May 8, 1945 marks the end of World War II with the capitulation of the German Empire. A fewe days earlier Hitler had committed suicide. His successor, Admiral Karl Dönitz, had no other option but accept the unconditional surrender of all German military forces. The Nazi dicature and the madness of the unwinnable "total war" were finally over.
The memory is kept alive. The purpose is solemn remembrance and learning from the past for a better future. May 8 is a normal work day, no public holiday. On round anniversaries there are memorial events and a speech by the president of the Federal Republic. It is not about praising military glory and "fallen heroes" - patriotic ideas of this kind are not popular in Germany, with the exception of certain ultra-right wing circles.
This country has received and learned its lesson: "Never again may a war start from German ground", as former chancellor Willy Brandt used to say. This promise has been kept successfully for seven decades and we hope it stays valid, even more so in regard of the current political developments in Germany and in the world.