Wednesday is V-E Day — Victory in Europe — the 74th anniversary of the formal end of World War II in Europe, when the allied powers defeated German leader Adolf Hitler and his once invincible Nazi war machine.
While V-E Day is not considered a major day of reflection and thanksgiving in the United States, it is observed across Europe and much of the former Soviet Union.
The true number of people killed in the war may never be known, but historians believe at least 35 million Europeans were killed during World War II, including 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis.
V-E-Day is also marked in Israel, home to thousands of Soviet Jewish immigrants and Holocaust survivors.
Germany offered unconditional surrender on May 7. Gen. Alfred Jodl, representing what was left of the Nazi leadership, signed four separate surrender papers at U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims, France — one each for Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared that May 8 be celebrated as V-E Day.
Source : VOA