VE Day in the UK
In the UK, although large public gatherings are still not possible, with lockdown restrictions eased, people across the nation will be celebrating VE Day with bunting, picnics and BBQs, socially distanced nonetheless! Everyone is invited to display a Tommy in their windows and to participate in a national two-minute silence at 3pm.
‘La Fête de la Victoire’ in France
Here in France, VE Day or ‘Victoire 1945’ is a national holiday, usually celebrated with church services, ceremonies and parades. Traditionally, the President lays a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs Elysées. Like last year, the 2021 ceremony will still take place, but with a very small group of civil and military representatives, and TV cameras to relay around the country.
Mayors have been told that they can choose to organise the laying of wreaths on local war monuments within the confines of current sanitary rules.
On 8 May 1945, prime minister Winston Churchill announced:
Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight, Tuesday the eighth of May….
German armed forces surrendered unconditionally on May 7. Hostilities in Europe ended officially at midnight, May 8. 1945.
Thousands gathered in the streets to celebrate the end of 6 years of war but of course, VE Day marked victory for Europe over Germany, but not the end of World War Two. Churchill continued…..
We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued. The injury she has inflicted on Great Britain, the United States, and other countries, and her detestable cruelties, call for justice and retribution. We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task, both at home and abroad. Advance, Britannia! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!
Many allied soldiers, sailors and airmen continued the fight, which continued until 14 August 1945, when two atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki (9 August).
The end to WW2 came on 15 August 1945, known as VJ Day, when Japanese leaders signed an official surrender.
World War Two was finally over – and what a cost!
DID YOU KNOW?
This year, 2021 marks the 76th anniversary of VE Day. Whilst celebrations and parties in the street will not take place once again this year, the Covid19 pandemic does not stop us taking time out to remember.