Victory in Europe DayVictory in Europe
Day (VE Day
) was May 8
, the date when the Allies during the Second World War
formally celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany
and the end of Adolf Hitler
. On that date, massive celebrations took place, notably in London
, where over a million people celebrated in a carnival atmosphere the end of the European war, though rationing of food and clothing was to continue for a number of years. In London crowds massed in particular in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace
, where King George VI
and Queen Elizabeth
, accompanied by the Prime Minister
, Winston Churchill
, appeared on the balcony of the Palace to cheering crowds. (Princess Elizabeth
(the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister, Princess Margaret
were allowed to wander anonymously among the crowds and take part in the celebrations in London).
The Allies had agreed to mark May 9, 1945 as VE day, but western journalists broke the news of Germany's surrender prematurely, precipitating the earlier celebration. The Soviet Union, with greater press control, kept to the agreed date, and Russia and other countries still commemorate the end of the Second World War, known as the Great Patriotic War in the erstwhile Soviet Union and Russia, on May 9.
The Allied victory over Japan was known as VJ Day.