8 Interesting Facts About V-E Day And The End Of WWII
May 8 marks the anniversary Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day. In 1945, the Nazis officially surrendered on May 8, bringing an end to WWII. This year is the 71st anniversary of V-E Day. Today we may only remember people celebrating in the streets as the end of the war was announced, but there’s a lot more to V-E Day than that. In honor of V-E Day, here are eight interesting things you may not have known about the end of WWII.
- 70 million people fought in WWII. The Soviet Union lost 7.5 million soldiers, the most of any country involved in the war. Other major players in the Allied powers saw massive casualties as well. The U.S. lost 400,000, Great Britain lost 330,000, and China lost 2.2 million. Among the Axis powers, the German army saw 3.5 million casualties, Italy lost 77,000 and Japan lost 1.2 million.
As Winston Churchill announced the end of the war in London, crowds filled the streets from Trafalgar Square up to Buckingham Palace. Princess Margaret and her sister Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II, were among the crowd taking part in the celebrations.
In the U.S., President Harry Truman was celebrating his birthday on V-E Day. He dedicated the victory to the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died one month before the end of the war. Roosevelt helped create the alliance between Britain, the Soviet Union and the U.S., which made it possible to defeat Nazi Germany.
While the war was coming to an end, survivors of the concentration camps continued to suffer. When they returned home and found their former lives destroyed and their communities gone forever. Many survivors lost their entire families and had no home to return to.
V-E Day marks the official end of WWII in Europe, but small pockets of fighting still continued into the next day. German and Soviet forces confronted each other in Silesia on May 9. The Soviets lost 600 more soldiers before the Germans finally laid down their arms.
The Germans’ surrender marked the end of WWII in Europe, but Japan didn’t surrender until Aug. 15, 1945. Their surrender became official on Sept. 2, 1945, which is now celebrated as Victory over Japan Day or V-J Day.
Technically, WWII still hasn’t ended due to the fact that Russia and Japan never signed a peace treaty to end the Kuril Island dispute. The Kuril Islands are situated in a chain of islands between Russia and Japan. Historically, Japan had ownership of the islands, but Russia took control during WWII. Neither side has ever agreed to sign papers settling the territorial dispute.
Some Japanese soldiers never got the message that the war was over, including Hiroo Onoda, who was stationed in the Philippines. He hid out, fully armed and ready for battle, until 1974 when he was discovered. Onoda refused to surrender until his commanding officer flew to the island and convinced him to.
Donate Your Car To Help Veterans On V-E Day
While WWII may have been a long time ago, there are still more than 690,000 WWII veterans alive today. You can help veterans from all wars when you donate your car to Vehicles For Veterans on V-E Day. Our car donation program benefits disabled veterans and helps give them a better life. You will also receive a tax deduction and free towing when you donate your vehicle. All you need to do is call 1-855-811-4838 or fill out an online car donation form today!