One of Britain’s most acclaimed historians presents the experiences and ramifications of the last day of World War II in Europe
May 8, 1945, 23:30 hours: With war still raging in the Pacific, peace comes at last to Europe as the German High Command in Berlin signs the final instrument of surrender. After five years and eight months, the war in Europe is officially over.
This is the story of that single day and of the days leading up to it. Hour by hour, place by place, this masterly history recounts the final spasms of a continent in turmoil. Here are the stories of combat soldiers and ordinary civilians, collaborators and resistance fighters, statesmen and war criminals, all recounted in vivid, dramatic detail. But this is more than a moment-by-moment account, for Sir Martin Gilbert uses every event as a point of departure, linking each to its long-term consequences over the following half century. In our attempts to understand the world we inherited in 1945, there is no better starting point than The Day the War Ended.