May 8th has gone down in history as the day battling in Europe, as part of World War II, came to an end. The greatest threat to long-term peace and the lives of so many, Nazi Germany, had signed an unconditional surrender. The German forces agreed to the surrender in Reims, France on May 7th and in Berlin, Germany the heart of the Nazi empire on May 8th. The surrender was authorised by Hitler’s successor Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz.
Celebrations occurred worldwide with crowds gathering throughout London, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds. Times Square in New York was a place of mass celebration upon the German surrender, with major celebrations across the United States.
The 8th is now commemorated as ‘Victory in Europe Day’ across most of the world that had a stake in the war, the day was a public holiday in 1945 and still is in many areas of the world. The 9th of May is ‘Victory Day’ in Russia however due to the time difference when th surrender was signed.