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France marks 75th anniversary of VE Day and pays tribute to war dead

© Howard Bouchevereau

France today marked 75 years since the end of World War 2 and the surrender of Nazi Germany to the allies on 8th May, 1945.

Today’s celebrations were scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic with parades cancelled to prevent a resurgence of infections in Paris and other French cities. However, this did not prevent France and its European neighbours in remembering their shared sacrifice to bring an end to one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century.

It is estimated that over 50 million people were killed during World War 2, and leaders across Europe today paid tributes to remember the fallen, and to honour the war dead.

French President Emmanuel Macron laid a wreath earlier today at the statue of General Charles de Gaulle. He later attended a ceromony in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe.

Charles de Gaulle, who had taken exile in Britain before returning to France at the end of World War 2, led the Free French Forces from London, coordinating the resistance against Nazi Germany in France. Following the liberation of France in 1944, Charles de Gaulle became a leading figure, and would go on to become President of France, founding the French Fifth Republic – the system of government currently in place since October 1958.

How have you been celebrating today’s victory day?