Wednesday 12 February 2020

This year, Imperial War Museums (IWM) will bring busy daily life to a standstill in public venues nationwide to mark 75 years since the end of the Second World War, the most devastating conflict in modern global history.

On the 75th anniversaries of VE (Victory in Europe) Day, VJ (Victory over Japan) Day and the dropping of the atomic bombs, IWM will share Second World War voices from its unique sound archive on an unprecedented scale, broadcasting them in locations across the UK such as schools, universities, supermarkets, historic landmarks, and transport hubs.

Voices of War

© IWM (HU 92005) Crowds in Westminster at the moment Prime Minister Winston Churchill speaks to the nation, 8 May 1945
Crowds in Westminster at the moment Prime Minister Winston Churchill speaks to the nation, 8 May 1945. © IWM (HU 92005)

Voices of War

Voices of War consists of three separate compilations of excerpts from audio interviews held in IWM’s rich sound archive. This trilogy of unique testimonies reveals personal responses and first-hand memories, from Prime Minister Winston Churchill to prisoners of war and civilians, to the three major milestones that led to the end of the Second World War. 

Alongside its five branches and partner locations, IWM is also calling on all public venues and organisations interested in broadcasting these voices to register their interest here.

Voices of War will be broadcast at 3pm on the anniversary VE Day (Friday 8 May), the exact time that Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced end of hostilities in Europe 75 years earlier, and at 11am on both Thursday 6 August, to mark the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and on Saturday 15 August, the anniversary of VJ Day.

Special Events

Churchill in London to mark 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. © IWM (H 41849)

Special Events

As part of IWM’s Victory 75 programme, IWM London will also hold a series of live events on Friday 8 May, Saturday 8 August and Saturday 15 August. These performances will be a contemporary response to the end of the Second World War, a moment that forever changed the world we live in.

 

Second World War

What You Need To Know About VE Day

Second World War

What You Need To Know About VE Day

8 May 1945 – VE (Victory in Europe) Day – was one that remained in the memory of all those who witnessed it. It meant an end to nearly six years of a war that had cost the lives of millions; had destroyed homes, families, and cities; and had brought huge suffering and privations to the populations of entire countries.
A truck of revellers passing through the Strand, London, 8 May 1945.
VE Day, Women In Wartime

Who Were The Women In The Trafalgar Square Fountains On VE Day?

VE Day, Women In Wartime

Who Were The Women In The Trafalgar Square Fountains On VE Day?

It's an iconic photograph - one that has been used across the world to highlight the celebrations on VE Day, the end of the Second World War in Europe. But there's always been one big question surrounding this particular image: what was the story behind those two women smiling for the camera in the Trafalgar Square fountains on 8 May 1945.
Two British sailors and their girlfriends wading in the fountains in Trafalgar Square on VE Day.

After Victory

On the right two benches of the accused leaders stretch away from the foreground to the centre of the painting. Behind the defendants stands a line of white-helmeted military police who guard the benches and separate them from the court beyond. On the left, in front of the defendants, sit two rows of lawyers, largely in black robes. The lawyers and the defendants study sheaves of paper.
© IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 5798)
Second World War
A Short History Of The War Crimes Trials After The Second World War
After the end of the Second World War, the Allies brought the leading civilian and military representatives of wartime Germany and Japan to trial on charges of war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. The principles of the trial of the Nazi leadership were agreed at a meeting of the ‘Big Four’ – Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and France – in London in the summer of 1945, resulting in the Nuremberg Charter.
King George VI standing with the Labour Prime Minister, Clement Attlee. Black and white photograph Imperial War Museums
Winston Churchill
How Winston Churchill And The Conservative Party Lost The 1945 Election
The 1945 election was the first general election to be held in Britain since November 1935. Churchill had proved himself to be a popular leader during the Second World War, so he was confident that the Conservatives would win this election based on his wartime success.
Indian Independence is celebrated in Malaya shortly before the start of the Malayan Emergency. The Indian flag is raised at Klang, Selangor.
Britain And The Commonwealth Since 1945
The End Of The British Empire After The Second World War
After the Second World War, the disintegration of Britain's empire transformed global politics. Before the war, Britain maintained colonies all over the world, which provided valuable raw materials, manpower and strategic bases. By 1945, however, colonies were an expensive liability for Clement Attlee's newly elected Labour government. 

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