V-E Day: The War in Europe Ended 76 Years Ago Today

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today is V-E Day, the day we celebrate Victory over Europe ending World War II in Europe.

Seventy-six years ago today on May 8, 1945, Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the US, announced the news to reporters at the White House at 8:35 a.m. and embargoed the news 25 minutes until 9 a.m. so UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill could make the announcement simultaneously with the US.

When Truman announced the War in Europe was at an end, he told the press: “General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly all over Europe.” But thenTruman cautioned against celebrating too soon. “Our victory is only half over,” he stressed.

Writer and historian Tara Ross described what happened next this way:

“Then Truman did something that might be unexpected today: He called for a day of prayer: “I call upon the people of the United States, whatever their faith, to unite in offering joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won and to pray that He will support us to the end of our present struggle and guide us into the way of peace.

”The day of prayer was set for May 13—Mother’s Day! Interestingly, V-E Day marked two other milestones, too: Not only was it Harry Truman’s birthday, but it was also his first full day living in the White House. (Eleanor Roosevelt had taken several weeks to move out.)

What a series of overwhelming emotions for Truman? He was able to declare victory in the long European war—on his birthday—less than one month after he’d become President.

I only wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day,” he told the nation.”

Harry Truman had been President for one month, ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the US, had died in Warm Springs, GA, on April 12, 1945.

The War against Japan would continue three more months until the surrender there and V-J Day on August 14, 1945.

God bless America.


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