National day of 8 May 1945
Young women parade through the streets of Paris wearing dresses in the Allied colours to celebrate the victory, Paris (grand boulevards), 8 May 1945. Libération Soir/Le Populaire
© MRN/Le Matin press photo archive
On 8 May 1945, the last representatives of the Third Reich signed, in Berlin, the unconditional surrender of a defeated Germany, now occupied by Allied forces. That surrender, signed on 9 May in the Soviet Union due to the time difference, and already signed for the first time on 7 May in Reims, did not, however, mark the end of the Second World War, for Japan continued to fight until 2 September. But it did confirm the Allies’ military victory in Europe and the political defeat of Nazism. It also meant that France, recognised among the victors and represented in Berlin by General de Lattre de Tassigny, could publicly announce its resurrection.
If the current health situation gets in the way of holding the usual ceremonies associated with this major event, clearly it should not prevent us from celebrating it.
An object and an anecdote for the 8th May: the surrender pen!
Pen used by General de Lattre on 8 May 1945, in Berlin, to sign the act of German surrender