Georgia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II on May 9. However, there are continuous debates on when Germany surrendered and why Europe marks this day on May 8. The Myth Detector offers you a brief review of developments and the list of countries that celebrate Victory Day on different days.
When did World War II end in Europe?
The first Act of Military Surrender of Germany was signed at General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims at 2:41am on May 7, 1945. On behalf of the Soviet Union, the Act was signed by General Ivan Susloparov, who did not have an authorization from Moscow to do so. After Stalin learned that the document had already entered into force, he prepared a new document of military surrender and authorized General Zhukov to place his signature on behalf of the USSR. The new document was signed in Berlin on May 8 (May 9 Moscow time).
Two things were important for Stalin: to ensure that the Act of Military Surrender was signed in the city of Berlin “defeated by the Red Army” and that top Soviet military official signed the document. These facts prepared the firm ground for Soviet propaganda about “the Eastern Front of World War II,” which aimed at highlighting Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazi Germany, separately from Europe. Thus, May 9 has a symbolic importance for the Soviet Union and it involves not only “Victory Day” marked jointly with European allies, but also the role the Soviet Union played in liberating Europe from Nazis and promoting the idea that the Soviet Union allegedly won World War II with the assistance from the West.
How is Victory Day marked?
Unlike the former Soviet republics, Western Europe celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany on May 8. The situation is different in Israel – due to a large number of the Red Army veterans, the country annually marks the day on May 9. About 500,000 Jews served in the Soviet Red Army during World War II. According to the Russian Embassy to Israel, presently there are 11 000 veterans in Israel.
According to some reports, the Great Britain was allegedly marking Victory Day on May 9. In fact, only Russia’s Immortal Regiment marks this day at Trafalgar Square in London. Formally, the British hold a large scale ceremony on May 8. Immortal Regiment marks Victory Day in London on May 9 since 2016.