days
  29. ^ http://genocid.lt/centras/en/511/c/
  30. ^ "Europe Day around the world in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  31. ^ Frigjøringen Store norske leksikon in Norwegian
  32. ^ "National Holidays in Russia in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  33. ^ "Победа! 75 лет - официальный сайт". www.may9.ru. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  34. ^ "Europe Day in Serbia in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  35. ^ "National Holidays in Slovakia in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  36. ^ "Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Ukraine in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  37. ^ "Victory Day (in lieu) in Ukraine in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  38. ^ "UK VE Day National Commemorative Day".
  39. ^ "2020 May bank holiday will be moved to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day". GOV.UK. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  40. ^ "Memorial Day in Uzbekistan in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  41. ^ Schereck, Sabine (8 May 2020). "Berlin marks end of WW2 with unprecedented holiday". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  42. ^ Anonymous (16 June 2016). "Europe Day". European Union. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  43. ^ "May 8, 1945: Total defeat or day of liberation? | DW | 05.05.2020". Deutsche Welle (www.dw.com). Retrieved 8 May 2020.

External linksEdit

  Media related to VE Day at Wikimedia Commons