Victory in Europe Day

History, WWII

As this business focuses on classic arms and their histories (mostly concentrating on the Second World War) it would seem silly not to celebrate one of the most important days in the last hundred years.

70 years ago today, the Western Allies accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender, one week after the suicide of Adolf Hitler, the man who started it all. He left behind a changed world; economically, technologically and culturally.

Cecil Beaton's famous photograph of a child bombing survivor. This photo was widely published in the US and helped turn public opinion against the Nazis.

Cecil Beaton’s famous photograph of a child bombing survivor. This photo was widely published in the US and helped turn public opinion against the Nazis.

The manufacturing capacity of the European powers had been smashed by unrestricted bombing of military and civilian targets and the people of Europe were left traumatised and distraught by the loss of their homes and loved ones.

Culturally, people had been shocked by the revelations of the Holocaust and the first major War Crimes trials were held at Nuremberg, where the Nazis held many of their massive rallies.

269F

Technologically, the Second World War created the modern world; the extensive development of the Analogue Computer, the Atomic bomb, the assault rifle, guided missiles, the jet engine, the fighter-bomber, airbourne soldiers, the amphibious assault vehicle and radar to name but a few.

Gloster Meteor, British Jet fighter.

Gloster Meteor, British Jet fighter.

This war also saw off a few symbols of the Imperial world. The last cavalry charges in the Western World happened in Poland and Russia in brave attempts to halt the German Blitzkrieg, leaving the horse in military use to ceremonial and support roles. The Royal Navy began its downward spiral into the small force it is today and the inevitable effect on the British Empire that relied on it.

Australian_troops_at_Milne_Bay

Victory in Europe day is not the end of this war sadly. The war on Japan is still ongoing as British, Commonwealth and American soldiers push them back island by island and colony by colony. The bloodshed went on.

So, when you have had a fantastic day skirmishing and go home at the end of it, shake hands cheerfully with your opponent and please remember that, in the words of General Sherman, US Army:

“There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.”
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