75th Anniversary: Victory in Europe Day

 

May 8, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the formal declaration of victory in Europe. The surviving German military leaders had surrendered in the earliest hours of May 7, with a ceasefire holding through the day until the national leaders of the British Empire, Russia, and the United States could make the formal announcement on the morning of May 8, 1945.

Sadly, this year there will be no great outdoor public ceremonies. Yet, there are other sorts of public commemorations. The British television schedule is filled with commemorative events, culminating in a speech by the Queen, to be broadcast at the same time as her father’s speech 75 years ago. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump joined a small group of World War II veterans, who flew to Washington D.C. to honor their fallen comrades at the World War II Memorial. In Arizona, the three largest airplanes in the Commemorative Air Force flew in formation around the Valley of the Sun.

President Trump joined World War II veterans, laying a wreath at the WWII Memorial:

The veterans joining Trump include Gregory Melikian, 97, of Phoenix, who sent the coded message to the world that the Germans had unconditionally surrendered.

Participants in the D-Day invasion that turned the tide in the war include Steven Melnikoff, 100, of Cockeysville, Md., Guy Whidden, 97, of Braddock Heights, Md., Harold Angle, 97, of Chambersburg, Pa.; and Frank Devita, 96, of Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Other veterans joining Trump are Donald Halverson, 97, of Minnesota, who fought in some of the war’s fiercest fighting in Italy, John Coates, 96, of Maryland, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and Jack Myers, 97, of Hagerstown, Md., was part of a unit that liberated the Dachau concentration camp.

The British television broadcast schedule includes these events:

VE Day 75: The People’s Celebration, BBC One, 8pm
Presented by Sophie Raworth, this is the big entertainment event of the night, put on by the BBC and the Royal British Legion to show thanks to our veterans. Stars will celebrate the happy events of 1945 with popular songs from the era, culminating in a rousing rendition of We’ll Meet Again at 9pm, which the whole country is encouraged to sing along to. The full line-up for The People’s Celebration will include Katherine Jenkins, Adrian Lester, Anton Du Beke, Beverley Knight, Helen George, Sharon D Clarke, Shane Richie and Emma Barton.

Address by the Queen, BBC One, 9pm
The Queen will have her pre-recorded speech broadcast at the same time her father King George VI gave his radio address on 8th May, 1945.

In Arizona, residents heard the rumble of big radial engines as three war birds flew in a V formation around the Valley of the Sun as the Commemorative Air Force, conducted a VE Day flyover:

Taking off from Falcon Field, the first turn was over the old Mesa Cemetery at 8:30 a.m. Here they come, flying south over downtown Mesa, (3) on the map. They were headed for Gilbert and Chandler, before turning north to pass over Tempe, Phoenix, and the west end of the valley, then completing the circuit of the valley.

C-47 Skytrain cargo aircraft:

B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber:

B-25 Mitchell medium bomber:

On May 8, 1945, the formal surrender of Germany was publicly announced by political leaders of the victorious Allied Powers. President Harry S. Truman, less than a month after assuming the office of the President of the United States, announced to the American people that Germany had surrendered. He spoke to the American people about victory in Europe and all that was left to do in the other half of the world:

May 08, 1945

THIS IS a solemn but a glorious hour. I only wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly over all Europe.

For this victory, we join in offering our thanks to the Providence which has guided and sustained us through the dark days of adversity.

Our rejoicing is sobered and subdued by a supreme consciousness of the terrible price we have paid to rid the world of Hitler and his evil band. Let us not forget, my fellow Americans, the sorrow and the heartache which today abide in the homes of so many of our neighbors-neighbors whose most priceless possession has been rendered as a sacrifice to redeem our liberty.

We can repay the debt which we owe to our God, to our dead and to our children only by work–by ceaseless devotion to the responsibilities which lie ahead of us. If I could give you a single watchword for the coming months, that word is–work, work, and more work.

We must work to finish the war. Our victory is but half-won. The West is free, but the East is still in bondage to the treacherous tyranny of the Japanese. When the last Japanese division has surrendered unconditionally, then only will our fighting job be done.

We must work to bind up the wounds of a suffering world–to build an abiding peace, a peace rooted in justice and in law. We can build such a peace only by hard, toilsome, painstaking work–by understanding and working with our allies in peace as we have in war.

The job ahead is no less important, no less urgent, no less difficult than the task which now happily is done.

I call upon every American to stick to his post until the last battle is won. Until that day, let no man abandon his post or slacken his efforts. And now, I want to read to you my formal proclamation of this occasion:

“A Proclamation–The Allied armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God’s help, have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. They have violated their churches, destroyed their homes, corrupted their children, and murdered their loved ones. Our Armies of Liberation have restored freedom to these suffering peoples, whose spirit and will the oppressors could never enslave.

“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 from 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 the dictators or the tyranny of military cliques that once called us soft and weak. The power of our peoples to defend themselves against all enemies will be proved in the Pacific war as it has been proved in Europe.

“For the triumph of spirit and of arms which we have won, and for its promise to the peoples everywhere who join us in the love of freedom, it is fitting that we, as a nation, give thanks to Almighty God, who has strengthened us and given us the victory.

“Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Sunday, May 13, 1945, to be a day of prayer.

“I call upon the people of the United States, whatever their faith, to unite in offering joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won, and to pray that He will support us to the end of our present struggle and guide us into the ways of peace.

“I also call upon my countrymen to dedicate this day of prayer to the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory.

“In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.”

Delivered from the Radio Room at the White House at 9 a.m.

Here is what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said on the end of the war in Europe:

Broadcast, London, and House of Commons

Yesterday morning at 2:41 a.m. at Headquarters, General Jodl, the representative of the German High Command, and Grand Admiral Doenitz, the designated head of the German State, signed the act of unconditional surrender of all German Land, sea, and air forces in Europe to the Allied Expeditionary Force, and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command.

General Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General Francois Sevez signed the document on behalf of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General Susloparov signed on behalf of the Russian High Command.

To-day this agreement will be ratified and confirmed at Berlin, where Air Chief Marshal Tedder, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General de Lattre de Tassigny will sign on behalf of General Eisenhower. Marshal Zhukov will sign on behalf of the Soviet High Command. The German representatives will be Field-Marshal Keitel, Chief of the High Command, and the Commanders-in- Chief of the German Army, Navy, and Air Forces.

Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight to-night (Tuesday, May 8), but in the interests of saving lives the “Cease fire” began yesterday to be sounded all along the front, and our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed to-day.

The Germans are still in places resisting the Russian troops, but should they continue to do so after midnight they will, of course, deprive themselves of the protection of the laws of war, and will be attacked from all quarters by the Allied troops. It is not surprising that on such long fronts and in the existing disorder of the enemy the orders of the German High Command should not in every case be obeyed immediately. This does not, in our opinion, with the best military advice at our disposal, constitute any reason for withholding from the nation the facts communicated to us by General Eisenhower of the unconditional surrender already signed at Rheims, nor should it prevent us from celebrating to-day and to-morrow (Wednesday) as Victory in Europe days.

To-day, perhaps, we shall think mostly of ourselves. To-morrow we shall pay a particular tribute to our Russian comrades, whose prowess in the field has been one of the grand contributions to the general victory.

The German war is therefore at an end. After years of intense preparation, Germany hurled herself on Poland at the beginning of September, 1939; and, in pursuance of our guarantee to Poland and in agreement with the French Republic, Great Britain, the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations, declared war upon this foul aggression. After gallant France had been struck down we, from this Island and from our united Empire, maintained the struggle single-handed for a whole year until we were joined by the military might of Soviet Russia, and later by the overwhelming power and resources of the United States of America.

Finally almost the whole world was combined against the evil-doers, who are now prostrate before us. Our gratitude to our splendid Allies goes forth from all our hearts in this Island and throughout the British Empire.

We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued. The injury she has inflicted on Great Britain, the United States, and other countries, and her detestable cruelties, call for justice and retribution. We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task, both at home and abroad. Advance, Britannia! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!

[Editor’s Note: After making his broadcast announcement of Germany’s unconditional surrender, Churchill read the same statement to the House of Commons shortly afterwards and added]

That is the message which I have been instructed to deliver to the British Nation and Commonwealth. I have only two or three sentences to add. They will convey to the House my deep gratitude to this House of Commons, which has proved itself the strongest foundation for waging war that has ever been seen in the whole of our long history. We have all of us made our mistakes, but the strength of the Parliamentary institution has been shown to enable it at the same moment to preserve all the title-deeds of democracy while waging war in the most stern and protracted form. I wish to give my hearty thanks to men of all Parties, to everyone in every part of the House where they sit, for the way in which the liveliness of Parliamentary institutions has been maintained under the fire of the enemy, and for the way in which we have been able to persevere-and we could have persevered much longer if need had been-till all the objectives which we set before us for the procuring of the unlimited and unconditional surrender of the enemy had been achieved. I recollect well at the end of the last war, more than a quarter of a century ago, that the House, when it heard the long list of the surrender terms, the armistice terms, which had been imposed upon the Germans, did not feel inclined for debate or business, but desired to offer thanks to Almighty God, to the Great Power which seems to shape and design the fortunes of nations and the destiny of man; and I therefore beg, Sir, with your permission to move:

That this House do now attend at the Church of St. Margaret, Westminster, to give humble and reverent thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance from the threat of German domination.

This is the identical Motion which was moved in former times.

Hear, finally, King George VI deliver a deliberate, clear, determined address, heightened by his battle with a stutter that so often rendered him incapable of public communication.

.

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  1. MISTER BITCOIN Member
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    great post commemorating a Very important Day

     

    • #1
  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Wish my dad could have helped the President lay that wreath. He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He would also be 100 years old, like the other veterans. 

    • #2
  3. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    My dad hit the beach on D-Day. He took command of his unit when their leader was killed, and got a bullet in the knee at St. Lo three days later. He made it home, lived to 88, had me and my younger brother, and never talked about what he did that caused him to be awarded a Silver Star and retire at the rank of Captain. I wish I knew the story. Thanks, Dad.

    • #3
  4. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    A remembrance from the war in the Pacific. My dad was a submarine combat veteran at 18 years-old. He had the foresight to ask the radio operator on the USS Sand Lance for a paper copy of the cease fire message sent to Sand Lance. He was 19 years old when the when the war ended, and had completed three to four successful war patrols by the time the war ended.

    • #4
  5. D.A. Venters Inactive
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    My dad hit the beach on D-Day. He took command of his unit when their leader was killed, and got a bullet in the knee at St. Lo three days later. He made it home, lived to 88, had me and my younger brother, and never talked about what he did that caused him to be awarded a Silver Star and retire at the rank of Captain. I wish I knew the story. Thanks, Dad.

    There are a lot of online resources out there these days that might give you the story, or a piece of it.  The commendation itself may be available and sometimes describes the action in some level of detail.  I have found online, for some units, the detailed after action reports written up by officers just a few hours after events occurred.  It is incredible what you can find, with just a name and unit, on the internet with just a couple hours of research.  I’m sure there is a lot that is just lost to time, but might as well give it a shot.

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Thank you for this post, @cliffordbrown

    • #6
  7. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    My father-in-law forged his birth certificate with his older sister’s birthdate and changed his last name to join the army underage.  He was so eager to fight Nazis that he went over his CO’s head to demand that he be sent overseas.  For that he was busted back down to Private.  He volunteered for the 5th Ranger Btn. and was a post-D-Day replacement.  He was grievously wounded, yet always spoke less of himself and more of his buddies who never came back.  He, too, led the way.  He would be 94.

    • #7
  8. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    My father-in-law forged his birth certificate with his older sister’s birthdate and changed his last name to join the army underage. He was so eager to fight Nazis that he went over his CO’s head to demand that he be sent overseas. For that he was busted back down to Private. He volunteered for the 5th Ranger Btn. and was a post-D-Day replacement. He was grievously wounded, yet always spoke less of himself and more of his buddies who never came back. He, too, led the way. He would be 94.

    ………………….

    My dad lied about his age to join as well (try to imagine some of these little vegan hipster Bernie Bros doing that). He was in the 8th Air Force (The Mighty 8th) stationed in England from where he flew out and dropped bombs on the Germans. At age 18.  He met Princess Elizabeth, too.

     

     

    • #8
  9. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    My dad hit the beach on D-Day. He took command of his unit when their leader was killed, and got a bullet in the knee at St. Lo three days later. He made it home, lived to 88, had me and my younger brother, and never talked about what he did that caused him to be awarded a Silver Star and retire at the rank of Captain. I wish I knew the story. Thanks, Dad.

    There are a lot of online resources out there these days that might give you the story, or a piece of it. The commendation itself may be available and sometimes describes the action in some level of detail. I have found online, for some units, the detailed after action reports written up by officers just a few hours after events occurred. It is incredible what you can find, with just a name and unit, on the internet with just a couple hours of research. I’m sure there is a lot that is just lost to time, but might as well give it a shot.

    I never thought to look online. I owe you bigtime.

    I spent the afternoon searching, and I found him.

    • #9
  10. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Updated with photos and video.

    • #10
  11. D.A. Venters Inactive
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    My dad hit the beach on D-Day. He took command of his unit when their leader was killed, and got a bullet in the knee at St. Lo three days later. He made it home, lived to 88, had me and my younger brother, and never talked about what he did that caused him to be awarded a Silver Star and retire at the rank of Captain. I wish I knew the story. Thanks, Dad.

    There are a lot of online resources out there these days that might give you the story, or a piece of it. The commendation itself may be available and sometimes describes the action in some level of detail. I have found online, for some units, the detailed after action reports written up by officers just a few hours after events occurred. It is incredible what you can find, with just a name and unit, on the internet with just a couple hours of research. I’m sure there is a lot that is just lost to time, but might as well give it a shot.

    I never thought to look online. I owe you bigtime.

    I spent the afternoon searching, and I found him.

    That’s awesome!  Sounds like he was truly a hero.  I’m glad you were able to find that.  It looks like he was in the 83rd Infantry division.  If you know what regiment and company, and you have the dates August 7 – August 12 1944, you might be able to google that and find even more details, something that may not mention your father directly but gives you a more clear picture of the battle.  It’s too bad the citation left out the town in France, but I bet you could find that with a little more digging.

    • #11
  12. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Cliff,

    I loved the King George V speech. This was on the net also.

    Winston Churchill’s V-E Day Speech: A Commemorative Video in Honor of the 75th Anniversary

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #12
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    My dad hit the beach on D-Day. He took command of his unit when their leader was killed, and got a bullet in the knee at St. Lo three days later. He made it home, lived to 88, had me and my younger brother, and never talked about what he did that caused him to be awarded a Silver Star and retire at the rank of Captain. I wish I knew the story. Thanks, Dad.

     

    I never thought to look online. I owe you bigtime.

    I spent the afternoon searching, and I found him.

    That’s awesome! Sounds like he was truly a hero. I’m glad you were able to find that. It looks like he was in the 83rd Infantry division. If you know what regiment and company, and you have the dates August 7 – August 12 1944, you might be able to google that and find even more details, something that may not mention your father directly but gives you a more clear picture of the battle. It’s too bad the citation left out the town in France, but I bet you could find that with a little more digging.

    It’s right in wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/83rd_Infantry_Division_(United_States)#Combat_chronicle

    The 83rd Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Robert C. Macon, arrived in England on 16 April 1944 with its first divisional headquarters at Keele Hall in Staffordshire.[3] After training in Wales, the division, taking part in the Allied invasion of Normandy, landed at Omaha Beach, 18 June 1944, and entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carentan, 27 June. Taking the offensive, the 83rd reached the St. Lo-Periers Road, 25 July, and advanced 8 miles (13 km) against strong opposition as the Normandy Campaign ended.

    After a period of training, elements of the division took Châteauneuf-d’Ille-et-Vilaine, 5 August, and Dinard, 15 August, and approached the heavily fortified area protecting St. Malo. Intense fighting reduced enemy strong points and a combined attack against the Citadel Fortress of St. Servan caused its surrender, 17 August. While elements moved south to protect the north bank of the Loire River, the main body of the division concentrated south of Rennes for patrolling and reconnaissance activities. Elements reduced the garrison at Ile de Cézembre, which surrendered, 2 September.

     

     

    Edit:  Something doesn’t match – according to that, the 83rd didn’t arrive in Normandy until June 18th.

     

    • #13
  14. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    I’ve always been impressed by Eisenhower’s understated cable to the British & American Chiefs notifying them of the German surrender. It reads thusly; “The mission of this Allied force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7, 1945, Eisenhower.” No bells and whistles. Simply business.

     

    • #14
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    My dad hit the beach on D-Day. He took command of his unit when their leader was killed, and got a bullet in the knee at St. Lo three days later. He made it home, lived to 88, had me and my younger brother, and never talked about what he did that caused him to be awarded a Silver Star and retire at the rank of Captain. I wish I knew the story. Thanks, Dad.

    I never thought to look online. I owe you bigtime.

    I spent the afternoon searching, and I found him.

    That’s awesome! Sounds like he was truly a hero. I’m glad you were able to find that. It looks like he was in the 83rd Infantry division. If you know what regiment and company, and you have the dates August 7 – August 12 1944, you might be able to google that and find even more details, something that may not mention your father directly but gives you a more clear picture of the battle. It’s too bad the citation left out the town in France, but I bet you could find that with a little more digging.

    It’s right in wikipedia: […]

    Edit: Something doesn’t match – according to that, the 83rd didn’t arrive in Normandy until June 18th.

    Much better source is the original U.S. Army History Center material: 

    https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/cbtchron/cc/083id.htm

    Activated: 15 August 1942.

    Overseas: 6 April 1944.

    Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.

    Days of combat: 244.

    Distinguished Unit Citations: 7.

    Awards: MH-1 ; DSC-7 ; DSM-1 ; SS-710; LM-11; SM-25 ; BSM-6,294 ; AM-110.

    Commanders:

    Maj. Gen. Frank W. Milburn (August 1942-December 1943)
    Maj. Gen. Robert C. Macon (January 1944-31 January 1946).

    Returned to U. S.: 26 March 1946.

    Inactivated: 5 April 1946.

    The 83d Infantry Division arrived in England on 16 April 1944. After training in Wales, the Division landed at Omaha Beach, 18 June 1944, and entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carentan, 27 June. Taking the offensive, the 83d reached the St. Lo-Periers Road, 25 July, and advanced 8 miles against strong opposition as the Normandy campaign ended. After a period of training, elements of the Division took Chateauneuf, 5 August, and Dinard, 7 August, and approached the heavily fortified area protecting St. Malo. Intense fighting reduced enemy strong points and a combined attack against the Citadel Fortress of St. Servan caused its surrender, 17 August. While elements moved south to protect the north bank of the Loire River, the main body of the Division concentrated south of Rennes for patrolling and reconnaissance activities. Elements reduced the garrison at Ile de Cezembre, which surrendered, 2 September. The movement into Luxembourg was completed on 25 September. Taking Remich on the 28th and patrolling defensively along the Moselle, the 83d resisted counterattacks and advanced to Siegfried Line defenses across the Sauer after capturing Grevenmacher and Echternach, 7 October. As the initial movement in operation “Unicorn,” the Division took Le Stromberg Hill in the vicinity of Basse Konz against strong opposition, 5 November, and beat off counterattacks. Moving to the Hurtgen Forest, the 83d thrust forward from Gressenich to the west bank of the Roer. It entered the Battle of the Bulge, 27 December, striking at Rochefort and reducing the enemy salient in a bitter struggle. The Division moved back to Belgium and Holland for rehabilitation and training, 22 January 1945. On 1 March, the 83d advanced toward the Rhine in the operation “Grenade,” and captured Neuss. The west bank of the Rhine from North of Oberkassell to the Erft Canal was cleared and defensive positions established by 2 March and the Division renewed its training. The 83d crossed the Rhine south of Wesel, 29 March, and advanced across the Munster Plain to the Weser, crossing it at Bodenwerder. As opposition disintegrated, Halle fell on 6 April. The Division crossed the Leine, 8 April, and attacked to the east, pushing over the Harz Mountain region and advancing to the Elbe at Barby. That city was taken on the 13th. The 83d established a bridgehead over the river but evacuated the area to the Russians on 6 May 1945.

    https://history.army.mil/documents/ETO-OB/83ID-ETO.htm

    https://history.army.mil/documents/ETO-OB/ETOOB-TOC.htm

     

     

    • #15
  16. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

     

    Much better source is the original U.S. Army History Center material:

     

    The 83d Infantry Division arrived in England on 16 April 1944. After training in Wales, the Division landed at Omaha Beach, 18 June 1944, and entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carentan, 27 June. Taking the offensive, the 83d reached the St. Lo-Periers Road, 25 July, and advanced 8 miles against strong opposition as the Normandy campaign ended. After a period of training, elements of the Division took Chateauneuf, 5 August, and Dinard, 7 August, and approached the heavily fortified area protecting St. Malo. Intense fighting reduced enemy strong points and a combined attack against the Citadel Fortress of St. Servan caused its surrender, 17 August. While elements moved south to protect the north bank of the Loire River, the main body of the Division concentrated south of Rennes for patrolling and reconnaissance activities. Elements reduced the garrison at Ile de Cezembre, which surrendered, 2 September. The movement into Luxembourg was completed on 25 September. Taking Remich on the 28th and patrolling defensively along the Moselle, the 83d resisted counterattacks and advanced to Siegfried Line defenses across the Sauer after capturing Grevenmacher and Echternach, 7 October. As the initial movement in operation “Unicorn,” the Division took Le Stromberg Hill in the vicinity of Basse Konz against strong opposition, 5 November, and beat off counterattacks. Moving to the Hurtgen Forest, the 83d thrust forward from Gressenich to the west bank of the Roer. It entered the Battle of the Bulge, 27 December, striking at Rochefort and reducing the enemy salient in a bitter struggle. The Division moved back to Belgium and Holland for rehabilitation and training, 22 January 1945. On 1 March, the 83d advanced toward the Rhine in the operation “Grenade,” and captured Neuss. The west bank of the Rhine from North of Oberkassell to the Erft Canal was cleared and defensive positions established by 2 March and the Division renewed its training. The 83d crossed the Rhine south of Wesel, 29 March, and advanced across the Munster Plain to the Weser, crossing it at Bodenwerder. As opposition disintegrated, Halle fell on 6 April. The Division crossed the Leine, 8 April, and attacked to the east, pushing over the Harz Mountain region and advancing to the Elbe at Barby. That city was taken on the 13th. The 83d established a bridgehead over the river but evacuated the area to the Russians on 6 May 1945.

    https://history.army.mil/documents/ETO-OB/83ID-ETO.htm

    https://history.army.mil/documents/ETO-OB/ETOOB-TOC.htm

     

     

    Looks to me like wikipedia lifted the text I quoted directly from that.

     

    • #16
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Presidential Message on the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day

    Seventy-five years ago today, the last remnants of the Nazi regime unconditionally surrendered to the Allied Powers, marking the end of World War II in Europe.  Today, we celebrate the forces of freedom who defeated tyranny and emerged victorious in that monumental struggle.  We pay tribute to those who served for their service and pause to remember those who gave their last full measure in defense of the flames of liberty.

    The campaign to end fascism in the European Theater is a somber reminder of the price of freedom.  More than 30 million lives were lost and tens of millions more were shattered in the war.  Most of those who perished in Europe were civilians, including 6 million Jews and millions of others from Poland and the former Soviet Union.  The United States also suffered incredible losses.  Of the more than 2 million Americans who deployed to Europe and the Mediterranean or patrolled the Atlantic Ocean, more than 186,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice, and more than twice that number were wounded.

    Most of these selfless and heroic warriors had never known life in a prosperous America.  They grew up during the Great Depression, when America’s economic prospects seemed bleak.  Yet, they answered our country’s call of duty because they believed in the principles that lie at the foundation of our Nation.  They came from the plains of the Midwest, industrial and manufacturing towns, the sprawling farmlands of rural America, and our country’s up-and-coming cities.  Many had never traveled outside of their home states, but they would trek thousands of miles around the world to meet their tyrannical enemies on the beaches of France, in the forests of Belgium, on the hills of Italy, and on hundreds of other battlefields of Europe and North Africa.  These American heroes would not relent in their noble efforts until they had liberated all of Europe from the abhorrent Nazi regime.

    Today, as we reflect on the 75th anniversary of the end of the World War II in Europe, we are reminded that no challenge is greater than the resolve of the American spirit.  Over the past months, our Nation has faced remarkable adversity during the coronavirus pandemic.  But just as we have so many times before, America will triumph, and we will emerge from this a stronger and more united country.

    I join all Americans in honoring our brave warriors for their gallant service and sacrifice in World War II.  Fewer than 400,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in our Armed Forces during World War II remain with us today.  Their generation—the Greatest Generation—will never be forgotten.  We are forever grateful for their immeasurable contributions to the success and prosperity of our Nation.

    • #17
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany
    Issued on: May 8, 2020

    James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

    12:38 P.M. EDT

    MS. MCENANY:  Good afternoon.  Today marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a triumphant milestone in our nation’s history and indeed in world history.  Seventy-five years ago today, our brave American forces defeated fascism in Europe.  And through the selfless devotion of thousands of patriots, they saved the world.

    Over 180,000 Americans gave their lives in the European theater during World War Two.  And I want to take just a moment to honor their service and their sacrifice.  Thank you to all of our veterans.  You are truly, truly our heroes.

    […]

     

    • #18
  19. Michael S. Malone Contributor
    Michael S. Malone
    @MichaelSMalone

    I’m old enough (66) to remember going to the PX with my parents and every middle aged man there was a war vet.  Just in my immediate world, that group included my father (32 missions, bombardier/navigator 8th AF), all of my uncles, and all the men in my neighborhood.  My high school chemistry teacher had been a Lt. JG on a destroyer at Midway.  One of my parents’ friends had been 101st Airborne and landed at D-Day, Arnheim and Bastogne.  My future father-in-law was Army Corps of Engineers.  One of my friend’s father had been radio operator in the 8th AF.  Another friend’s father had been on Iwo Jima, and one his neighbors was always known as “Okinawa”, having been a Seabee under fire there.  And I remember seeing so many men with missing limbs that it didn’t seem unusual.

    It’s hard to imagine that world now.  Those men are almost gone; and though there are veterans around us, the experience is nothing like the pervasiveness of all of those five million veterans filling every corner of daily American life

    • #19
  20. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    I’m old enough (66) to remember going to the PX with my parents and every middle aged man there was a war vet. Just in my immediate world, that group included my father (32 missions, bombardier/navigator 8th AF), all of my uncles, and all the men in my neighborhood. My high school chemistry teacher had been a Lt. JG on a destroyer at Midway. One of my parents’ friends had been 101st Airborne and landed at D-Day, Arnheim and Bastogne. My future father-in-law was Army Corps of Engineers. One of my friend’s father had been radio operator in the 8th AF. Another friend’s father had been on Iwo Jima, and one his neighbors was always known as “Okinawa”, having been a Seabee under fire there. And I remember seeing so many men with missing limbs that it didn’t seem unusual.

    It’s hard to imagine that world now. Those men are almost gone; and though there are veterans around us, the experience is nothing like the pervasiveness of all of those five million veterans filling every corner of daily American life

    I joined a facebook group for the school district I grew up in (I was class of ’80), which among other things posts obituaries for former teachers and staff at the High Schools.  I’m amazed at the number of teachers I had who were WWII combat vets, and it never came up at all.

    My dad was fortunate to never see combat.  He was active duty stateside training when the war ended (B-17 tail gunner – I have a picture of him at Mt. Rushmore with a couple guys from his crew on the day FDR died).  He shipped over to Clark Field in the Philippines in November 1945 and was there for several months.  He told me that even though the war was over they still got shot at every night.

    He lost two first cousins in the Pacific, one was killed in a kamikaze attack on his LST just before Christmas 1944, and one was on the Indianapolis and was lost at sea when it went down just before the end of the war.

    My dad really didn’t like the Japanese, all the way up until at least the 1980s.

     

    • #20
  21. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Thank you all for the research and the helpful information.

    • #21
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Thank you all for the research and the helpful information.

    You are welcome. I was aware of the Army History Center, and had good reason to believe it would have good material on the 83d Infantry Division, due to some of my duties later in my Army career. Current units, at various levels, have a periodic duty to submit annual historical summaries, the first draft of future histories, or the source material for same.

    Substituting [Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps] for “Army history center” yields results suggesting all services have similar repositories/ programs.

    • #22
  23. D.A. Venters Inactive
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Thank you all for the research and the helpful information.

    I noticed there is an 83rd Infantry Division Facebook page. A lot of WWII units have these. They’re  mostly for descendants of the veterans now, sadly.  My grandfather’s WWII bomb group has one and people often ask if anyone has any information on a person or particular event. Even if you don’t find someone who knew your Dad, you may get more details of his experience through stories passed down to other kids of veterans of the division. Just a thought.

    • #23
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