VE Day was the day the Second World War officially ended in Europe, and there were street parties and celebrations all over the UK. In fact, more than one million people took to the streets to mark the end of the war. In London, people famously crowded all the way from Trafalgar Square, up the Mall to Buckingham Palace to see the King and Queen on the balcony, joined by Winston Churchill.
Did you know that the term VE Day existed as early as 1944, before we'd even won the war? In September 1944 it was introduced in anticipation of winning the war. While Allied forces were making significant gains through the beginning of 1945, Hitler committed suicide on April 30th and then it was just a matter of days before the unconditional surrender of Nazi forces. When this was announced to the masses, there were celebrations throughout the world. In the UK, more than a million people celebrated in the streets, and in London there were massive crowds in Trafalgar Square, all the way up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where the Royal Family was joined by Winston Churchill on the famous palace balcony. In the US, VE Day happened to fall on President Truman's birthday, and he later named this as his most enjoyable birthday.
Every year there are events and parties to commemorate the end of the most widespread war in history. These usually involve Union Jack bunting, 1940s fancy dress and 1940s entertainment. In the modern world of international travel and the Internet it seems incomprehensible that for 6 years of the Second World War there was rationing of even basic foods. Children grew up having never seen a banana, and ration books were prized possessions. The end of the War was a massive thing for many people who had been living in fear of bombing from the Germans, the black-out with no lights allowed, and even train station signs removed in case German soldiers were lurking. The War had a massive impact on daily life for everyone, in a way that nothing has since - and possibly ever will.
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