Slovakians celebrate Liberation Day on 8 May each year, the same day that Victory in Europe Day is celebrated in other European nations. Also known as Day of Victory over Fascism, the day commemorates the victory of the Allied forces at the end of World War II in 1945.
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During World War II, Slovakia became dependent on Nazi Germany after the dismemberment of it’s neighbour, Czechoslovakia. Under Germany’s direction, Slovakia declared allegiance to the Axis powers declaring war on Britain and the United States.
The alignment with the Nazi’s was due to Slovakia’s push for independence. Adolf Hitler agreed to support Josef Tiso, a leader of the Slovak People’s Party, if Tiso separated from Czechoslovakia. If Tiso refused, Hitler threatened to divide Slovakia among Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. Tiso agreed and, in 1939, Slovakia declared independence. Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia soon after.
Slovakia was involved in many military battles throughout World War II due to its location. In June 1945, the Red Army attacked the Axis forces in Slovakia and by March 1945, had pushed the Axis forces back significantly. By April 1945, it was clear that Germany was losing World War II. On 30 April of that year, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. Germany issued a complete surrender on 8 May as General Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to allow them a conditional surrender.