Winston Churchill Victory In Europe Day VE Day Whitehall Crowds Black And White © IWM (H 41849)
WWII

Victory In Europe Day Remembered

To mark what would have been Winston Churchill’s 144th birthday we remember his announcement that WWII had ended in Europe

Winston Churchill Victory In Europe Day VE Day Whitehall Crowds Black And White © IWM (H 41849)

In the days leading up to Victory in Europe, people were sat glued to their radios awaiting news of a German surrender.

Today, we are marking what would have been former Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 144th birthday by remembering when he announced, on May 8 1945, that the Second World War had finally ended in Europe and victory was declared.

“Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight (Tuesday, May 8), but in the interests of saving lives the “ceasefire” began yesterday to be sounded all along the front, and our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today.”

WATCH a short clip of Winston Churchill giving the speech below.

What followed were scenes of pure jubilation.

Across Britain, people of all ages took to the streets to celebrate, with towns and villages covered with Union Flags and bunting.

"Advance, Britannia. Long live the cause of freedom. God save the King."

Victory In Europe Day VE Day Celebrations Black And White Flags Waving Union Jack Credit © IWM (HU 41808)
© IWM (HU 41808)

There were, however, still three more months of conflict as the war against Japan did not end until August 1945.

“We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead.

"Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued.

“The injuries she has inflicted upon Great Britain, the United States, and other countries, and her detestable cruelties, call for justice and retribution.”

During the Second World War, servicemen from Britain, America, China and many other countries were captured and held as prisoners of war in appalling, crowded conditions in Japanese labour camps, often with insufficient medicines or food and under the constant threat of beatings.

The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 made Japanese forces finally surrender.

The next day, August 15 1945, is known as Victory over Japan Day.

Atomic Bomb Damage Aftermath Hiroshima Black And White © IWM (MH 29447)
© IWM (MH 29447)

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