The battle of the victory celebration

The World Today Published 1 April 2015 Updated 4 January 2021 1 minute READ

Marking the end of the Second World War has been a source of contention since 1945, but this 70th anniversary year promises to be unusually divisive.

The Allies record the end of the war on different days – the US and Britain mark Victory in Europe Day on May 8 while the Russians celebrate Victory Day on May 9. This difference reflects Stalin’s anger that the Anglo-American allies accepted Germany’s surrender at General Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims, France, on May 7, 1945, in a ceremony which failed to recognize that the Soviet Union had ‘borne the main burden of the war’.

At Moscow’s insistence a second ceremony was held on the outskirts of Berlin at midnight on May 8 – already the following day by Moscow time – during which the surrender document was accepted by Marshal Georgy Zhukov, commander of the Soviet assault on the capital.

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