On this day in 1945, 70 years ago both Great Britain and the United States celebrated Victory in Europe Day. The surrender of the German forces had been suspected after the suicide of Adolf Hitlers on 30th April 1945. On the 7th May 1945, Germany unconditional signed a surrender and on the 8th May at 11.01pm all active operations would creased. Germany’s surrender brought an end to 6 years of hardship and war.
This instrument of surrender was signed at General Dwight D Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims by General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff of the German Army. At the same time, he signed three other surrender documents, one each for Great Britain, Russia, and France.
Winston Churchill officially announced an “End of War in Europe” speech on the wireless and everywhere became a place of celebration. The Government allowed bonfires using only items of no salvage value to be burned. The Board of Trade until the end of May allowed people to buy cotton bunting without coupons as long as it was red, white & blue and cost no more than a shilling.
The streets were filled with tricolour flags and bunting and people worn either rosettes or ribbons. The people were rolling out into the streets to enjoy the atmosphere and merriment.
A street party
Canadian soldiers entertaining the crowd
People dancing around the Clock Tower, Leicester
The Royal Family enter the balcony of Buckingham Palace later that afternoon to wave to the crowds. King George VI made the last official speech to the nation at 9pm and Buckingham Palace was lit by floodlights, the first time in 6 years
Thunderstorms and rain brought the celebrations to an end, however people still had a rocky road ahead. Rations continued on certain items right up till 1952. Men returned home with physical and mental disorders. Children returned to their family homes following excavation. Theses are only some of the things people had to endure with life after Victory in Europe.
We as people have to acknowledge and be grateful for life that we have. Without the war efforts, where would we be today. Thank you.
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