VE and VJ Days 1945

Date start:
1945
Date end:
1945
VE and VJ Days 1945

Tuesday 8 May 1945 was V.E. Day, celebrating 'Victory in Europe' and the beginning of the end of the Second World War. Nazi Germany was defeated, having surrendering unconditionally to Britain and the Allies. However, fighting continued against Japan in the Far East.

From the beginning of 1945, German capitulation seemed inevitable. Allied bombs fell on German cities, while on the ground Russian and Western Allied armies entered Germany from two directions. The Russians took Berlin on 21 April 1945. On 30 April, Adolf Hitler killed himself. German forces in Italy surrendered on 2 May. The war officially ended with the signing of the document of unconditional surrender on 7 May. This took place at the French headquarters of the American Commander in Chief, General Dwight Eisenhower.

In London, Winston Churchill announced the German surrender, to a roaring multitude, from the balcony of the Ministry of Health in Whitehall. He paid tribute to the men and women who had died defending their country. Churchill cried out to the crowd, "This is your victory", to which the crowd replied, "No, it is yours".

George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth and their two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, also appeared on a balcony at Buckingham Palace to cheering crowds.

In London and all over Britain, V.E. Day was marked by street parties. Many people could not wait until the official day of celebration on 8 May, but started celebrating immediately with parties, firework displays, and the burning of Hitler effigies on bonfires. Many people wore red, white and blue rosettes. Streets were hung with banners and bunting, and there were joyous celebrations as friends, families and strangers hugged, sang songs and danced together.

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