|Victory in Europe Day|
Winston Churchill waving to crowds in Whitehall on 8 May celebrating the end of the war
|Observed by||see belowFull list|
|Significance||End of World War II in Europe|
|Next time||8 May 2021|
|First time||8 May 1945|
|Related to||Victory over Japan Day, Victory Day (9 May) and Europe 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, 8 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, in anticipation of victory.
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.
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, 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...— German Instrument of Surrender, Article 2
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:
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. 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.
In the United States, the event coincided with President Harry Truman's 61st birthday. 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. Flags remained at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period. 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". Later that day, Truman said that the victory made it his most enjoyable birthday. Great celebrations took place in many American cities, especially in New York's Times Square.
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". In America, Truman broadcast at 09:00 and said it was "a victory only half won".
Soviet Victory Day
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.
VE Day and associated anniversaries are celebrated across European nations as public holidays and national observances.
|Armenia||Victory and Peace Day||9 May||National public|||
|Shushi Liberation Day||9 May||National public||It is celebrated jointly with VE Day|
|Azerbaijan||Victory Day||9 May||National public|||
|Bailiwick of Guernsey||Liberation Day, Guernsey||9 May||Regional public||British Channel Islands have three Liberation Days: 9 May in Jersey and Guernsey; 10 May in Sark; and 16 May in Alderney|
|Liberation Day, Sark||10 May||Regional public|||
|Liberation Day, Alderney||16 May||Regional public|||
|Belarus||Victory Day||9 May||National public|||
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Victory Day||9 May||Regional public||Public holiday only in Republika Srpska but celebrated across the nation|
|Denmark||Liberation Day||5 May||National commemorative||As "Danmarks befrielse" (Liberation Day)|
|Estonia||Remembrance Day||8 May||National commemorative||Not a public holiday; commemorative services are held during the day. |
|Czech Republic||Victory Day||8 May||National public||As Den vítězství (Day of Victory) or Den osvobození (Day of Liberation)|
|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.|
|Georgia||Victory over Fascism Day||9 May||National public||As "ფაშიზმზე გამარჯვების დღე" (Victory over Fascism Day)|
|Israel||VE Day||9 May||National commemorative||Considered a national day of remembrance.|
|Italy||Liberation Day||25 April||National public||As "Festa della Liberazione" (Liberation Day)|
|Jersey||Liberation Day||9 May||Regional public|||
|Kazakhstan||Victory Day||9 May||National public|||
|Kyrgyzstan||Victory Day||9 May||National public|||
|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.|
|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). Not a public holiday; commemorative services are held by the President and other officials.|
|Malta||Victory Day||8 September||National public||As Otto settembre.|
|Moldova||Victory Day or Europe Day||9 May||National public|||
|Netherlands||Remembrance of the Dead||4 May||National commemorative||Not a public holiday; commemorative services are held in the evening.|
|Liberation Day||5 May||National public||As "Bevrijdingsdag" (Liberation Day), a public holiday every year.|
|Norway||Liberation Day||8 May||National commemorative||as "Frigjøringsdagen" (Liberation Day) and The National Veterans Day, an official flag day, not a public holiday.|
|Russia||Victory Day||9 May||National public||as "День Победы" (Victory Day)|
|Serbia||Europe Day||9 May||National public|||
|Slovakia||Victory over Fascism Day||8 May||National public|||
|Tajikistan||Victory Day||9 May||National public|||
|Ukraine||Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation||8 May||National commemorative|||
|Victory over Fascism Day||9 May||National public|||
|Uzbekistan||Day of Remembrance and Honour||9 May||National public|| Known as "День Памяти и Почестей"; before 1999, it was known as "Галаба куни" or "День победы" (Victory Day).|
Other commemorative events
- Belgium: In Belgium the commemoration of the termination of World War II since 1974 is part of the Armistice of 11 November 1918 (Dutch: Wapenstilstandsdag), an annual national holiday. Every year on this day there is in presence of the king a truce-ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Congress Column in Brussels, at first to commemorate the victims of the First world war and subsequently those of World War II and all other wars worldwide.
- Germany: Events in Berlin occur on 8 May to commemorate those who fought against Nazism in the German Resistance and lost their lives in World War II. In 2020, a regional holiday in Berlin occurred on 8 May to mark the 75th anniversary of surrender.
- Poland: 8 May is known as "Narodowy Dzień Zwycięstwa" (National Victory Day) but is not currently a public holiday.
- United Kingdom: 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 the 8 May to commemorate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of VE Day, respectively.
- European Union: 9 May is Europe Day which celebrates "peace and unity in Europe", on the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration.
- East Germany celebrated 8 May as its Tag der Befreiung (Day of Liberation), first celebrated under Walter Ulbricht's government in 1950 and repeated annually until the fall of communism. Between 1975 and 1990, it was Tag des Sieges (Victory Day).
- Time of remembrance and reconciliation
- Victory Day
- Victory Day Parades
- Victory over Japan Day
- Stunde Null
- 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)
- Harper, Douglas. "VE Day". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
- 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)
- Hermiston 2016, p. 355.
- Barr, Sabrina (8 May 2020). "How Princess Elizabeth celebrated VE Day". The Independent. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
- "Truman Marks Birthday". The New York Times. 9 May 1945. p. 6.
- "Victory Wreath From Truman Is Laid On Hyde Park Grave of War President". New York Times. Associated Press. 9 May 1945. p. 15.
- "Army Extends Mourning Period". New York Times. Associated Press. 12 May 1945. p. 13.
- United Press (15 May 1945). "30 Days of Mourning For Roosevelt Ended". New York Times. p. 4.
- Telfer 2015, p. 75.
- Telfer 2015, p. 33.
- Hermiston 2016, p. 356.
- Telfer 2015, p. 76.
- Earl F. Ziemke, 1990, Washington DC, CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY, CHAPTER XV:The Victory Sealed Page 258 last 2 paragraphs
- Parfitt, Tom (9 May 2015). "Russia's Victory Day Parade marks new East-West divide". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- "Victory Day around the world in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "The History of Liberation Day in Guernsey". www.visitguernsey.com.
- "Sark celebrates Liberation Day". ITV News.
- "National Holidays, Belarus | Belarus.by". www.belarus.by. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Bosnia and Herzegovina Public Holidays 2019". PublicHolidays.eu. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "8. květen – Den vítězství | Svátky Centrum.cz". svatky.centrum.cz. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "National Holidays in Czech Republic in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "9 მაისი, როგორც ფაშიზმზე ���ამარჯვების დღე, საქართველოშიც აღინიშნა". რადიო თავისუფლება (in Georgian). Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "National Holidays in Georgia in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Knesset Creates Victory in Europe Day". Knesset. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
- "L. 27 maggio 1949, n. 260. "Disposizioni in materia di ricorrenze festive"" (PDF) (in Italian). Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- Jersey, States of. "Government of Jersey". gov.je.
- "National Holidays in Kazakhstan in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- Latvia’s National holidays and Remembrance days
- "Europe Day around the world in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
- "Herdenken en vieren". www.4en5mei.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 8 May 2020.
- "Home". www.4en5mei.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Geschiedenis". www.4en5mei.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 11 May 2020.
- Frigjøringen Store norske leksikon in Norwegian
- "National Holidays in Russia in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Победа! 75 лет - официальный сайт". www.may9.ru. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Europe Day in Serbia in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "National Holidays in Slovakia in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Ukraine in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Victory Day (in lieu) in Ukraine in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Memorial Day in Uzbekistan in 2020". Office Holidays. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
- Schereck, Sabine (8 May 2020). "Berlin marks end of WW2 with unprecedented holiday". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
- "2020 May bank holiday will be moved to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day". GOV.UK. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
- Anonymous (16 June 2016). "Europe Day". European Union. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
- "May 8, 1945: Total defeat or day of liberation? | DW | 05.05.2020". Deutsche Welle (www.dw.com). Retrieved 8 May 2020.
Media related to VE Day at Wikimedia Commons