British Prime Minister Winston Churchill waves to crowds on the day he broadcast to the nation that the war with Nazi Germany had been won, May 8, 1945.

Photograph by British Combine Photos Ltd., courtesy Wikimedia

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  • On May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany officially surrendered to Allied forces, ending combat in the European Theater of World War II. The instrument of surrender was signed in Rheims, France, at the headquarters of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Upon hearing the news, millions of people celebrated on the streets of London, and nearly as many crowded New York City’s Times Square.
    One American soldier, stationed in France, recalled his experience to the National World War II Museum: “The people went mad. Mad with laughter and mad with happiness, mad with anything and everything. All up and down the streets the cheering populace let it be known that Hitler was KAPUT!”
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    defeat Verb

    to overcome an enemy or obstacle.

    populace Noun

    population, community, or group of people.

    regime Noun

    system of government.

    World War II Noun

    (1939-1945) armed conflict between the Allies (represented by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (represented by Germany, Italy, and Japan.)