The end of WW2 is celebrated in Moscow’s Red Square, 1945

Celebration of Victory in Moscow’s Red Square, Soviet Union. May 9, 1945.
Celebration of Victory in Moscow’s Red Square, Soviet Union. May 9, 1945.

At 1:10 a.m. on May 9, 1945, night owls in the USSR heard a radio report that Nazi Germany had officially surrendered to the Soviet Union. Up to 30 million soldiers and civilians were dead, the Soviet Union had lost a third of its national wealth, cities such as Stalingrad had been reduced to lunar landscapes, and an entire generation of men had been decimated.

Searchlights illuminated a city that a few years earlier had almost fallen to the Germans, cannon-fire and fireworks exploded over the Kremlin and relieved citizens crowded into Red Square to share their enormous collective relief.  The large crowd on Red Square danced, kissed, sung and chatted excitedly. But Josef Stalin was not in celebratory mood and reportedly became annoyed when his then underling, Nikita Khrushchev, telephoned him to congratulate him on his victory. “Why are you bothering me?” he is reported to have snapped, “I am working”. It would not be until 24 June 1945, that the USSR held a proper victory parade, in torrential rain. On that day, one by one, soldiers lined up to toss the defeated German army’s banners and standards, including Hitler’s own personal standard, into a sodden mess at Stalin’s feet beneath Lenin’s tomb.

This photo depicts part of those celebrations and is Photograph 368 at the Russian State Archives. Victory Day over Nazi Germany is celebrated every year on May 9th in former USSR countries to preserve the memory of unbearable suffering and great courage of the Soviet people.

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4 comments
  • “Victory Day over Nazi Germany is celebrated every year on May 9th in former USSR countries to preserve the memory of unbearable suffering and great courage of the Soviet people.”

    Thats wrong, there is only few former USSR countries to celebrating this day. Majority this day mean nothing. Probably only Russia and Russian satelitestate Belarus celebrate this day. Im from Estonia.

  • The Victory Day on 9 May is celebrated in Kazakhstan and other former republics who were not Nazi damned collaborators/stooges.

  • Robert you are very wrong. In fact almost the whole world celebrates 9th of May, but due to the time zones some countries celebrate the day of victory on 8th of May (same as Europe day). It was around 22h (8th day) in Berlin when the nazis surrendered and 1:10 in Moscow (9th day). Victory day is celebrated even in USA and Germany! Unfortunately in some countries it is not a national holiday but there are still lots of people who gather to celebrate. If you don’t see any parade in Estonia it does not mean that there are no masses of people gathering somewhere, look up into it.

  • As always, Russian/Soviet propaganda is bullshit. The ware ended on May 8 (eight) when a document was signed in Berlin.
    Also, the Russians, still Soviets at hearts, falsely consider that WW2 began in 1941. No, it begain on Sept 01, 1939, as a joint initiative of the Nazis and Soviets who attacked Poland on Sept 17 by illegally breaching the boundaries. Nazis and Soviets plotted much sooner to start the war, to which end they signed the infamous Ribbentropp-Molotov pact of no-aggression. Hitler outsmarted Stalin and attacked Soviets in 1941. Of course it’s a little inconvenient for Russians to remember about these facts.

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