On September 7, 1945, the Allied Victory Parade was held in Berlin after the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
After the momentous Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on June 24, 1945, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin offered the United States, Great Britain and France to hold a united military parade in Berlin to honor the victory over Hitler. The allies agreed and the event was planned to take place in September 1945 near the Reichstag building and the Brandenburg Gate, where the last battles of WWII happened before Berlin was captured by the Soviet Red Army.
According to the agreement, the parade was to be led by the supreme commanders of each nation – the USSR’s Marshal Zhukov, General Dwight Eisenhower of the US and Marshal Bernard Montgomery of Britain.
However, days before the event the Soviet government was informed that Eisenhower and Montgomery refused to come to Berlin. This left only Marshal Zhukov to greet the allied troops.
A marching unit opened the parade, including the Soviet attack army, the French infantry division and the English rifle brigade. A thousand parachutists from the US airborne division sealed the march.
Marshal Zhukov, the man who had formally accepted the German surrender to the Soviet Union and who commanded the parade described the day in his memoirs: “Passing the troops, which were lined up to take part in the celebration march, I made a speech, honoring the Soviet army and the expeditionary forces of the allies. Our infantry, tank men and artillerymen walked in a flawless formation. The English distinguished themselves with their marching drill. More than 20,000 Berliners had gathered in the area to witness the parade. It was a celebration symbolizing the victory of the allies of World War II over the bloody fascist aggression.”
Another veteran of war Mikhail Polyachkov recalled the day “…Military weaponry demonstration was most remarkable. There were more of our famous T-34 tanks which left a lasting impression. What surprised everyone the most were our powerful armored IS-3 tanks and self propelled ISU vehicles with their 122mm and 152mm calibers. The earth was literally shaking underneath them.”
Altogether, 2,000 Soviet troops and 3,000 troops from the allied forces participated in the march. Many Russian historians call this event “the forgotten parade”, since it’s hardly mentioned in the West and had probably marked the end of the coalition between the great powers and marked the start of the Cold War.