V-E Day - Did You Know?

There are many people today who have no idea what ‘V-E Day’ means. However, back 72 years to 1945, everyone around the globe knew what ‘V-E Day’ meant.

Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) commemorates the end of fighting in Europe during World War II. After years of war, since 1939, the Third Reich of Nazi Germany was defeated. Millions of people had died during those war years. About 418,500 Americans died in WW II.

Adolf Hitler, Germany’s Dictator, had committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin on April 30, 1945, so ending the Nazi Party leadership. Both he and his wife, Eva, swallowed cyanide capsules. For good measure, he shot himself with his service pistol.

The German Army ceased fighting on May 2, and formally surrendered unconditionally, on May 7th. The surrender of all German forces was arranged for officially on May 8 at 11:01 am. This was now a time of celebration of victory at long last, the end of World War II. Many individuals did not learn of the victory one, two or three days later.

So this is why people around the world mark V-E Day as very important. You may have several relatives who remember that celebration. Find out and make sure to include their story in the family history. That relative may have only been a child, but you would be surprised what a child might remember. It was a Big Deal in 1945.  

Check if anything was written and saved such as letters from servicemen stationed in different locations. As word spread of the victory, there were all types of celebrating going on, even if that military person wouldn’t return home for months. Check also diaries kept by the wives, mothers and sisters back home. Surely their feelings were written down. Look for any old photos in the family collection, ones taken by those in the military or on the home front.

An often overlooked historical event was very important to relatives in the military and the rest of the family at home.

Photos: Celebrations for V-E Day.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Pearl Harbor

Photos during World War II

Civilians during World I and II

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