Celebrations of Victory in Europe Day

Today, Europeans are celebrating the anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe and the collapse of the Nazi regime in Germany. The surrender of Nazi Germany on 8 May 1945 prompted spontaneous celebrations by Allied troops and war-weary Europeans.

Civilians in the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and other Allied nations took to the streets to celebrate Victory in Europe Day (VE Day). The Second World War would continue for several more months in Asia and the Pacific, but the fighting in Europe was over.

Today, governments and heads of state across Europe are celebrating Victory in Europe Day once again, as are leaders of the Allied powers that triumphed over Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in 1945. The celebrations have been rather muted this year, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. VE Day celebration organizers in 2020 also had to cope with coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns, but were able to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The public celebration of VE Day is more complicated in reunified Germany, despite its status as arguably leading power of the European Union.

“Victory in Europe Day, the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s military capitulation to the Allies on May 8, 1945, is an occasion of unreserved celebration across much of the continent, observed with colorful parades and national holidays. For Germans, it is understandably fraught. For a long time, the anniversary was largely defined in Germany by ambivalence. How, after all, could the vanquished celebrate their surrender? Now Germans are increasingly grappling with a thornier question: How could they not?”

Euronews reports on the celebrations of Victory in Europe Day. The Telegraph reports on the history of VE Day celebrations in the United Kingdom. Stars and Stripes reports on celebrations in the United States. The New York Times reports on commemorations in Germany.

This entry was posted in Civilians and Refugees in War, European History, European Union, French History, Museums and Historical Memory, Paris History, Political Culture, War and Society, War, Culture, and Society. Bookmark the permalink.

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