May 8th 1945: VE Day
On this day in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, combat ended in Europe with the Germans accepting unconditional surrender in Rheims, France. The German surrender marked the end of Hitler’s Third Reich, after the dictator’s suicide on 30th April. Germany’s surrender was led by German President Karl Dönitz, signed on 7th May and ratified on 8th May. The Western world celebrated, with huge festivities in Trafalgar Square and outside Buckingham Palace in London and in New York’s Time Square. British King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill led the celebrations in their country, and US President Harry Truman dedicated the victory to his recently deceased predecessor remarking his only wish was that “Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day”.
“This is your hour. This is your Victory”
- Winston Churchill to crowds on VE Day