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le 8 mai

8th May


Le  8 mai : Jour férié et chômé

May 8 is a public holiday in France and on Sunday there'll be widespread wreath laying ceremonies at the war memorials throughout the country.

However, for a couple of years there has been some controversy over the naming of this day. I have 2 calendars.  One marks May 8th as “Victoire 1945” - Victory in Europe Day (VE Day); the other marks May 8th as “Armistice 1945”.  

Journalists have asked the question: Is the decision by the press office of the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to use the word "armistice" in its description of the ceremony marking the end of World War II hostilities in Europe a question of ignorance of history or political correctness or an attempt to rewrite the history books? They point out that May 8 1945 was never an “armistice” (by definition an agreement between opposing armies to suspend hostilities in order to discuss peace terms; truce.) "It was an unconditional surrender by Germany that occurred in two stages. The first document of surrender was actually signed on May 7th with hostilities on both fronts to cease on the 8th May at 23h01.

The above newspaper front page can be seen at the Musée de la Résistance in the Val d'Amboise.  It is dated May 8th and is headlined Germany has surrendered.

For more details on  May 7th/ 8th click here.

For more on the Musée de la Résistance click here.