May 8 is the anniversary of V.E. Day. That stands for Victory in Europe Day. It celebrates victory in World War Two (WW2).
WW2 was a war between the Allies (the U.S., Great Britain, and Russia) and the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan). A lot of other countries also joined the war. It took place from 1940 to 1945 and started because the German leader Adolf Hitler tried to take over Europe. Hitler lead a group called the Nazis, who persecuted Jewish people and other groups. The Nazis wanted to gain total control of the people. The U.S. joined the war in 1941, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
The Allies won the war. On May 8, 1945, Germany was defeated. This year marks 75 years since the war ended in Europe, with Germany signing an “unconditional surrender.”
WW2 carried on for another four months in the Pacific region as the Japanese Army refused to stop fighting. Japan didn’t surrender until September 1945.
V.E. Day meant the ending of the war. On this day in Britain, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that the war in Europe was over. He said:
“ … in the long years to come not only will the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, look back to what we’ve done and they will say ‘do not despair, do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straightforward and die if need be – unconquered.’”
May 8 was also the birthday of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who turned 61. He sent a message to Churchill, saying, “With warm affection, we hail our comrades-in-arms across the Atlantic.” He also said that he was about to tell his mother the good news and that this was a “great birthday present.”
The end of World War Two is remembered as a great moment for freedom around the world.