I write this message to you, dear reader, from the discomfort of my own house arrest. I have lost count of how many weeks our way of life has been suffocated by an overreaching state apparatus, which is intent on ‘flattening the curve’. Like a mistaken patient using antibiotics to treat a viral infection our response to the illness has been disproportionate, and will be incredibly damaging in the long term.

No doubt we will emerge from this pandemic similar to how the Western World hobbled over the victory line of the Second World War: facing economic devastation and a Cold War with the Communist menace from the East (China’s ruthless coverup of the Coronavirus enabled its rapid spread around the world, and the Western World will be crying out for revenge).

In spite of our current circumstances, VE (Victory in Europe) day is a twenty-four-hour period where we celebrate what we have won. In the yearly cycle, at nearly six months to the day, we remember what we have lost – who we have lost – on Remembrance Day, on the 11th November, a date in 1918 where the guns fell silent, bringing an end to the First World War. On the 8th May 1945, the fighting also ceased in the European theatre, but the war itself was still far from over; Britain and the United States were still waging war against Japan, with an almost inevitable invasion of the Japanese Home Islands set to propel the war into 1946. After years of brutal fighting, millions of battle fatalities still covered the horizon.

Nevertheless, on that day in 1945, an atmosphere of jubilation swept the globe. In all the major cities of the Allied world – in Paris, London, New York, and countless others – streets suddenly became jammed with joyous crowds as soon as the news of unconditional surrender broke through. As seen in old videos, all the lampposts in the streets were scaled by young, patriotic partygoers trying to catch a full breath of air, away from the claustrophobic celebrations below.

All of the Allied belligerent nations on the European mainland had been swiftly invaded and brutally occupied by the Nazi regime. This is often why, within the national calendars of these nations, a date is selected to mark the anniversary for when these countries were liberated from Axis control. VE day marks the point of victory when the threat of Nazi Germany was fully extinguished.

Although the British Isles were spared from a land invasion, VE Day is indistinguishable in significance to the nation as it is to all the others, because it serves to remind all of us of what we have won – or more specifically, what was stopped from happening.

Fighting on the frontlines was unimaginably horrifying, but equally so, was what was occurring behind the enemy’s frontline. Everywhere the Nazis conquered, they ruled with terror, even using mass killings to frighten the population into submission.

When the tide of war had turned on the Nazis, and the allies pushed further into the European continent, the full extent of Hitler’s doctrine of racial supremacy, along with its implementation in the form of the Holocaust, was revealed to the world. Allied troops stumbled upon these concentration camps only to discover skeletal corpses piled on top of each other, along with many thousands of starving inmates requiring immediate medical attention. The Nuremburg trials would invent the term ‘crimes against humanity’ to describe the systematic slaughter of millions of people in what is the most heinous act of ethnic cleansing in history.

So, on this day, please take a moment to recall why you are a member of the victorious party – remember what has been won.

 

Photo by leo.wan on Flickr.