9/25/2017

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VE Day (Victory In Europe Day)

Victory in Europe Day, also known as VE Day, commemorates May 8, 1945 as the day that allied forces in Berlin formally ratified the act of military surrender by the German military. The unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Germany officially ended World War II in Europe.

The act of military surrender was authorized by German President Karl Donitz, Adolf Hitler's replacement, and signed by German General Alfred Jodl on May 7 in Reims, France. The European theatre of the war had finally come to an end with a victory for the allies. Now they could turn their full attention to Japan.

Upon ratification of the act of military surrender, celebrations spread quickly around the world from London to Moscow to New York to Montreal. Millions of people poured into the streets of Paris, Ottawa, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto, everyone cheering the news of Germany's defeat and surrender. For this one day, people could celebrate with pride and joy even though the war was still being fought in the Pacific.

Harry S. Truman, who celebrated his 61st birthday on May 8, had been President of the United States for less than a month when the news came. Truman dedicated the victory to his predesessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died less than a month earlier on April 12.

Roosevelt had led the United States in it's conduct of the war from the time it was drawn into the fighting after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Truman said that his only wish was "that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day."

V E Day is celebrated in many ways around the world. Some people were affected in much harsher terms than others were by the war, but everyone during that time suffered in one way or another. Everyone should take a moment and reflect on the devestation that was kindled by World War II, especially in Europe and Asia.

Millions of people died, both soldiers and civilians, and millions more were displaced. The costs of war weighs heavily on everyone. That's why people should shy away from following leaders who are bent on conquering, destroying, and killing people simply because they have the power to do so.

 

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