National East Meets West Day – also known as Elbe Day – is observed on April 25th and commemorates the 1945 day when the Soviet Allied force and U.S. troops met at the Elbe River that runs near Torgau, Germany.
Photographs were taken two days after the meeting historically commemorate the event, resulting in some iconic photos of the allied forces shaking hands. These images are a testimony to the brave men who risked their lives on that riverfront. This meeting marked an important step in a string of events that turned the tides of the war against the Axis powers toward the end of World War II.
The units had orders that didn’t anticipate contact with each other; however, the two armies met and sent patrols across the river in a small boat. After this merging of armies, Nazi forces were effectively cut in half, and just two weeks later, the war ended when the Red Army stormed Berlin.
How can you learn more about East Meets West Day? Here are 4 ideas to put into action:
- Watch The War documentary, directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It is available on PBS and Netflix.
- Read a book about the WWII conflict to show solidarity and deepen your knowledge. Check out this list of great reads.
- Visit a World War II history museum, such as the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana or the International Museum of World War II in Natick, Massachusetts.
- Spread the news about this historic day on social media by using the hashtags #EastMeetsWestDay or #ElbeDay.
Sharon Schweitzer and A.Hannah Alvarado co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, attorney, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide (Wiley 2015), now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.
Continuing her higher education at Texas State University, A.Hannah is set to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in English, in 2019. She is a native Texan with a background in writing, sales, social media marketing, and customer service. Hannah aspires to perfect her passion for writing in the hopes of becoming a novelist. With all the fantastic opportunities offered at Access to Culture, she is excited to be a new member of the team. Connect with her at Hannah Alvarado.