Thursday 14 June 2018

On 7 May 1945 the formal act of military surrender was signed by Germany, ending the war in Europe. The next day celebrations broke out all over the world to mark Victory in Europe or VE Day. In Britain, Churchill marked the occasion by declaring 8 May a public holiday. People held parties, danced and sang in the streets. Huge crowds gathered in London, both on Whitehall to hear Churchill speak and outside Buckingham Palace where King George VI and the Royal Family appeared on the balcony. 

For many though, the celebrations were bitter-sweet. People mourned their lost friends and loved ones, while others were still engaged in combat, as the war in the Far East continued.

Here are 10 photos of some the celebrations that took place that day.

Gathering to see Churchill

Gathering to see Churchill

Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall on the day he broadcast to the nation that the war against Germany had been won, 8 May 1945 (VE Day).

Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall on the day he broadcast to the nation that the war with Germany had been won, 8 May 1945.

Crowds in Whitehall

Crowds in Whitehall

A colour photo of the crowd in front of the Ministry of Health building in Whitehall. Churchill addressed the crowd from the balcony.

View of the crowd in front of the Ministry of Health building in Whitehall, 8 May 1945. The Prime Minister addressed the crowd from the balcony, which, like the roof of the building, is decorated with flags. On the right is the Cenotaph.

Celebrations outside the Houses of Parliament

Celebrations outside the Houses of Parliament

Revellers give the 'V for Victory' sign as they celebrate outside the Houses of Parliament.

Revellers give the V-Victory sign as they celebrate VE Day outside the Houses of Parliament.

In the fountains at Trafalgar Square

In the fountains at Trafalgar Square

Two British sailors and their girlfriends wading in the fountains in Trafalgar Square on VE Day.

Two British sailors and their girlfriends wading in the fountains in Trafalgar Square on VE Day.

Children on VE Day

Children on VE Day

Two small girls wave their flags in the rubble of Battersea. 

Two small girls waving their flags in the rubble of Battersea, snapped by an anonymous American photographer.

Truck ride on the Strand

Truck ride on the Strand

Revellers ride a truck along the Strand in London.

A truck of revellers passing through the Strand, London, 8 May 1945.

Dancing in the streets

Dancing in the streets

Soldiers and civilians dance on a street near Berkeley Square in London.

Soldiers and girls dancing in a street near Berkeley Square.

Party in Piccadilly Circus

Party in Piccadilly Circus

A mass of civilians and servicemen crowd around Piccadilly Circus in London.

A mass of civilians and servicemen crowding around Piccadilly Circus, London.

Dancing the conga

Dancing the conga

Men and women dance the conga around a bonfire in East Acton, London on the evening of VE Day.

Men and women dance the conga around a bonfire in East Acton, London during the evening of VE Day, 8 May 1945.

V for Victory

V for Victory

Ground crew on a RAF Bomber Command station in Britain return the 'V for Victory' sign to a neighbouring searchlight crew. Silhouetted is the nose of a Lancaster bomber.

Ground crew on a RAF Bomber Command station in Britain return the V-sign to a neighbouring searchlight crew . Silhouetted is the nose of a Lancaster.

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