East Meets West Day is observed on April 25 in remembrance of the historical events in 1945 when American soldiers met with the Soviet forces at Torgau along the River Elbe in Germany. This marked one of the first steps towards the formal takeover of Berlin from the Axis Forces. While the Americans and Soviets were on the same side in the Second World War, they had been averse to meeting directly for various political reasons. However, their first physical contact was a display of cooperation that helped to bring the war to an end.
History of East Meets West Day
East Meets West Day marks the day when the American troops met the Soviet Armies on the River Elbe which became a historical meeting point between U.S. and Soviet forces. During the Second World War, American troops were instructed to halt military operations at the Elbe, following which, Soviet troops seized Berlin. This day is of historical significance as it was the first step taken towards ending the Second World War.
The War lasted for more than six years and while efforts were made to end the war in Europe, allied forces were needed to promote dialogue and create mutual understanding between the American troops and Soviet armies. When both armies gathered at the Elbe River, near Torgau in Germany, American soldier, Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue and Colonel Alexander Gordeyev were the first to officially meet and shake hands. Following the event, photographers were called to take pictures. The photographs became a memento of the bravery shown by the American and Soviet troops who fought together during the Second World War. This meeting eventually turned out to be a stepping stone to ending the Second World War in Europe.
On the 75th anniversary of the East Meets West Day, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, released a joint statement to honor the courage and joint efforts of the American and Soviet troops who fought against fascism in Europe.
East Meets West Day timeline
Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue and Colonel Alexander Gordeyev meet on the River Elbe.
A metal plate is mounted near Torgau to honor Elbe Day.
Russia issues a three-ruble coin to celebrate the day.
The U.S. and Russia issue a joint statement on observance of the day.
East Meets West Day FAQs
What happened in April 1945?
On April 25, 1945, U.S. and Russian soldiers met at the River Elbe in Germany. The American army was instructed to advance, thus helping the Soviet troops seize Berlin.
Did U.S. and Soviet forces ever fight together?
Despite having tense relations during WWII, the American and Soviet forces never fought against each other.
Where did Soviet and American troops meet?
The Soviet and American armies met at the Elbe River located in central Germany during World War II.
How to Observe East Meets West Day
Read about World War history
Visit your local library or search the internet to look up information about the First and Second World Wars. Post your newfound knowledge on social media and use the hashtags #EastMeetsWestDay to share it with your family and friends.
Visit a Museum
Plan to visit a museum that is dedicated to the First and Second World Wars. If you can't find a museum in your city, then opt for a museum that offers virtual tours that make it possible to enjoy a tour without stepping out of your house.
Watch a documentary on the Second World War
If you don't enjoy reading books or visiting museums but prefer films, celebrate East Meets West Day by watching a documentary on the Second World War. Numerous documentaries are available on various movie streaming sites but make sure to choose a historically accurate movie. One way to do this is by checking reviews and ratings online.
5 Facts About WWII That Will Blow Your Mind
The beginning of WWII
WWII started when Germany took over Poland.
WWII and Russia
The maximum number of war casualties was suffered by Russia.
A heavy loss
WWII took the lives of more than 60 million people.
The craze of football
The troops played football to stay fit during WWII.
America's love for Coke
U.S. troops drank 10 billion bottles of Coke during WWII.
Why East Meets West Day is Important
It promotes peace and cooperation between different nations
East Meets West Day makes us realize the importance of dialogue between different countries. Besides the tragic loss of life and human suffering, the Second World War led to the destruction of infrastructure and resulted in major economic losses. The U.S. played a pivotal role in the Second World War by providing military assistance to Soviet troops which would not have been possible without cooperation and understanding between the two nations.
It highlights the negative effects of war
Besides the adverse effect on the mental health of the family of those that were left behind, war has devastating consequences on surviving soldiers. These individuals who have risked their lives for their country and have had near-death experiences have to contend with post-traumatic stress and deal with feelings of guilt and anger that often require professional help.
It is a great way to explore the ideology of different countries
East Meets West Day helps the youth get familiar with the events that took place during the Second World War. If one explores further, there is also the opportunity to discover the social systems and ideologies of different nations as well as the reasons that led them to fight one another.
East Meets West Day dates