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V-E Day 2020: The World War II Defeat of the Nazis 75 Years Ago

Victory celebrations for America and its allies in Europe, then and now

crowded street of returning soldiers and others embracing at the announcement of nazi defeat

Bettman/Getty Images

Nazi Germany's military leaders signed surrender documents on May 7, 1945, marking the end of nearly six years of war throughout Europe. When the news was announced a day later, mass celebrations erupted across Europe and America as millions took to the streets, cementing May 8's legacy as V-E Day — for victory in Europe. President Harry S. Truman dedicated the day to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died just weeks earlier.

"Our victory is only half over,” Truman said in reference to the fighting that continued in the Pacific with Japan for three more months.

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has derailed plans for a flyover of World War II-era planes over Washington, D.C., to celebrate the 75th anniversary of V-E Day. Instead, a livestream commemoration is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET Friday. The video will include interviews with WWII heroes, historical battle footage and current-day footage of aircraft involved in the European theater. The video tribute will air on the Arsenal of Democracy's website and Facebook page, and on the 75th WWII Commemoration website.

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