Victory in Europe: 8 May 1945

VE Day

On 8 May 1945 six years of bloody warfare in Europe ended with the surrender of Germany. The war in the Pacific would drag on until August.

The contributions of the English Speaking peoples to end this war in both theaters is incalculable. Early in the war, beginning in 1939, it was mostly the British that stood against Hitler as France and the other northern European countries collapsed in the face of Hitler’s onslaught.

NY Times VE Day

Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders stepped up and helped Britain. The Americans didn’t join in until the end of 1941, pulled into the conflict by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The real efforts to thwart Hitler didn’t begin in earnest until 1942. It was truly the unified efforts of the English Speaking People around the globe that ended the assault on freedom launched by Hitler in the West and Japan in the East. Unfortunately, Americans tend to overlook the heroic efforts of the British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealanders in the face of Fascist aggression. The Commonwealth countries contributed mightily to end the war.

Bonhöffer, 1939

Dietrich Bonhöffer, 1939

A German who gave his life in the effort to stop Hitler was the Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhöffer. The Nazis hung him on 9 April 1945, a month before the German surrender.

Bonhoeffer, in addition to being a Lutheran pastor, was a theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and his book The Cost of Discipleship became a modern classic.

Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being allegedly associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was briefly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime collapsed, just two weeks before Allied forces liberated the camp and three weeks before Hitler’s suicide.

Even in victory, the West set the stage for more oppression and mass murder by allowing Stalin to steal Eastern Europe and through the failure of the West to see through Mao Tse-tung.

If the West doesn’t wake up soon, it will find itself fighting a war equally costly as World War II against Radical Islam. When will we learn that the least expensive way to fight oppression is to nip it in the bud?

See also:

The Sinking of the Lusitania at 100

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

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