VE Day Celebrations

By Imperial War Museums

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.

Gathering to see Churchill (1945-05-08)Original Source: © IWM (H 41849)

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

Crowds along Whitehall (1945-05-08)Original Source: © IWM (TR 2876)

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

Party in Piccadilly Circus (1945-05-08)Original Source: © IWM (EA 65879)

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.

VE Day Celebrations (1945-05-08)Original Source: © IWM (MGH 5125)

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.

Dancing in the streets (1945-05-08)Original Source: © IWM (EA 65885)

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

In the fountains at Trafalgar Square (1945-05-08)Original Source: © IWM (EA 65799)

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

Dancing the Conga (1945-05-08)Original Source: © IWM (EA 65881)

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

V for Victory (1945-05-08)Original Source: © IWM (CH 15165)

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.

Credits: All media
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