History of V-E Day: End of WWII in Europe 70 Years Ago

VE-DayHISTORY OF V-E DAY

Seventy years ago today World War II ended in Europe with the acceptance by the Allies of unconditional surrender from Germany.

Or did it?

 

May 7, 1945

At 2:41 AM the Allied General Dwight Eisenhower received the unconditional surrender of German General Alfred Jodi at Reims, France at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF).

However, the Soviets did not recognize this as the official surrender as their representative in Reims lacked the authority to sign the German document. So May 7 was only recognized by the British Commonwealth, the rest of the Allies recognized it as a preliminary “military” surrender. Or did they?

May 8, 1945

VE-NYCThe ceremony was repeated in Berlin, Germany where the surrender was signed by Supreme German military commander Wilhelm Keitel and the Allied representatives. So the Allies celebrated V-E Day, or Victory in Europe officially at 11:01 PM on May 8. Except one.

May 9, 1945

At 12:01 AM a new day was beginning in Russia when the surrender became official in a different time zone farther west in Berlin. So Russia and its satellites recognize V-E Day on May 9.

VE-kissSo seventy years ago, Victory in Europe occurred across 3 days in May, depending on where you lived.

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian
www.billpetro.com

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