In total, about 40 million civilians, and some 20 million soldiers, lost their lives in the war between 1939 and 1945. On Mary 8 and 9, the United Nations invites its 193 member countries, non-governmental organizations, and individuals, to pay tribute to the victims of the conflict.
The date of May 8 was chosen because it is the day the Nazi forces in Germany surrendered in 1945 but, recognizing that UN member states may have their own memorable days associated with the victory over fascism, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) invited all countries, UN organizations, non-governmental organizations and individuals to celebrate either May 8, May 9, or both of these days annually as a tribute to all victims of the Second World War.
The UNGA resolution establishing this day notes that this historic event laid down the conditions for the creation of the United Nations, which was founded to "save future generations from the scourge of war," UN News cited the world body's founding Charter as saying.
The resolution calls on member states to unite their efforts to face new challenges and threats, with the United Nations playing a central role in resolving disputes by peaceful means.
In this text, the UNGA recalls that the Second World War "brought untold sorrow to humankind, particularly in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Pacific and other parts of the world," and underlines the progress made since, and the United Nations' important role in overcoming this painful legacy, and promoting reconciliation.
In a tweet published on Saturday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recalled that the United Nations was born following the victory over fascism and tyranny, and urged the world to "never forget the lessons of history, and continue working for a future of peace and dignity for all."