About V-E Day
When is VE Day?
Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day or VE Day) is commemorated on May 8th.
It is a national holiday in France known as 'Victoire 1945' or 'La fête de la victoire' and the day is also celebrated as a holiday in several other countries in Europe.
History of VE Day
Victory in Europe Day marks May 8th 1945, on which day the second world war Allies formally accepted an unconditional surrender by the armed forces of Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, after six years of the bloodiest conflict in human history.
On April 30th 1945, Hitler had committed suicide during the Battle for Berlin.
The surrender of Germany was authorized by his replacement, President of Germany, Karl Dönitz.
The administration headed up by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg government.
The act of military surrender was signed on May 7th 1945 in Reims, France, and May 8th 1945 in Berlin, Germany.
In Russia and some other East European countries, this event is marked on Victory day on May 9th. It is a day later as the treaty was signed at 10.30 pm in the evening in Reims, to come into effect at 11.01 pm. As Russia is one hour ahead of Western Europe, this meant it was already May 9th in Russia.
Initially, this day was celebrated on May 9th in Slovakia but is now observed on May 8th.
Did you know?
The Times newspaper front page was reserved for adverts until 1966, so the end of the second world war on VE Day was page 6 news.
V-E Day in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, a crowd of 50,000 packed Piccadilly Circus waving flags.
A national holiday was declared and there was dancing in the street and singing.
At 3pm Prime Minister Winston Churchill broadcast from the War Cabinet Office to tell the nation war was over. It was the same room Neville Chamberlain had announced that the country was at war in 1939.
King George VI also spoke to the nation on the radio, paying tribute to those who “laid down their lives” during the war. The Royal Family made eight appearances during the day, waving to crowds on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. The two young princesses - Elizabeth and Margaret – even slipped out of the palace to join the crowds.
Some had started the celebrations early and didn’t wait for the official celebrations on May 8. For those who had lost loved ones, it was a bittersweet day and many widows did not take part in the jubilations.
Guy Fawke's Night
Holocaust Memorial Day
Other Observances on May 8th 2024
National Receptionists Day
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
National Coconut Cream Pie Day