V.E. (Victory in Europe) Day has been a National Holiday in France since 1982.
Amboise pays its respects on this poignant day with bands, parades and ceremonies.
The Post Office, banks, many businesses and some roads are closed.
The French national flag, the Tricolore, is flown on all official buildings. This important symbol, one-and-a-half times as wide as it is tall, has three vertical bands, red, white and blue all the same width. The same colours are displayed on buntings and banners all over town.
V.E. Day has special significance for France because the Armistice was signed in Reims on 7 May 1945. On 6 May at the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Reims, General Dwight D. Eisenhower insisted on ‘immediate, simultaneous and unconditional surrender on all fronts’.
German General Alfred Jodl was sent to Reims to persuade General Eisenhower otherwise, but Eisenhower announced at 21.00 that in the absence of a complete capitulation, he would close British and American lines to surrendering German forces at midnight on 8 May and resume the bombing offensive against remaining German-held positions and towns.
This is how what is now called the first Instrument of Unconditional Surrender, was signed at 02:41 Central European Time (CET) on 7 May 1945 in the College Moderne et Technique De Reims. French Major-General Francois Sevez signed as the official witness.
It took effect at one minute after midnight British Double Summer Time on 8 May 1945. Although huge celebrations took place, it is not a public holiday in Britain.
Jodl, convicted of crimes against humanity at Nuremberg, was executed in 1946.
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