1944 - Les libérateurs américains en France - Tony Vaccaro
Musée National de la Coopération franco-américaine
Second Worl War : 1939-1945
- May 8, 1945 -
May 8, 1945: Surrender of Nazi Germany
On April 30, 1945 , the German army, pushed back at all fronts, had become completely drained.
While Anglo-American and Soviet troops had just linked up at Elbe , and the 1st French Army, after having invaded the south of Germany , had reached the Austrian border, Adolf Hitler committed suicide with his companion Eva Braun, in his bunker constructed under the Imperial chancellery, in Berlin .
In accordance with the orders he left, their bodies were burnt.
On that same day, the Dachau and Ravensbrûck concentration camps, after several others of sinister memory, were liberated by American troops, and in the days that followed, came the turn of those at Neuengamme and Mauthausen to enjoy the wind of liberty.
On May 5, 1945 , Captain Touyeras, accompanied by Corporal Borg, a volunteer serviceman, had the honor of hoisting the French colors at the summit of Hitler’s Berchtesgaden Eyrie, in the presence of General Leclerc.
On May 8, 1945 , at 2:41 a.m. , the German general Jodl, under Amiral Dönitz, orders, signed an act at Reims with the Allies, acknowledging the unconditional surrender of Germany . The Anglo-American Allies were represented by General Bodell-Smith, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, and the Soviet forces, by General Sousparov. The act was countersigned by the French general Sevez, who was General de Gaulle’s Chief of Staff.
At 3 p.m. on the same day, at the special demand of Staline, a separate act was signed at Berlin which was occupied by Soviet troops.
A ceasefire went into effect on the same day at 11:01 p.m. , except in some German pockets of resistance which refused to lay down their arms.
The end of the Second World War, which consumed about 50,000,000 lives, with 7,000,000 of them being victims of concentration camps, only came to an end four months later, on September 2, 1945 , with the surrender of Japan , the last Axis power.
Since 1945, May 8 commemorations mark the victory over Nazi Germany and the end of the war in Europe .
Despite her cruel defeat of 1940 and the occupation of her territory, France has remained attached to this day as a way to pay homage to her allied liberators and to all the volunteers who, in response to the June 18 Appeal issued by General de Gaulle, refused to suffer the Nazi yoke and chose to forge ahead with an unequalled battle against the invader, despite their risky positions and diminishing resources. Thanks to their commitment and the sacrifice of many of them, France managed, in that rather embarrassing circumstance, to regain her place and the dignity that is hers in the midst of the United States , the Soviet Union and England.