That was the second day when the Nazis surrendered. The true capitulation, without conditions, had been made May 7, in Reims, France. (The Soviets insisted to conduct another ceremony in Berlin, the next day. and they celebrate it the 9th.)
As the French Republic had declared the Second World War, the surrender in Reims was appropriate. At the time when France declared war to Nazism, the USSR was allied to Hitler (and it as also, de facto allied to the USA, as the president and congress of the USA took sanctions against France and its belated ally, Great Britain. on the ground that those two parents, direct genitors of the USA were “belligerents“).
The rendition of Nazism was celebrated with extreme seriousness, and the same spirit, in France and Germany, on May 8, 2015.
May 8, 1945, is also the same exact day the Franco-Algerian war started, with a wound that was pretty much fatal. Both facts are related. French civilization (and lack thereof) was central to both facts. While racial fascism was smashed in Germany, for all to see, it exploded on French soil (in an atrocious contradiction).
1) The leaders of the French Republic knew, as early as 1919, that there would be another war with Germany. That was mostly caused by the hyper-nationalism, racism and fascism mindset which reigned in Germany. Also Germany had been immensely successful industrially, technologically, economically, leaving both Britain and France behind.
That very successes of German fascism (under Bismarck and then the Kaiser Wilhelm II) seemed to prove that fascism was a system superior to the degenerating democracies of Britain and France.
2) France, all along, prepared for the third round with German racist fascism. However, Great Britain and the USA had opted for the opposite approach. It is of course insufferable for contemporary citizens of the UK and the USA to read that their countries aided and abetted the Nazis (some come to scream about that periodically on this site).
However there is a deep lesson there, a warning for tomorrow: British and American plutocrats drove the collaboration of the UK and the USA with the racist and fascist mindset. So doing, they set-up the conditions for the violent death of more than 70 million people, among other inconveniences. Indeed, if the USA and the UK had made a block with the French Republic, in the 1920s, and especially in the 1930s, the fascists in Italy, Japan and Germany would not have had the possibility to dream that they had a chance in the land grabs they envisioned.
Actually the plutocrats which helped the fascists so much were nearly as culprit as the crazy, murderous tribal nuts they encouraged.
Lessons? Plutocracy can manipulate not just the minds, but history itself.
When democracy stand divided, tanks can roll all over it. Something to remember with Putin. Those who cannot stand firmly for democracy, encourage fascism.
3) War can turn badly, unexpectedly. The Nazis use insane, desperate, strategies which turned around the mightier French army and its slow poke little British bulldog. This military disaster of May 1940 is nearly impossible to reproduce in war games.
Lesson? Don’t underestimate the ability of fate, incredible stupidity, really very bad luck, to surprise even those who felt the best prepared.
This is valid now more than ever. A few nuclear bombs could bring losses comparable to all of World War Two, within hours. North Korea is arming itself to the hilt, and threatened to use its nuclear devices, even against the USA. This should not be taken lightly.
The Franco-Algerian Massacre in Setif:
As in places all over France, there was a massive demonstration of joy in Setif, Algeria. A young demonstrator carried an Algerian flag. He was killed by a gendarme. A first wave of retaliation led to the death of a few dozen colons (or more). The later, in further retaliation, supported by the French army, tanks, even planes, killed in turn tens of thousands of Algerians.
Philosophically, this was a tribal reaction not substantially different from Nazism and the like.
This event is not commemorated enough (neither the French state, nor the FNL, which became the Algerian state, but got started in a different mindset in 1954 are anxious to remember it).
It exhibits a lot of warnings about human nature. It needs to be analyzed more. How could the French forget 15 centuries of tribal tolerance? Because they just finally defeated the Nazis, they could act like them? Inhibitions were lifted for a day? Well, whereas France and Germany are now (re)united, and now share a common fraternity, much work remains to be done in the case of France and Algeria.
A work of truth. Thorough truth.
And that’s not just about Europe and Africa, and the USA. Establishing, and imposing the methods to elucidate, uncover, and make everybody admire truth, is the general first order strategy to deal with the world’s ills.