VE Day Celebrations

Imperial War Museums

On 7 May 1945, the formal act of military surrender was signed by Germany, ending World War Two in Europe. The next day celebrations broke out all over the world to mark Victory in Europe or VE Day.

A public holiday
In Britain, Winston Churchill declared 8 May a public holiday. Crowds gathered on Whitehall to hear Churchill speak.

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

Celebrations in Central London
Huge crowds gathered in Central London. People held parties, danced and sang in the streets. At Buckingham Palace, King George VI and the Royal Family appeared on the balcony.

This colour film was shot by RAF ground crew electrician R W Johnson and his father William Johnson. Together, they recorded VE Day celebrations on 8 May 1945 in Central London.

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

Two British sailors and their girlfriends wade in the fountains in Trafalgar Square.

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

Not an end
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.
Imperial War Museums
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