Following the surrender of Germany in World War Two, on 7 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared the following day a public holiday, Victory in Europe (VE) Day. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A Dufaycolor colour transparency of Admiralty Arch, in London And, after nearly six years of conflict, the public took to…
Following the surrender of Germany in World War Two, on 7 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared the following day a public holiday, Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
And, after nearly six years of conflict, the public took to the streets to celebrate.
There was dancing, music and street parties up and down the country, with many people dressed in the red, white and blue colours of the union flag.
Huge crowds cheered from below as Churchill appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George VI and the Royal Family, including the 19-year-old Princess Elizabeth.
The future Queen called it “one of the most memorable nights of my life”.
London’s St Paul’s Cathedral held 10 services, attended by thousands of people.
And, in the evening, people even lit bonfires, which had been banned during the War.
But VE Day did not mark the end of the World War Two, as fighting continued in the Asia-Pacific region.
Churchill said: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.”
Victory over Japan (VJ) Day came on 15 August 1945, following US atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
VE Day and VJ Day marked victory for the Allies but the lives of many survivors had been changed forever, as millions had lost loved ones.
And the British people had the task of rebuilding the nation, with food rationing lasting until 1954.