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VE Day Quiz

VE Day Quiz


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VE Day – 8th May 1945 – was the date the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Germany, ending the Second World War in Europe.

For Britain, America, and other Allied nations the fighting was far from over, but for those in Europe the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich was cause for much-needed revelling.

We invite you to test your knowledge on VE Day and World War Two.

Enjoy Our Range of Programmes on VE Day

"Their finest hour", "we shall fight on the beaches", "never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few". These words of Winston Churchill are synonymous with our idea of the British war effort during the darkest days of WWII. Richard Toye joined me on the podcast to take a closer look at these speeches. How many civilians would have actually heard Churchill's brilliant rhetoric, and what did they think of them?

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VE Day quiz questions and answers: 15 questions for your VE Day home pub quiz

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VE Day: Expert explains cultural significance

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The 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, also known as VE Day, takes place on May 8, which will this year be a bank holiday in the UK. Unfortunately, Britons are still confined to their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, to keep your friends and family entertained, Express.co.uk gives you all the questions you need for a virtual pub quiz.

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VE Day quiz questions and answers to test your Second World War history knowledge

Union Jack bunting will be fluttering on Friday as the country remembers the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The May Day bank holiday was moved so that the country could commemorate the date together with a long weekend - but the lockdown means we&aposll have to make do with our own stay-at-home events instead.

One way you can mark the occasion and learn more about its significance is with a history test.

We&aposve teamed up with Armed Forces charity SSAFA, who have come up some questions and answers to test your knowledge of the Second World War and the events that led to the end of the conflict.

SSAFA has been supporting military personnel, veterans and their families for over 135 years. To donate to support SSAFA’s Emergency Response Fund text VEDAY75 to 70085 (text donations cost £5 plus a standard rate message) or go to ssafa.org.uk/donate.

Questions

1. What does the abbreviation VE stand for?

2. What time of the day, on May 8, 1945, was the news announced?

3. When did the Prime Minister first hear of the surrender?

4. When was VE Day originally planned to be?

5. When had the Second World War started?

6. Adolf Hitler had a nephew called William. Who did he fight for in the Second World War?

7. How many British prisoners of war were released after VE Day?

8. Which European countries stayed ‘neutral’ in the Second World War?

9. Where did the conflict continue after VE Day?

10. How old was our Queen Elizabeth II on VE Day?

11. How did the future queen help out during the Second World War?

12. Who was on the throne in 1945?

13. Who was Prime Minister at the time?

14. What were people allowed to purchase without rationing coupons, in celebration of VE Day?

15. In the US, a new name was give to hamburgers to make them sound less ‘German’. What were they called?

16. How much toilet paper per day were British soldiers allowed, under rationing?

17. How old was the youngest person in the US military?

18. What popular breakfast and dessert spread was invented because of rationing during WWII?

19. US President Harry Truman celebrated his birthday on VE Day in 1945 - what age did he turn?

20. Where was the German surrender signed?

21. What does the Netherlands send to Canada every year to say thank you for sheltering their Princess in the war?


VE Day quiz: 20 WW2 questions and answers – how many can you get right?

Quizzes have been bringing friends and families together during the coronavirus lockdown.

With social distancing rules meaning folks can’t physically be with each other, video calls have been the next best thing.

And what better way to keep everyone entertained by introducing a little competition?

Here, we’ve created a special VE Day quiz in case you’re thinking of hosting an online get-together.

Let us know how many questions you get right.

VE Day quiz questions

2. Why did VE Day not mark the end of WW2?

3. When did World War II end?

4. Who was Britain’s monarch during WW2?

5. How did Adolf Hitler die?

6. Who was Hiltler’s successor?

7. Who was the British Prime Minister on VE Day

8. How did teenagers Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret celebrate on the night of VE Day?

9. During WWII, how many sheets of toilet paper were British soldiers rationed?

10. How many sheets on toilet paper were rationed to American soldiers?

11. How old was the youngest serviceman in World War 2?

12. What did Americans rename the hamburger because it sounded too German?

13. True or false: Henry Ford each kept a framed picture of Hitler on his desk

14. Who’s side was Spain on during ww2

15. Why did the US join the war in 1941?

16. True or false: Hitler’s nephew wrote a magazine article title ‘Why I hate my uncle’.

17. What did the Queen do during the war?

18. What was the main reason Hitler executed 84 of his own generals?

19. Germany only declared war on one country – which was it?

20. What career did Hitler really want but failed miserably?

VE Day quiz answers

1. The term VE Day stand for Victory in Europe Day

2. While VE Day marked the end of fighting in Europe, Japan still had to be defeated

3. World War II ended on 2 September 1945

5. Adolf Hitler took his own life on 30 April 1945

6. Hitler’s successor was Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz

7. Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister on VE Day

8. With permission from their father, the princess left the palace anonymously to party with the general public and weren’t recognised. The Queen described the evening as “one of the most memorable nights of my life”

9. British soldiers were rationed three sheets of toilet paper a day during the war

10. American soldiers were rationed 22 sheets of toilet paper

11. In World War II, the youngest serviceman was Calvin Graham who was aged 12. The US soldier lied about his age and the truth was not discovered until after he was wounded

13. True – Hitler also kept a framed picture of Henry Ford on his desk

14. Neither it remained neutral

15. America joined the war after Japan attacked the United States at their Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It declared war on Japan and, in turn, its German allies

16. True – Hitler’s nephew William Patrick Hitler, son of Hitler’s brother William, was born in Liverpool and despised the Nazi leader. In fact, he served in the US army against Germany. He later changed his name to William Patrick Stuart-Houston

17. The Queen became a driver and served as a mechanic in the Second Subaltern Windsor Unit

18. Hitler’s own generals were plotting against him

19. Germany only declared war on the United States during WW2

20. Hitler wanted to be a professional artist but he failed the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna entry exam

How did you do on our VE Day quiz? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and join the conversation.


10 Photos Of VE Day Celebrations

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.


VE Day Quiz - History

Celebrate and learn about special days
every day of the year!

VE Day marks a very important event in World War 2 - the end of the War with Germany on Tuesday 8 May 1945. For almost six years from 1939 to 1945 Britain fought the toughest war it had ever experienced. Six years of bloodshed that had killed approximately 382,700 members of the British Armed forces and 67,100 civilians were over.

For days people had been anticipating the news of the German surrender. They knew it was on the cards and had begun decorating their gardens with red, white and blue bunting and Union Jack flags.

Finally, in a school house in Rhins, Germany's unconditional surrender was signed at 2:41pm on 7 May. (Active operations by the German forces would cease by 11.01pm 8 May.) Church bells across the country pealed. A sea of red, white and blue erupted

At 3pm on 8 May, Britain's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, made a radio broadcast announcing that war in Europe was finally at an end. He made the broadcast from the War Cabinet Office, the same room that in 1939 Neville Chamberlain had made a speech announcing that the country was at war.

Shortly after Churchill's speech King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the two princesses came out onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the huge crowd below.


Prime Minister Winston Churchill joins Royal Family 1945 on the balcony
at Buckingham Palace on VE Day, end of WW2 in Europe

Street parties were held all over Britain to celebrate the end of the war. The photo below shows my mother, Jean Corri, enjoying a street party in Tooting. Notice the dining room chairs and tables.


Find out more about VE Day

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A brief guide to VE Day

On 8 May 1945, millions of people rejoiced in the news that Germany had surrendered: after nearly six years, the war in Europe was finally over. Second World War historian Keith Lowe brings you the facts about this momentous day in history…

This competition is now closed

Published: May 8, 2021 at 7:55 am

What does VE Day stand for?

VE Day – which stands for ‘Victory in Europe’ Day – is the day in 1945 when the German armed forces signed an unconditional surrender, and the Second World War in Europe finally came to an end.

When is VE Day?

On the afternoon of 8 May 1945, the British prime minister Winston Churchill made the radio announcement that the world had long been waiting for. “Yesterday morning,” he declared, “at 2.41 a.m., at General Eisenhower’s headquarters, General Jodl, the representative of the German High Command, and Grand Admiral Dönitz, the designated head of the German State, signed the act of unconditional surrender of all German land, sea and air forces in Europe.” After nearly six years, the war in Europe was finally over.

The celebrations began almost immediately. However, there was still one last technical detail to be taken care of. Since the Soviet authorities had not yet given their approval to the surrender document, a second, definitive document was signed in Berlin.

The official time when this final document was signed was 23.01, Central European Time (although in reality it was not signed until almost a quarter to one the next morning). By Moscow time, however, the official time of signing was already after midnight. As a consequence, America and western Europe consider VE Day to have taken place on 8 May, while Russia and some eastern European countries celebrate it on 9 May.

Where did VE Day take place and how was it celebrated?

Although VE Day was strictly speaking a continental European event, it was celebrated all over the world. In London, more than a million people took to the streets and huge crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace to see Churchill standing on the balcony alongside King George VI. In Paris and New York, similar crowds gathered along the Champs Elysée and in Times Square. According to Alexander Werth, the Moscow correspondent for the BBC and the Sunday Times, the fireworks display over the Kremlin on 9 May “was the most spectacular I have ever seen”.

Not all of the celebrations went exactly as planned. In the Canadian city of Halifax, for example, riots broke out when thousands of soldiers and sailors began looting liquor stores. In Australia and New Zealand, the celebrations were a little more sober: such countries were glad to know that their soldiers would soon be coming home from Europe, but were more concerned about the war in the Pacific, which was still going on.

What events led to VE Day?

The final collapse of Nazi Germany began in January 1945, when the Soviet Red Army launched a series of offensives across a front that ran all the way from the Baltic Sea to the borders of Yugoslavia. By the end of March they had reached the River Oder, just 60km from the German capital. At around the same time, British and American armies also began crossing the Rhine.

By the end of April Berlin was encircled, and the situation looked hopeless for Germany. In Italy, Hitler’s ally Benito Mussolini was captured and executed, and his body put on display before jeering crowds. In order to avoid the same fate, Hitler committed suicide on 30 April 1945 in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, along with his wife, Eva Braun, whom he had married the day before.

Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, whom Hitler had nominated as his successor, began negotiations with the Allies just a few days later. A series of partial surrenders took place at Lüneberg Heath in northern Germany, and at Haar in southern Germany – but in the east, the fighting would continue right up until VE Day itself. Indeed, in some places – for example in Prague, and in parts of northern Yugoslavia – German troops would continue fighting even after the final surrender had been signed.

What is the difference between VE Day and VJ Day?

While VE Day marked the end of the Second World War in Europe, fighting in the far east would continue for another three-and-a-half months. As a consequence, there was always a slightly solemn undercurrent to the celebrations of VE Day. “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing,” said Churchill during his VE Day broadcast, “but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued.”

Japan was not finally defeated until after the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. On 15 August 1945, the Japanese emperor announced his unconditional surrender – and this date is remembered in the UK as VJ [Victory in Japan] Day. However, the official surrender documents were not signed until 2 September, which is considered VJ Day in the USA.

Did the young Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret attend VE Day celebrations?

King George VI and his queen, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, made a total of eight appearances on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on VE Day. Their daughters, Princess Elizabeth – the future Queen Elizabeth II – and Princess Margaret, appeared alongside them.

That evening, however, in an unprecedented and spontaneous breach of protocol, the two young women slipped out of the palace in order to join the revellers. They were accompanied by two Guards officers, but in the darkness easily blended in with the crowds. Princess Elizabeth was a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, and like many others on the streets that night was dressed in uniform.

Later, she recalled: “We stood outside and shouted ‘We want the King’… I think it was one of the most memorable nights of my life.”

Is VE Day still celebrated today and why? How do the different countries celebrate?

Most nations in Europe still celebrate the anniversary of the end of the Second World War in one way or another. The war was probably the most destructive event in European history. It involved the devastation of hundreds of cities, and the deaths of at least 35 million people, most of them civilians. The end of this conflict, and the dawn of a new era of peace, are universally considered events worth celebrating.

Different countries mark the anniversary in different ways, and on different days. In Italy, for example, ‘Liberation Day’ is celebrated on 25 April – the day in 1945 when Italian partisans proclaimed a general uprising against the German occupiers of their country. In the Netherlands, Liberation Day falls on 5 May, because this is when the German forces capitulated there. But VE Day on 8 May is generally recognised as the single day that unites the vast majority of countries in Europe.

What is the significance of VE Day?

VE Day signified several things at once.

First and foremost, it brought a symbolic end to organised violence across the continent. Europe remained in turmoil for many years after May 1945, but at least the era of pitched battles between huge armies was over. In Britain it meant the end of bombing, and the return of hundreds of thousands of servicemen to their loved ones.

Secondly, it marked the liberation of several countries from foreign occupation. Although France had already been liberated many months earlier, most of Europe was not finally freed from Nazi rule until the spring of 1945. Many countries, including Norway, Denmark, and parts of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, were occupied right up until VE Day itself.

Finally, in western Europe at least, VE Day marked the end of totalitarianism, and the beginning of a new era of democracy. With the Nazis gone, European countries were free once more to choose their own governments. In eastern Europe, which fell under communist rule after 1945, the people would have to wait a further four decades before democracy was restored.

Does Germany recognise or celebrate VE Day?

For many years after the war, VE Day was regarded by many in Germany as a day of shame rather than one of celebration. In East Germany, which became communist after 1945, ‘Liberation Day’ was a public holiday for many years, but it was not generally celebrated with much enthusiasm.

Today, however, VE Day is remembered in a much more favourable light. Germans suffered terribly during the war, not only beneath Allied bombs, but also at the hands of their own rulers. Tens of thousands of Germans were imprisoned or executed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, often for the most insignificant misdemeanours. As a consequence, the defeat of the Nazis is now universally regarded as a blessing.

In Germany, VE Day is not a day of celebration as it is in other countries. Rather it is regarded as a day of sombre commemoration, when the dead are remembered, and the promise is renewed never to allow such terrible events to repeat themselves.

Keith Lowe is the author of the international bestseller, Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II, which won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize in 2013 and Italy’s Cherasco History Prize in 2015. His latest book is Prisoners of History (HarperCollins, 2020)


VE Day quiz questions and answers to test your Second World War history knowledge

Union Jack bunting will be fluttering on Friday as the country remembers the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The May Day bank holiday was moved so that the country could commemorate the date together with a long weekend - but the lockdown means we&aposll have to make do with our own stay-at-home events instead.

One way you can mark the occasion and learn more about its significance is with a history test.

We&aposve teamed up with Armed Forces charity SSAFA, who have come up some questions and answers to test your knowledge of the Second World War and the events that led to the end of the conflict.

SSAFA has been supporting military personnel, veterans and their families for over 135 years. To donate to support SSAFA’s Emergency Response Fund text VEDAY75 to 70085 (text donations cost £5 plus a standard rate message) or go to ssafa.org.uk/donate.

Questions

1. What does the abbreviation VE stand for?

2. What time of the day, on May 8, 1945, was the news announced?

3. When did the Prime Minister first hear of the surrender?

4. When was VE Day originally planned to be?

5. When had the Second World War started?

6. Adolf Hitler had a nephew called William. Who did he fight for in the Second World War?

7. How many British prisoners of war were released after VE Day?

8. Which European countries stayed ‘neutral’ in the Second World War?

9. Where did the conflict continue after VE Day?

10. How old was our Queen Elizabeth II on VE Day?

11. How did the future queen help out during the Second World War?

12. Who was on the throne in 1945?

13. Who was Prime Minister at the time?

14. What were people allowed to purchase without rationing coupons, in celebration of VE Day?

15. In the US, a new name was give to hamburgers to make them sound less ‘German’. What were they called?

16. How much toilet paper per day were British soldiers allowed, under rationing?

17. How old was the youngest person in the US military?

18. What popular breakfast and dessert spread was invented because of rationing during WWII?

19. US President Harry Truman celebrated his birthday on VE Day in 1945 - what age did he turn?

20. Where was the German surrender signed?

21. What does the Netherlands send to Canada every year to say thank you for sheltering their Princess in the war?

22. When did food rationing end, following the end of the war?

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Answers

3. The day before - 7am on May 7

4. The next day, May 9, before the news leaked and a national holiday was declared for May 8

6. The American Navy (but he was born in Liverpool)

8. Sweden, Switzerland and Spain

9. The conflict continued in Japan until August

11. She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a driver and mechanic

14. Red, white and blue material for bunting

17. 12 years old - Calvin Graham forged documents to join, but was discharged when his age was discovered

18. Nutella, due to chocolate rationing. The spread uses other ingredients to ‘stretch’ a small amount of cocoa powder


How Much Do You Know About Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is celebrated on Nov. 11 because ", "explanation": "World War I, which was known at the time as "The Great War," officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside Versailles, France. Fighting had actually ended seven months earlier, however, when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars."", "hint": "", "answers": < "answer0": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "That's when the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, was signed." >, "answer1": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "President Woodrow Wilson picked that day from a list of recommendations submitted by the heads of major veterans service organizations." >, "answer2": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Congress wanted the holiday to fall between Labor Day and Thanksgiving." >, "answer3": < "isRight": "right", "answerText": "None of the above." >> >, "quest2": < "imageBrowse": "", "imageCaption": "", "imageCredit": "", "question": "

Who first proposed that Armistice Day be renamed Veterans Day? ", "explanation": "In 1953, Alvin J. King of Emporia, Kan., proposed that Armistice Day be changed to Veterans Day to recognize and honor American veterans of all wars and conflicts. King came up with the idea after his nephew, John Cooper, was killed in action during World War II.", "hint": "", "answers": < "answer0": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Dwight D. Eisenhower" >, "answer1": < "isRight": "right", "answerText": "Alvin J. King" >, "answer2": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Douglas MacArthur" >, "answer3": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Harry S. Truman" >> >, "quest3": < "imageBrowse": "", "imageCaption": "", "imageCredit": "", "question": "

Veterans Day officially acquired its current name in ", "explanation": "In 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the 1938 law that created Armistice Day by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With President Dwight D. Eisenhower's signature, the legislation became Public Law 380 on June 1, 1954.", "hint": "", "answers": < "answer0": < "isRight": "right", "answerText": "1954" >, "answer1": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "1956" >, "answer2": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "1958" >, "answer3": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "1960" >> >, "quest4": < "imageBrowse": "", "imageCaption": "", "imageCredit": "", "question": "

What flower is a symbol of Veterans Day? ", "explanation": "The story begins with the famous poem, "In Flanders Fields," written by John McCrae in 1915 ("In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row"). In 1918 Moina Belle Michael, on reading McCrae's poem, pledged to always wear a red poppy as a sign of remembrance. Her idea spread, and in 1924 the Veterans of Foreign Wars launched its "Buddy Poppy" program to help disabled and needy veterans. ", "hint": "", "answers": < "answer0": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Forget-Me-Not" >, "answer1": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Lily" >, "answer2": < "isRight": "right", "answerText": "Poppy" >, "answer3": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Rose" >> >, "quest5": < "imageBrowse": "", "imageCaption": "", "imageCredit": "", "question": "

The motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs is "To care for him who shall have borne the battle." Who originally wrote these words? ", "explanation": "The line is from the final paragraph of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, which he delivered on March 4, 1865, as the nation braced itself for the final throes of the Civil War.", "hint": "", "answers": < "answer0": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Smedley Darlington Butler" >, "answer1": < "isRight": "right", "answerText": "Abraham Lincoln" >, "answer2": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Walt Whitman" >, "answer3": < "isRight": "wrong", "answerText": "Woodrow Wilson" >> >, "quest6": < "imageBrowse": "", "imageCaption": "", "imageCredit": "", "question": "


In pictures: jubilant VE Day street party celebrations

Millions of people took to the streets of Britain on 8 May 1945 to celebrate VE Day – the day when the German armed forces signed an unconditional surrender, and the Second World War in Europe finally came to an end. Hanging bunting, waving flags, drinking and dancing, the streets were crammed with joyous revellers. View the pictures here…

This competition is now closed

Published: May 5, 2020 at 4:42 pm

At 2.41am on 7 May 1945, at a schoolhouse near Reims in n orthern France, General Alfred Jodl, the German c hief of s taff, signed the unconditional surrender of all German land, sea and air forces wherever they might be fighting. General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, rang General Sir ‘ Pug ’ Ismay, Churchill’s c hief of s taff. “The war is over,” he said.

“But no official announcement could be made” said Juliet Gardiner, writing for BBC History Magazine in 2005 . “Stalin insisted that victory should not be proclaimed until German troops on the e astern f ront had surrendered to the Soviet general Zukhov in Berlin and the long-awaited news could be proclaimed simultaneously in London, Moscow and Washington.”

Yet rumours that the war had finally ended soon began to filter through to the British public. “The newspapers are full of rumours of surrende r… feeling almost excite d… everyone is speculating,” wrote Lyn Murphy, who worked for the director of an electrical manufacturer engaged in war production, in her diary for 7 May 1945.

“They shouldn’t keep people hanging about waiting like this. The government needn’t be afraid of people going mad, everybody’s very sober about it,” complained a middle-aged man to a member of Mass-Observation, the organisation that compiled reports on British wartime attitudes and morale, which was out in force now that victory was in the air.

On the afternoon of 8 May 1945, the British prime minister Winston Churchill made the radio announcement that the world had long been waiting for. He announced that hostilities with Germany would cease at one minute past midnight, and that “our dear Channel Islands ”, the only part of British territory to have been occupied, “are to be freed today”. After nearly six long years, the war in Europe was finally over.

Time to party

The celebrations began almost immediately. But there were no official plans for VE Day – notice of the public holiday had been so short that most weren’t sure how to celebrate. Gardiner, who later interviewed people who experienced VE Day firsthand , said: “A London window cleaner probably spoke for many when he declared ‘the holiday is the main issu e… very few have any definite plans, and these almost exclusively consist of getting drunk .’”

Most people had expected the church bells to be rung: “I thought they’d be clanging all day long,” reported a Surrey woman, “but there was no signal. Just hanging around… No All Clears, no bells. Nothing to start people off.”

The weather looked set to be fair – though the papers forecast possible rain later. But even that was a novelty, said Gardiner. Throughout the war it had been forbidden to publish the weather forecast in the newspapers or broadcast it on the wireless , for fear of giving the Germans information that might be useful in planning bombing raids.

Some people went to church to give thanks for the peace at hastily arranged services , while others strolled around their local streets admiring the flags and streamers that had been hung out. Children set to work making Union Jack flags with cardboard and crayons.

Although VE Day was strictly speaking a continental European event, it was celebrated all over the world. In London, more than a million people took to the streets and huge crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace to see Churchill standing on the balcony alongside King George VI . The king’s daughters, Princess Elizabeth – the future Queen Elizabeth II (pictured far left) – and Princess Margaret, appeared alongside them. In Paris and New York, similar crowds gathered along the Champs Elysée and in Times Square.

Michael Maso n, 13, who had been evacuated from his home in central London to a village in Hertfordshire in 1939 and was still there on VE Day, said: “I caught the early bus… to London. I wanted to spend the day with my mum and dad. The scenes in the capital were incredible. It was one huge celebration. A tremendous wave of pent-up feelings had broken loose. The streets were crammed with joyful revellers .”

The partying went on into the night: “Crowds surged back to Buckingham Palace to call for the king and queen again, lines of conga dancers wove along Piccadilly, revellers jumped into the fountains in Trafalgar Square,” wrote Gardiner. “The police were tolerant, instructed to intervene only when there was danger to life or limb, to let a war weary people go a little wild just for one night. In fact, there was remarkably little trouble or drunken behaviour – partly because most pubs had already run dry by eight o’clock.”

Majorie Cantwell, who was nine in 1945 and living in Ealing, west London, thought that “VE Day was the best day of my life. All morning we had been collecting things for the bonfire (including an old piano full of woodworm!)… when darkness finally fell we lit our bonfire and placed a Hitler “guy” on the top. It was in the middle of the road so we were all able to dance around it.

“Later two radios were placed side by side in the window of a nearby house and BBC dance music was relayed into the street. All the grown-ups danced and sang until they were exhausted. When the dance music went off the air, my dad entertained everyone with his banjo and people sang and danced some more. We all went to bed that night tired and happy and I felt that nothing could ever harm us again.”

Here, we look back at the 8 May 1945 celebrations in pictures…


Watch the video: LR Leisure VE Day quiz (May 2022).