President Harry S. Truman’s Presidential Proclamation Announcing the End of the War in Europe
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“The Allied armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God’s help, have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender … The victory won in the West must now be won in the East. The whole world must be cleansed of the evil from which half the world has been freed…” HARRY S TRUMAN. [WORLD WAR II].
Printed Document Signed as President. Washington, D.C., May 8, 1945. 1 p., 15 x 21½ in.
By the President of the United States, a Proclamation.
The Allied armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God’s help, have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. They have violated their churches, destroyed their homes, corrupted their children, and murdered their loved ones. Our Armies of Liberation have restored freedom to these suffering peoples, whose spirit and will the oppressors could never enslave. Much remains to be done. The victory won in the West must now be won in the East. The whole world must be cleansed of the evil from which half the world has been freed. United, the peace-loving nations have demonstrated in the West that their arms are stronger by far than the might of dictators or the tyranny of military cliques that once called us soft and weak. The power of our peoples to defend themselves against all enemies will be proved in the Pacific was as it has been proved in Europe. For the triumph of spirit and of arms which we have won, and of its promise to peoples everywhere who join us in the love of freedom, it is fitting that we, as a nation, give thanks to Almighty God, Who has strengthened us and given us the victory.
Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Sunday, May 13, 1945 to be a day of prayer. I call upon the people of the United States, whatever their faith, to unite in offering joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won and to pray that He will support us to the end of our present struggle and guide us into the ways of peace. I also call upon my countrymen to dedicate this day of prayer to the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
After nearly six years of conflict across the European continent, President Truman was pleased to announce that Germany had surrendered to the Allies. Though Japan would fight on for another three months, Truman read this proclamation at a news conference held in his office at the White House at 8:35 A.M. on Tuesday, May 8, 1945. His wife and daughter, members of his Cabinet, high ranking United States and British Army and Navy officials, and Congressional leaders were grouped in chairs around the President's desk. Before reading the proclamation, President Truman said, “This is a solemn but glorious hour. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly all over Europe. It’s celebrating my birthday, too -- today, too.” Reporters responded with shouts of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” May 8, 1945 was President Truman’s 61st birthday, his first as President following the death just 26 days earlier, of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As he was reading the proclamation, Truman stopped after certain passages to comment. After “The victory won in the West must now be won in the East,” he said, “I want that emphasized time after time, that we are only half through.” After “the tyranny of military cliques that once called us soft and weak,” Truman commented, “I would like to know what the Germans think about that now.” After proclaiming the day of prayer, he added, “And it’s exceedingly fitting that it is Mother’s Day, too.