Friday, May 8, 2015

Victory in Europe, 1945

Victory in Europe Day or “V-E Day” finally came on this date in 1945. The despised Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich were finally thrown down. America and her Allies finally crushed the ruthless Nazi regime that from 1933 to 1945, had terrorized Europe and slaughtered millions of people. Indeed, it was a day of great celebration for soldiers like Dad's brother Elwin fighting in Europe, and also for the rest of the world.

But there was still a war against Japan that had to be won.

On V-E Day, Soldiers, Marines, and Sailors like my father aboard the USS Hector in Saipan, were still hard at work trying to defeat Japan. Although the war for America began with Japan’s attack on December 7, 1941, the Pacific Theater had taken a back seat to the European Front. Now with Hitler dead and Berlin in ruins, attention rightly began to turn toward winning the war in the Pacific as soon as possible.

When years later I asked my dad about his reaction to the V-E Day announcement, he could barely remember it. It certainly made no difference to his daily schedule. In fact, when the announcement arrived, there were several ships moored alongside Hector, each with urgent repair needs. In the Pacific Theater, the Battle of Iwo Jima had only recently concluded, and the U.S. fleet was ramping up for the invasion of Okinawa. There was simply too much going on concerning the war against Japan to take more than a passing notice of the hard-won victory in Europe.

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