NATIONAL EAST MEETS WEST DAY
National East Meets West Day is observed annually on April 25th. Also known as Elbe Day, this day commemorates the day the Eastern front of the Allied forces met the Western front on the River Elbe.
World War II had been raging for over six years. During the previous year, several events had begun to turn the tides of the war against the Axis powers. In April of 1945, the Allies were marching toward peace, but it would require a coordinated effort from both American troops in the East and Soviet armies from the West.
The units were not supposed to make contact with each other. They were given orders to remain on their eastern and western banks of the river while officers from each division formalized occupation of Berlin.
However, when the two armies met on April 25th south of Berlin outside Torgau on the River Elbe, patrols were sent across the river in a small boat. The first to make contact were American First Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue and Soviet Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Gardiev along with their commands.
Two days later, photographers commemorated the event of the Eastern front meeting the Western front.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Learn more about World War II history. Visit a World War II history museum. Use #EastMeetsWestDay or #ElbeDay to share on social media.
On the 65th anniversary of this historic event, U.S. and Russian presidents issued a joint statement commemorating Elbe Day. In Torgau, Germany, Elbe Day events are held annually.
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