76 years ago today, the second world war finally ended. An instrument of surrender was signed, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The unconditional surrender of Germany became effective at 23:01h on may 8th, but was only signed after midnight local time in Berlin, so effectively on the 9th. That's why several nations celebrate the "start of peace" in Europe on the 9th.
The "instrument of surrender", of which there was a version in Russian as well.
Newspapers had obvious headlines the next day. In the week leading up to the surrender, the headlines and photographs showed how Russian and American soldiers had met at the Elbe river. They shook hands in front of the camera and smiled. But did they know that after the German surrender, a new war was about to break out?
Probably not. They had been fighting, sometimes for years; they had endured unbelievable hardship. Most called themselves lucky to survive a war that had caused 70 million victims, and they were right.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, both the Soviet and western allies worked on "what if" scenarios to cover any act of agression after the German surrender.
The German surrender was the starting sign of the war that followed. Fortunately, the cold war cannot be compared to the second world war - or the Great Patriotic War, as it is known in Russia.
The war in the Soviet Union had shown the darkest side of mankind. It left the Western Soviet union and Poland ruined, like so many cities in western Europe. Many of Germany's cities had been destroyed, too.
The fact that we are free to portray this war in a game today says everything about the total freedom we gained.
We thank all veterans and their contemporaries for their sacrifice and for our freedom.
Happy 9th of may!