Elbe Day, April 25, 1945, was the date Soviet and American troops met at the River Elbe, near Torgau in Germany, marking an important step toward the end of World War II in Europe. This contact between the Soviets, advancing from the East, and the Americans, advancing from the West, meant that the two powers had effectively cut Germany in two. The first contact was made between patrols near Strehla, when First Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue, an American soldier, crossed the River Elbe in a boat with three men of an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon. On the east bank, they met forward elements of a Soviet Guards-rifle-regiment of the First Ukrainian Front under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Gardiev. The same day, another patrol under Second Lieutenant William Robertson with Frank Huff, James McDonnell and Paul Staub met Soviet Lieutenant Alexander Silvashko with some soldiers on the destroyed Elbe bridge of Torgau.
On April 26, the commanders of the 69th Infantry Division of the First Army and the 58th Guards Rifle Division of the 5th Guards Army (Soviet Union) met at Torgau, southwest of Berlin. Arrangements were made for the formal "Handshake of Torgau" between Robertson and Silvashko in front of photographers the following day (pictured). Statements were released simultaneously in London, Moscow, and Washington that evening, reaffirming the determination of the three Allied powers to complete the destruction of the Third Reich.
Popular culture 
- The meeting of the armies was memorialized in Fred Small's song "At The Elbe".
- After the war, Mosfilm released a black and white film, "Encounter at the Elbe" (1949), about this meeting.
- The meeting was also used in "R.U.S.E.", a World War II Real-Time Strategy game.
See also 
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- First contact of Robertson and Silvashko on the destroyed Elbe bridge of Torgau.
- The War is Over - American and Russian troops meet at the Elbe, A People At War, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
- Nora FitzGerald, Elbe Day commemorated 26 April 2010, Russia Beyond the Headlines, article with photos slideshow.
- East Germany Elbe Meeting - Time Magazine, May 6, 1985
- "Remembering War" simulcast between US and USSR / SATELLITE LINKUP TO REUNITE SOVIET AND AMERICAN WW II VETS - UCSD press release April 29, 1985