TOMORROW marks 75 years since the unconditional surrender of Germany took effect, bringing to an end the war against Germany and her European allies during the Second World War.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said on 7 May 1945, the German High Command authorised the signing an unconditional surrender on all fronts which would come into effect from midnight 8-9 May, with 8 May declared Victory in Europe Day.
“For more than half a decade Australian service men and women were operational in Europe, fighting and dying in Britain, north west Europe, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, on land in North Africa, Greece and Crete and in the Middle East,” Mr Chester said.
“Tragically, more than 10,000 Australians died in the war against Germany and her allies in the European theatre and nearly 10,000 more were wounded and almost 8,000 became prisoners of war.”
Victory in Europe brought cause for great celebrations in Allied nations and saw liberation for the thousands of Australians who were prisoners of war in Germany or Eastern Europe.
“While Australians serving overseas joined in the celebrations and in the major Australian cities people rejoiced, they were still aware that the war in the Pacific was yet to be won and would ultimately continue until August the same year,” Mr Chester said.
“On Victory in Europe Day, we should all remember the service and sacrifice of these brave men and women who fought and died in the European theatre. Lest we forget.”
Almost one million Australians enlisted for service in the Second World War and of those, there are still some 14,000 veterans alive today. On 15 August this year we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific, long referred to as the end of the Second World War, where we will remember the service of those who served in the Second World War and the sacrifice of the some 39,000 men and women who died protecting our country.