Victory Day, 7 May, 8 May, 9 May...

Victory Day, 7 May, 8 May, 9 May...

Victory day commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. The signing of the German Instrument of Surrender happened in the evening on 8 May 1945 after midnight, thus on 9 May Moscow Time. The United States and other countries in Europe observe Victory day on 8 May. Russia observes the holiday on May 9.

May this day of remembrance of our people serve as a lesson that we may never lose strength or hope.

On 7 May 1945, in Berlin, what was left of the German army surrendered to the Russian troops. That same day a first instrument of surrender was signed. The next morning, Nazi leaders signed the Armistice with the Western Allies and the day after that, with the Russians. The terrible war in Europe, the bloodiest war in history, was over, leaving millions dead.

We should not forget D Day, also called Operation Overlord, which took place on 6 June 1944, marking the start of the landing of the Allied troops in Normandy, in northern France. This operation was extremely important because it started the liberation of France from Nazi troops and created a western war front that contributed to the German army’s increased exhaustion.

It had been possible to foresee the end of the war once Hitler had deployed a considerable portion of his troops to the Caucasus, then the source of Soviet Union oil. The battle of Stalingrad, which lasted from September 1942 to February 1943, left a million German soldiers dead, a loss from which the Nazis never recovered. Even so, it was only in February 1945 that USSR troops invaded Silesia and Pomerania, while the troops of the Western Allies entered Germany.

In March 1945, while the Soviets advanced on Vienna, the American, English, Canadian and French allied forces crossed the northern part of the Rhine and the south of the Ruhr, encircling the Nazi forces. In early April, the Western Allies finally managed to gain ground in Italy and move into Western Germany. Meanwhile, the Soviets conquered Berlin. On 25 April the two armies joined forces on the banks of the River Elba. On 30 April, the Reichstag was taken, leading to the military defeat of the Third Reich and of Hitler, who had committed suicide some days earlier in his bunker.

The German troops in Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany surrendered on 7 May in Germany.

While the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps was not the major focus of the Allied military campaign, Soviet, American, British and Canadian troops liberated the prisoners from their SS guards. They provided them with much needed food and medical assistance and collected evidence to be used in war crimes trials.