This Throwback Thursday is May 8, and that’s the day that the United States and Great Britain celebrate the anniversary of their victory in Europe in 1945. Victory in Europe Day is a day when the United States, England and areas of Europe that were once occupied salute the defeat of the Nazis in World War II.
It was on May 8, 1945, that Nazi troops finally surrendered. Surrender documents were signed in East Germany and Berlin and Nazi troops laid down their arms in Prague after over 8,000 Soviet solders had died trying to defeat them.
Even though they surrendered, German soldiers were particularly worried about getting captured and imprisoned by the Soviets. Approximately 1 million Nazi soldiers tried to escape Europe, but they were ultimately captured. Russians imprisoned about 2 million German soldiers in total toward the end of the war and after.
Conversely, Victory in Europe Day signified the release of over 13,000 allied prisoners of war, who were finally allowed to return to England after being imprisoned during the conflict. Perhaps its not a coincidence, then, that this same day in 1823 was the first time that "Home Sweet Home" was ever sung in London.
Still, it is important to note that from the Russian perspective all fighting had not come to end on May 8. Confrontations between Soviet and German forces bled into May 9 and approximately 600 more Soviets were killed in Silesia until the German military finally submitted that day. As such, in Moscow, Victory in Europe Day was not actually celebrated on May 8. Instead, they celebrated it on May 9. A salute from Stalin was broadcast over the radio to signify the victory on that day in 1945.
So let’s end this #Throwback Thursday broadcast with the immortal words of the Kremlin Highlander himself, as he put it so eloquently in 1945: “The age-long struggle of the Slav nations has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over.”
Do you know any other significant events that occurred on May 8 in history? Share them with us in the comment section that appears below.
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