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Victory Day: 8th or 9th of May?

To be exact, the 8th of May is officially considered to be the Victory Day in Europe. As it was the date the Allies celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Reich, formally recognising the end of the Second World War in Europe. It was on this date that great celebrations took place across Europe and North America: in London over a million people celebrated the end of the European war. Crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the Palace to cheer crowds.

But the Allies had originally agreed to mark 9th May 1945 as V-E day, but eager western journalists broke the news of Germany's surrender prematurely, thus signaling the earlier celebration. The Soviet’s kept to the agreed date, and Russia still commemorates the end of the Second World War, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War, as Victory Day on 9th May.

Some interesting facts:

  • In communist East Germany, a Soviet-style "Victory Day" on 9 May was an official holiday from 1975 until the end of the republic in 1990. Prior to that, "Liberation Day" was celebrated on 8 May, between 1950 and 1966, and again on the 40th anniversary in 1985.
  • In 1988, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Victory Day ceased to be observed in Uzbekistan, but was partially restored in 1999 as Memorial/Remembrance Day.
  • After their separation from the Soviet Union, the Baltic countries now commemorate the end of WWII on 8 May, the Victory in Europe Day. But many people still gather to celebrate the Victory Day on 9 May.

Other events on this day:

  • 1932 Piccadilly Circus, 1st lit by electricity;
  • 1914 President Wilson proclaims Mother's Day;
  • 1955 German Federal Republic joins NATO;
  • 1960 U.S. is 1st country to use the birth control pill legally;
  • 1962 Beatles sign their 1st contract with EMI Pstlophone. 

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