The end of the Second World War in Europe brought about an unprecedented celebration across the continent. On May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) marked the day that Germany surrendered and Allied forces saw victory. For many, it was a time for jubilation as well as reflection on the horrors of war and the human cost it had taken.
The fall of Nazi Germany was largely due to the Red Army’s conquest of Berlin. The city fell to the Soviets on April 29th, 1945 and by April 30th, Hitler had taken his own life in the bunker beneath his residence. On VE Day, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed a large gathering of citizens at Buckingham Palace with a victory speech that said: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lies ahead.”
Sadly, President Roosevelt died just weeks before VE Day on April 12th, leaving Harry S. Truman to take up his mantle and finish off what would become known as WWII. In spite of this setback, Allied forces continued their fight against Japan until August 15th when Japan eventually surrendered aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
For those interested in gaining a greater understanding of what happened during this tumultuous period in history, there are documentaries available that provide an insight into how VE Day was celebrated around the world. Through interviews with veterans as well as archival footage from both sides of conflict, these moving stories will help bring to life one of mankind’s darkest hours. So why not be inspired by this incredible event by watching an educational documentary about VE Day today?