World War II: Fall of the Third Reich
World War II in Europe from Stalingrad to the fall of Berlin (14 May 1945)
Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean
The unconditional surrender of Germany on May 8 marked the end of the War in Europe. The cost had been huge, leaving perhaps 35 million dead. Among them were two-thirds of Europe's Jews, who had been systematically exterminated by the Nazis. And although the war was finally over, the outcome was a Europe dominated by the United States and the Soviet Union.
In the last major Soviet operation of World War II in Europe, forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its allies attacked Germany's Army Group Centre and Army Group Ostmark in Czechoslovakia and Austria, leading to the capitulation of German forces in Central Europe and the liberation of Prague.
German Instrument of Surrender
Representatives of the German armed forces signed the Instrument of Surrender in Berlin, along with representatives of the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom (on behalf of the Western Allies, who had also overseen a surrender ceremony in Reims earlier that day). This act brought an end to World War II in Europe.
Following the German signing of the Act of Surrender on 7 May in Reims, France, and 8 May in Berlin, Germany, a public holiday - Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day - was celebrated in Allied countries to mark the Allies' formal acceptance of Germany's surrender and the end of World War II in Europe.
Allied occupation of Norway
British forces, starting with the 1st Airborne Division in Operation Doomsday and followed by Force 134, maintained order in Norway until the full restoration of the Norwegian government and its armed forces.