Czech Republic Marks 76th Anniversary of End of WWII in Europe

In most European countries, May 8 is a national holiday that remembers the end of World War II in Europe.

This morning, Czech President Milos Zeman, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and other senior officials, including Speakers of the Senate and House of Representatives Miloš Vystrčil and Radek Vondráček, Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar, will lay wreaths at the National Memorial in Prague to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

The reverent act will be preceded by a flight of two Gripen fighters and the national anthem, followed by a minute of silence for all who died for the Republic’s freedom and independence.

Remembrance events will also take place in other locations, for example at the Olšany cemetery. Similar events were also held in several other Czech cities, such as Brno, and České Budějovice.

In the afternoon, a convoy of American historic military vehicles will set out from Hořice in the Jičín region to Lázně Velichovky.

The Victory Day, or the day Nazi Germany signed the surrender in 1945, is marked in the Czech Republic together with most European countries as a national holiday.

The End Of The War

In May 1944 Edvard Beneš signed an agreement that the Soviet Union will liberate Czechoslovak territory. On the 21st of September, Czechoslovak troops formed in the Soviet Union liberated the village Kalinov (near Dukla Pass). And gradually Czechoslovakia was liberated by Soviet troops; however, southwestern parts of Bohemia were liberated by other Allied troops from the west.

Liberation

A provisional Czechoslovak government was formed by the Soviets in Slovak’s Košice on the 4th of April 1945. Bratislava was taken by Soviet Union on the 4th of April and Prague was taken on the 9th of May during the Prague Offensive. When Soviet troops arrived, Prague was in a general state of confusion due to the Prague Uprising.

On May 8, with Allied troops approaching from west and east, the Czechs negotiated a cease-fire with the Germans. The situation was now critical; the Czechs lacked the machinery and the weaponry to continue fighting the Germans, and the city’s Old Town was in flames.

Part of the cease-fire was a guarantee, from the Germans, that the city would not be harmed further. The Czechs knew that, with help on the way, the cease-fire would be far more beneficial to them than it seemed on the surface.

A previous agreement between American and Russian forces stated that the Red Army would be the one to liberate Prague; however, some American Army forces had come as far as the suburbs of Prague, and some negotiators persuaded General Toussaint, commander in charge of the German forces, to agree to the cease-fire.

On May 9, 1945, the Red Army entered Prague.

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