V-E DAY, MAY 8, 1945 | 2005-05-21

On May 8, 1945 was V-E Day, the day Nazi Germany surrendered.

On April 30, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin Bunker.

There was some question about whether the other Allies would take Berlin along with the Soviets. Stalin explained to Roosevelt that May Day, May 1st, was a big day for the Soviet Revolution, so the Soviets alone should take the German capital.

So Roosevelt gave Berlin to Stalin.

All this bothered Churchill. He was worried about the fact that Russia was being given what it had always wanted, a foothold in the very center of Europe. He was suddenly worried that, once Russia got Berlin, it would claim half of the continent.

Within five years, the Soviet Empire did indeed include half of Europe.

What Churchill did not realize was that both Roosevelt and Stalin understood that he was a has-been, a funny little out-of-date joke.