Today in History, May 8, 1945: The War Ends in Europe

On May 8, 1945 World War II ended in Europe. This piece was produced by the United News Company in 1945. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

Video Transcript

NARRATOR: Throughout the world throngs of people hail the end of the war in Europe. It is five years and more since Hitler marched into Poland. Years full of suffering and death and sacrifice. Now the war against Germany is won. A grateful nation gives thanks for victory. Hundreds of thousands crowd into American churches to give thanks to God. President Truman announced the official surrender

PRESIDENT TRUMAN: This is a solemn but glorious hour. I wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to see this day. Gen. Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations.  The flags of freedom fly all over Europe. For this victory we join in offering our thanks to the providence which has guided us and sustained us through the dark days of adversity and into light. Much remains to be done. The victory won in the west must now be won in the east. The whole world must be cleansed of the evil of which half the world has been freed. United, the peace loving nations have demonstrated in the west that their arms are stronger by far, than the might of dictators or the tyranny of military cliques that once called us soft and weak. The power of our people to defend themselves against all enemies will be proved in the Pacific war as it was proved in Europe.

NARRATOR: Historic pictures of the last days of the war in Europe show American and Russian troops as they joined at…on the River Elbe, splitting German armies in two. United States Gen. Reinhardt meets Red Army General Russakoff, a meeting that spelled out certain German defeat. At a live Mediterranean headquarters in Italy the Germans unconditionally give up all of Italy and southern Austria. In civilian clothes, representatives of the German army sign the surrender document. General W. D. Morgan representing Supreme Mediterranean Commander Alexander signs for the Allies. Preceding the final capitulation at Reims, this surrender eliminated a million German troops. Inside Germany itself the Allies seize the famous stadium or Nuremburg, seen of countless Nazi party rallies. With the capture of this famous, southern German city, the American flag blocks out the swastika.  In a symbolic gesture American troops destroy the Nazi party emblem.