8 May in different perspectives – part 2

In Germany, 8 May 1945 is considered the day on which the Second World War ended. Whilst the fighting in Germany did terminate on that day, many people would however struggle with the consequences of the war for a long time to come: flight and expulsion, hunger and war traumas are some examples of many. In addition, the political transition from fascism to democracy was a long process, which was initiated by the four allied powers (Great Britain, Russia, USA and France). Their “Berlin Declaration” dating from 5 June 1945 divided Germany into four occupation zones. Subsequently they initiated the legal reappraisal of Nazi crimes in the context of so-called denazification.

Photo: Imperial War Museums, BU 8573, public domain)

8 May 1945 did of course not signify the same everywhere. In the Pacific region the war continued and only ended in August 1945, when the US military dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In addition, for many people in Eastern Europe for instance, 8 May marked the beginning of a new phase of occupation and violence. As for many colonised areas around the world, the war and its end had a strong impact on their long journey towards independence. In the North African country of Algeria, for example, on 8 May people do not commemorate the end of the Second World War, but rather the tens of thousands of victims of a violently suppressed uprising against the French colonial power in the town of Sétif. 

US-American Newsmap for the military, 7 May 1945. The left map shows the situation in Central Europe on that day. The dark areas are occupied by the Allies. Parallel to this a map of the war in the Pacific Area is shown, where the war will continue until summer.

This world map by the Canadian graphic artist Stanley Turner for C.C. Peterson Advertising Agency (Toronto) shows events of the World War until early summer 1945, with events in Europe and the Pacific area on the left and right sides respectively. War events in other parts of the world are marked but not listed.