This Day in History: May 8

1945: President Harry S Truman (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

On this day, May 8 …

1945: President Harry S Truman announces on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces surrendered in World War II and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”

Also on this day:

  • 1429: The Siege of Orleans during the Hundred Years’ War ends as English troops withdraw after being defeated by French forces under Joan of Arc.
  • 1794: Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, is executed by guillotine during France’s Reign of Terror.
  • 1958: Vice President Richard Nixon is shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.
  • 1970: Anti-war protests take place across the United States and around the world; in New York, construction workers break up a demonstration on Wall Street.
  • 1973: Militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrender.
  • 1978: David R. Berkowitz pleads guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with the “Son of Sam” shootings that claimed six lives and terrified New Yorkers. (Berkowitz would be sentenced to six consecutive life terms in prison.)
  • 1984: The Soviet Union announces it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
  • 1987: Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life – including his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice – withdraws from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • 1996: South Africa takes another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guarantees equal rights for black people and white people.
  • 2003:The Senate unanimously endorses adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
  • 2009: White House aide Louis Caldera resigns for his role in a $328,835 photo-op flyover by an Air Force One jet above New York City that sparked panic and flashbacks to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


  • 2018: President Trump announces plans to leave the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, declaring the pact has failed to halt the country’s nuclear ambitions.

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