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Definition: VE Day from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

‘Victory in Europe’ Day. The end of hostilities in Europe after the Second World War, 8 May 1945. See also TWO-MINUTE SILENCE; VJ DAY.


Summary Article: VE Day from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Anniversary of the surrender of Germany at the end of World War II, 8 May 1945. The day is celebrated as a commemoration of the victory of the Allied powers in the European theatre. The war continued in the Pacific theatre until Japan's surrender on 15 August which is marked by VJ Day.

Germany's surrender was signed by General Alfred Jodl at Rheims early in the morning of 7 May, but Churchill and Eisenhower could not get Soviet leader Stalin's agreement to announce collectively a general ceasefire (in the USSR, the first official announcement of the ceasefire was at 2am on the morning of the 9th). After proposing and cancelling the 8th as VE Day, they decided to proceed unilaterally on the following day. VE Day was declared in Britain by Winston Churchill at 3pm on the 8th, to be marked by a day of official celebration.

In practice, VE Day could not celebrate a final victory, since at that time there was no guarantee of a rapid end to war with Japan. In addition, the USSR's intentions towards Eastern Europe were increasingly apparent – on May 8 all 18 members of the Polish government, who had travelled under safe conduct to Moscow, were arrested by the Soviets.

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VE Day parade, New York

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