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The instrument of surrender signed at Reims 7 May 1945.

Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day or VE Day) was on 8 May 1945, the date when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. On 30 April Hitler committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin, and so the surrender of Germany was authorized by his replacement, President of Germany Karl Dönitz. The administration headed up by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg government. The act of military surrender was signed on May 7 in Reimsmarker, Francemarker, and May 8 in Berlinmarker, Germanymarker.


More than a million people celebrated in the streets to mark the end of the European part of the war. Many hardships remained, however, including continued rationing of food and clothing, which lasted even longer in peacetime than it had during the war. In London, crowds massed in Trafalgar Squaremarker and up The Mallmarker to Buckingham Palacemarker, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the Palace before cheering crowds. Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to wander anonymously among the crowds and take part in the celebrations.

In the United Statesmarker, President Harry Truman, who celebrated his 61st birthday that day, dedicated the victory to the memory of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died less than a month earlier, on April 12. Flags remained at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period, which ended on May 12. Massive celebrations also took place in Chicagomarker, Los Angelesmarker, Miamimarker, and especially in New York Citymarker's Times Square.

Soviet Victory Day

As the Soviet Unionmarker was to the east of Germany it was May 9 Moscow Time when German military surrender became effective, which is why Russiamarker and many other European countries east of Germany commemorate Victory Day on May 9 instead of Western European May 8.

May 8th as public holiday

  • The former East Germanymarker as Tag der Befreiung (Day of liberation)

  • Slovakiamarker as Deň víťazstva nad fašizmom (Victory over Fascism Day)

  • Czech Republicmarker as Den vítězství or Den osvobození (Day of liberation)

See also


  1. Public holidays in Slovakia

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