On this day in 1945, both United States and Great Britain celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine.
The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark–the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany.
The main concern of many German soldiers was to elude the grasp of Soviet forces, to keep from being taken, prisoner. About 1 million Germans attempted a mass exodus to the West when the fighting in Czechoslovakia ended but was stopped by the Russians and taken captive. The Russians took approximately 2 million prisoners in the period just before and after the German surrender.
Meanwhile, more than 13,000 British POWs were released and sent back to Great Britain.
Pockets of German-Soviet confrontation would continue into the next day. On May 9, the Soviets would lose 600 more soldiers in Silesia before the Germans finally surrendered. Consequently, V-E Day was not celebrated until the ninth in Moscow, with a radio broadcast salute from Stalin himself: “The age-long struggle of the Slav nations… has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over.”—History.com
An estimated 420,000 U.S Soldiers died by the end of the war. To them, I say thank you. I will work tirelessly to make sure that your sacrifice was not made in vain, And to all the Men and women that made it home, I thank you for your courageous fight to protect our country. And for all men and women who serve or have served, I say to you, my brothers and sisters. Thank you. We may bear the scars of our duty to this great country, but we carry the honor wearing the flag upon our uniforms. We will fight for this land, And We will fight for freedom. God Bless America
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