The deep French heritage in New Caledonia continues, despite the fact that the country is now independent of France. Thus, each year on 8 May, Victory Day is observed to mark the end of World War II in Europe in 1945. This holiday is also a major event in France and much of Europe.
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New Caledonia also celebrates Victory Day because of the role it played during the Second World War. The strategic position of New Caledonia along some of the Pacific’s major sea routes and its status as a major French colony gave it immediate importance.
When France was occupied by Nazi invaders in 1940, New Caledonia strongly sided with the Free French forces of Charles de Gaulle.
The resolve to carry on the fight against the Axis continued, and New Caledonia even provided a Battalion of the Pacific that fought in the Middle East and North Africa alongside other Free French forces.
And in 1944, New Caledonian soldiers even helped in the liberation of France itself.