On This Day in 1945

75 years ago to this day, the second world war was finally over. After the signing of the instrument of surrender, everyone was able to produce a sigh of relief.  The unconditional surrender of Germany was to be effective from 23:01 on may 8th, but was only signed at 00:16 local time in Berlin, effecively on the 9th. That's why the 9th can effectively be called the start of 75 years of peace in Europe.

 

The "instrument of surrender", of which there was a version in Russian as well.

 

Newspapers had obvious headlines the next day. In the week leading up to the surrender, the headlines and photographs showed how Russian and American soldiers had met at the Elbe river. They shook hands in front of the camera and smiled. But did they know that after the German surrender, a new war was about to break out?
Probably not. They had been fighting, sometimes for years; they had endured unbelievable hardship. Most called themselves lucky to survive a war that had caused 60 million victims, and they were right. They were asked to smile for the camera at at time when their leaders were very suspicious of each other. Both the Soviet and western allied armies had planners working on all kinds of "what if" scenarios to cover any act of agression after the German surrender.

 


The may 9th, 1945 issue of "Pravda" 

 

The German surrender seems to have been the prelude of the "war" that followed.
But the cold war, even though some people insist it was a real war, cannot be compared to the second world war - or the Great Patriottic War, as it is commonly known in Russia.

The war in the Soviet Union had shown the darkest side of mankind. It left the entirety of western Russia and Poland ruined, like some of the cities in western Europe. Likewise, many of Germany's cities had been destroyed. But the cold war didn't create new ruins and didn't make millions of victims; it just killed mutual trust.

 


Soviet and American troops shake hands after meeting on the Elbe river, 1945.

 

The fact that we are free to portray this war in a game today says everything about the total freedom we gained.
It required the sacrifice of millions of soldiers and civilians to end the war. And on this day in 1945, the survivors started clearing the debris with their bare hands, re- building their country to give us a better world.

We thank all veterans and their contemporaries for their sacrifice and for our freedom. We will make sure that our game will portray world war 2 as realistically as we can, by which means it will hopefully honour the victims and the survivors.

Happy 9th of may!