That message, sent 70 years ago by General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces Europe, to the American and British governments, signaled the end of World War II in Europe.
On May 8, a similar instrument was signed in Berlin, ending the war with the Soviet Union. The US and most western nations celebrate Victory in Europe on May 8. The Russians celebrate on May 9.
On May 6, 1945, the focus of the entirety of the Allied forces in Europe was the defeat of Germany. On May 8, the focus was on getting out of the damn Army and getting home. It would take some time for that to pass, and indeed, to this day, Americans are stationed in Germany, though since 1955, as guests and allies of their former enemies.
Of course, the War in the Pacific remained to be won. But with the defeat of Germany, it was seen as a foregone conclusion that Japan would fall to the combined might of the Allies. There would be a great deal of death, destruction and suffering to come, but the end game was all that was left to play out.
More than 40 vintage aircraft of World War II will fill the skies over the nation’s capital Friday in tribute to the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day.
Fifteen flying formations will form up near Leesburg, Virginia, and follow the Potomac River southeast toward Washington. But unlike the usual “river run” of modern commercial flights into Reagan National Airport, the venerable war birds will bank over the Lincoln Memorial, overflying the National World War II Memorial, head east past the Washington Monument along Independence Avenue, turning south as they pass over the National Air and Space Museum near the Capitol.