Victory Day (9 May)


Victory Day (9 May)
Victory Day
Victory Day
Victory Day celebrations in Moscow, 9 May 2005
Official name Russian: День Победы, Den' Pobedy
Observed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
Date 9 May
Marshal Zhukov reading the German capitulation. Seated on his right is Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder.

Victory Day[1] or 9 May marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War (also known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union and all post-Soviet states). It was first inaugurated in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on 8 May 1945 (after midnight, thus on 9 May, by Moscow Time). It happened after the original capitulation that Germany earlier agreed to the joint Allied forces of the Western Front. The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin.[2] Though the official inauguration happened in 1945 (which means it has been celebrated since 1946), the holiday became a non-labour day only in 1965 and only in some of the countries.

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. Since 2002, the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has observed a commemoration day known as the "Day of Liberation from National Socialism, and the End of the Second World War".[3]

In 1988,[citation needed] before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Victory Day ceased to be observed in Uzbekistan, but was partially restored in 1999 as Memorial/Remembrance Day.[4] After their separation from the Soviet Union, the Baltic countries now commemorate the end of WWII on 8 May, the Victory in Europe Day.[5] But many people in Baltic countries still gather to celebrate the Victory Day on 9 May.

Contents

History

Field-Marshal Keitel signing the ratified surrender terms for the German military

Two separate capitulation events took place at the time. First, the capitulation to the Allied nations in Reims was signed on 7 May 1945, effective 23:01 CET 8 May. This date is commonly referred to as the V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) in most western European countries. The other World War II victory day, the V-J day (Victory in Japan Day) is commemorated in August, and is of considerably lesser significance in Europe.

However, the Soviet Union's only representative in Reims was General Ivan Susloparov, the Military Liaison Mission Commander. General Susloparov's scope of authority was not entirely clear, and he had no means of immediate contact with the Kremlin, but nevertheless decided to sign for the Soviet side. Susloparov was caught off guard; he had no instructions from Moscow. But if he did not sign, he risked a German surrender without Soviet participation. However, he noted that it could be replaced with a new version in the future. Joseph Stalin was later displeased by these events, believing that the German surrender should have been accepted only by the envoy of the USSR Supreme command and signed only in Berlin and insisted the Reims protocol be considered preliminary, with the main ceremony to be held in Berlin, where Marshal Zhukov was at the time, as the latter recounts in his memoirs:[6]

[Quoting Stalin:] Today, in Reims, Germans signed the preliminary act on an unconditional surrender. The main contribution, however, was done by Soviet people and not by the Allies, therefore the capitulation must be signed in front of the Supreme Command of all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, and not only in front of the Supreme Command of Allied Forces. Moreover, I disagree that the surrender was not signed in Berlin, which was the center of Nazi aggression. We agreed with the Allies to consider the Reims protocol as preliminary.

Therefore, another ceremony was organized in a surviving manor in the outskirts of Berlin late on 8 May, when it was already 9 May in Moscow due to the difference in time zones. Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel submitted the capitulation of the Wehrmacht to Marshal Georgy Zhukov in the Soviet Army headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst. To commemorate the victory in the war, the ceremonial Moscow Victory Parade was held in the Soviet capital on 24 June 1945 (four years and two days after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of the Soviet Union).

Celebration

During the Soviet Union's existence, 9 May was celebrated throughout the USSR and in the countries of the Eastern Bloc. Though the holiday was introduced in many Soviet republics approximately between 1946 and 1950, it only became a non-labour day in Ukrainian (1963) and Russian (1965) SSRs. In the latter one, a weekday off (usually a Monday) was given starting 1966 if 9 May was to fall on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday).

The celebration of Victory Day continued during subsequent years. The war became a topic of great importance in cinema, literature, history lessons at school, the mass media, and the arts. The ritual of the celebration gradually obtained a distinctive character with a number of similar elements: ceremonial meetings, speeches, lectures, receptions and fireworks.[7]

After the fall of the communism in Central and Eastern Europe, most former USSR countries retained the celebration, though it was not formally celebrated by some of them. In Russia during 1990s the May 9 was not celebrated massively, because Soviet-style mass demonstrations did not fit in with the way in which liberals who were in power in Moscow communicated with the country’s residents. The situation changed when Vladimir Putin came to power. He started to promote the prestige of the governing regime and history, national holidays and commemorations all became a source for national self-esteem. Since then the Victory Day in Russia has increasingly been turning into a joyous celebration in which popular culture plays a great role. The celebration of the 60th anniversary of Victory Day in Russia in 2005 became the largest national and popular holiday since the collapse of the Soviet Union.[7]

Countries in which 9 May is celebrated

2005 Victory Day parade on Moscow's Red Square.
Ukrainian paratroopers on Victory Day parade on Kiev's Khreshchatyk street, 2010.
"Victory Banner #5", raised on the roof of the Reichstag building
  • Armenia Armenia has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
  • Azerbaijan Azerbaijan has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
  • Belarus Belarus has officially recognised 9 May since 1946 and considered it non-labor in the past;
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina has officially recognised 9 May as the Victory Day over Fascism and considers it a non-working day.[8]
  • British Channel Islands of  Jersey and  Guernsey were not liberated from German occupation until 9 May 1945, and  Sark on 10 May 1945, and celebrate those dates as their Liberation Days.
  • Georgia (country) Georgia has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
  • East Germany German Democratic Republic recognised Tag des Sieges (Victory Day) on 9 May as a public holiday between 1975 and the end of the republic in 1990. Earlier, the Tag der Befreiung (Day of liberation) was celebrated on 8 May as a public holiday, from 1950 to 1966, and on the 40th anniversary in 1985.
  • Germany Germany does not officially recognise 9 May as a holiday. However, celebrations continue to take place in some areas of the former German Democratic Republic. Also, on 8 May, the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since 2002 has recognised a commemorative day Tag der Befreiung vom Nationalsozialismus und der Beendigung des 2. Weltkrieges (Day of Liberation from National Socialism, and the End of the Second World War).
  • Israel Israel has officially recognised 9 May since 2000.
  • Kazakhstan Kazakhstan has officially recognised 9 May since 1947. It's a non-working day. The holiday is sometimes celebrated in connection with other national holidays on 10 and 11 May.
  • Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
  • Moldova Moldova has officially recognised 9 May since 1951;
  • Poland Poland celebrated since 1945 (until 1950 non-labour day)
  • Russia Russia has officially recognised 9 May since 1946 and considers it a non-working day even if it falls on a weekend (in which case any following Monday will be non-working);
  • Serbia Serbia celebrates 9 May as the Victory Day over Fascism but it's a working holiday. Still many people gather to mark the anniversary with the war veterans, including Serbian army, Minister of Defense and the President.
  • Tajikistan Tajikistan has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
  • Turkmenistan Turkmenistan has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
  • Ukraine Ukraine has officially recognised 9 May since 1946 and considers it a non-working day even if it falls on a weekend (in which case any following Monday will be non-working);[9]
  • Uzbekistan Uzbekistan has officially recognised 9 May from 1946 until 1988. Starting 1999, the holiday was restored as "Memorial/Remembrance Day;.[4]
  • Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia officially recognised 9 May as the Victory Day over Fascism as an all-state non-working holiday.

Russophone populations in many world countries celebrate the holiday regardless of its local status. Many Russian communities in United States and Canada, also for example in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania[10] organize public gatherings and even parades on this day.[11] In Europe, some multilanguage broadcasting television chains translate the "Victory speech" of the Russian president and the parade on Red Square.[12]

Soviet and post-Soviet symbols associated with the Victory Day

The ribbon of Saint George. This is worn in a manner to celebrate the holiday
George's Ribbon attached to car antenna

During the Victory Day parade 2010, President Dmitry Medvedev and many other VIPs were seen wearing the commemorative ribbon on the lapel of their jackets.

Soviet Union

Order of Victory
Order of Victory
Medal For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945
Medal For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945
Medal For the Capture of Berlin
Medal For the Capture of Berlin
Medal For the Twentieth Anniversary of the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945
Medal for the 20th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Юбилейная медаль «Тридцать лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.»
Medal for the 30th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Юбилейная медаль «Сорок лет победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.»
Medal for the 40th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945

Russia

Медаль «50 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.»
Medal for the 50th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Медаль 60 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.
Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945

Ukraine

Медаль 60 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.
Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945

Kazakhstan

Медаль 60 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг. (Казахстан)
Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945

See also

Stamp of USSR, 1945. The inscription on the bottom written in cursive, below the Soviet soldier waving the red flag with Josef Stalin on it, says,"Long live our victory!"

References

  1. ^ (Russian: День Победы, Den' Pobedy; Ukrainian: День Перемоги, Den' Peremohy; Belarusian: Дзень Перамогі, Dzień Pieramohi; Kazakh: Жеңіс Күні, Jeñis Küni; Azerbaijani: Гәләбә ҝүнү; Georgian: გამარჯვების დღე; Lithuanian: Pergalės diena; Romanian: Ziua Victoriei; Latvian: Uzvaras diena; Tajik: Рӯзи Ғалаба; Estonian: Võidupäev; Tatar Cyrillic: Җиңү көне, Latin: Ciñü köne)
  2. ^ Ziemke Further readingCHAPTER XV:The Victory Sealed Page 258 last 2 paragraphs
  3. ^ Gesetz über Sonn- und Feiertage des Landes Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  4. ^ a b "Their memory lives on"
  5. ^ "8 May: Memorial Day for the victims of World War II". Estonian Embassy in Washington. http://www.estemb.org/estonia/history/aid-776. Retrieved 7 August 2009. 
  6. ^ Zhukov, Georgy (2002) (in Russian). Memoirs. Olma-Press. pp. 329. 
  7. ^ a b See Ločmele, K., Procevska, O., Zelče, V. (2011). Celebrations, Commemorative Dates and Related Rituals: Soviet Experience, its Transformation and Contemporary Victory Day Celebrations in Russia and Latvia. In: Muižnieks, N. (ed.). The Geopolitics of History in Latvian-Russian Relations. Riga: Academic Press of the University of Latvia. http://www.szf.lu.lv/files/petnieciba/publikacijas/The%20Geopolitics%20of%20History%20in%20Latvian-Russian%20Relations.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.parlament.ba/download/zdocs/Prijedl.zak.+o+praznicima+BiH+i+neradnim+danima-B.pdf/def41ea7786c75e1d389ac1fdfead069
  9. ^ Lviv Oblast, however, does not recognize Victory Day, but rather recognizes the day as a memorial to all wartime victims of both the Soviet and Nazi regimes, as well as all of those caught in between.
  10. ^ " Estonia: Local Russians Celebrate End Of World War II", Radio Liberty, 9 May 2007
  11. ^ "Russian Orthodox Church in Toronto celebrates 9 May 2005"
  12. ^ "May 9 parade TV-event from Israel"

External links

Works related to German Instrument of Surrender (7 May 1945) at Wikisource Works related to German Instrument of Surrender (8 May 1945) at Wikisource


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