CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- On May 8, 1945, at 3 p.m., the bells rang to mark the end of World War II in Europe. Since that day, and until now, Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day, commemorates the day the Germans officially surrendered, making an end to the European phase of World War II.
Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the U.S. into World War II, forced the Nazis to become defensive and they soon suffered a series of escalating defeats. As a result, Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, to avoid being captured by the Red Army. A couple of days later, the act of military surrender was signed in Reims, France on May 7 and in Berlin, Germany on May 8.
With the end of the war came the end of long years of suffering. Individuals reacted in different ways to the end of the conflict.
Some celebrated. Massive celebrations erupted throughout the world. In the U.S., the victory happened on President Harry Truman's 61st birthday. Others spent the day in quiet reflection, and many started plans for the future.
The people of Belgium have not forgotten the sacrifices made by the Allies. Many Belgian cities will commemorate V-E Day with a ceremony at war monuments. In the local community, there will be commemorative events on the main squares of Chièvres and Brugelette at 6:30 p.m. on May 8.