On May 8, 1945, World War II in Europe came to an end. As the news of Germany’s surrender reached the rest of the world, joyous crowds gathered to celebrate in the streets, clutching newspapers that declared Victory in Europe (V-E Day). Later that year, US President Harry S. Truman announced Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. The news spread quickly and celebrations erupted across the United States. On September 2, 1945, formal surrender documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri, designating the day as the official Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day).
V-J Day was especially momentous—the gruesome and exhausting war was officially over—but the day was also bittersweet for the many Americans whose loved ones would not be returning home. “More than 400,000 Americans gave their lives to secure our nation’s freedom, and in the midst of exultation, there was recognition that the true meaning of the day was best represented by those who were not present to celebrate,” said Robert Citino, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy at The National WWII Museum.
Seventy-five years later, The National WWII Museum will pay tribute to the historic anniversaries, as well as the myriad servicemembers and Home Front workers who helped preserve freedom and democracy.
See below for a list of The National WWII Museum’s 2020 commemorative initiatives:
"TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY"
In the midst of history’s greatest war, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and died just 11 weeks into his fourth term. "To the Best of My Ability" is a nine-part podcast series that examines what happens in the wake of his death, pulling directly from the newly sworn-in President Harry S. Truman’s diaries, oral histories from the men and women who lived through it, and more. Join The National WWII Museum as we explore the tragedies, triumphs, and difficult choices made by one of history’s most unexpected leaders.
Through a discussion of monuments, memorials, and memory acts, this course explores how different nations remember or forget the past and how the memory of World War II impacts national and international politics today. This course will feature lectures, interviews, and interactive assignments by top scholars from The National WWII Museum and Arizona State University, including a former US Ambassador and a retired Lieutenant General of the US Army. Learners will engage these materials while analyzing the many commemorations for V-E Day around the world.
End of War Classroom Resources
Explore essays, lesson plans, and multimedia resources exploring liberation and the legacy of World War II, connecting events like the Holocaust, the Nuremberg Trials, the Marshall Plan, and the founding of the United Nations to the world of today.
The National WWII Museum Commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II with a Year of Events
On May 8, 1945, World War II in Europe came to an end.
Featured Video Content
On April 11, 1945, the 3rd Armored Division requests the help of the 104th Infantry Division for the liberation of Dora-Mittelbau.
American prisoners of war were housed alongside concentration camp prisoners at Berga labor camp after the Battle of the Bulge.
On April 27, 1945, the 12th Armored Division reached Kaufering IV.
On April 23, 1945, Adolf Hitler received a surprising telegram from one of his most loyal subordinates and longest time friends, Hermann Göring.
On April 30, 1945, Hitler and his wife of 40 hours, Eva Braun, ended their life in the Führerbunker with a cyanide pill and a gunshot.
World War II in Europe began in 1939 with Nazi Germany invading Poland.
Hear from men on the front lines about what Victory in Europe meant to them, and how returning home finally became a reality on May 8, 1945.
What is the full schedule of commemorative programming for the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II?
How do I watch your webinars?
The Museum’s daily webinars will be hosted on Zoom. You can access a Zoom webinar on your smart phone, tablet, or computer.
If you are watching for the first time on your smart phone or tablet, you will need to download the Zoom app from the app store on your device. The Zoom app is free to download. Once the app is downloaded, click the Zoom webinar link for the program you are interested in. It will then open the app, and you will enter the webinar room. You will need to provide your email address to participate in a webinar.
If you are participating in a Zoom webinar for the first time on a computer, Zoom will prompt you to download and run a bit of software. Once downloaded and installed, click the Zoom webinar link for the program you are interested in. It will then open the application and you will enter the webinar room. You will need to provide your email address to participate in a webinar.
See here for additional information: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115004954946-Joining-and-participating-in-a-webinar-attendee-
What if I miss a webinar?
This ongoing series of digital programming commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II is made possible by The Nierenberg Family and Bank of America.