Find: Victory in Europe Day

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This month marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day in the final months of World War II.

Headline announcing Germany's surrender

On May 7 and 8, 1945, exultant crowds poured into streets across many Allied nations to celebrate the news of Germany’s surrender and the Allied victory in Europe. Huge crowds gathered in New York’s Times Square, London’s Piccadilly Circus, and other cities to celebrate and let loose after years of fear and tension. Although news broke about the end of the European war on the 7th, it wasn’t officially announced in either the United States or the United Kingdom until the 8th, which was declared “Victory in Europe Day” in both countries (the Soviet Union, however, didn’t celebrate the victory until the 9th).

On Newspapers.com, you can explore front-page headlines from May 7 and 8 and other accounts of VE Day in over 150 papers. Many of the newspapers from the 7th hit the same major stories on their front pages. News of the German surrender was understandably Headline announces VE Day will be postponed until tomorrow often the biggest headline, but stories of President Truman postponing VE Day until the following day (the 8th) in order to coordinate with other Allied nations was also major news. Another common news item from the 7th detailed how Germany had broken news of its surrender before the Allied nations had. Many papers from the 7th also announced when and where local VE Day celebrations would be held.

Since the major news had broken on the 7th, papers from the 8th often carried follow-up pieces with more details about the surrender. The biggest headlines from the day, however, were typically about President Truman’s VE Day speech, and newspapers—like the speech itself—highlighted the fact that though Germany had surrendered, the war with Japan was far from over.

VE Day political cartoon emphasizing that the war with Japan isn't over

In addition to VE Day headlines and articles, newspapers from the 7th and 8th also featured photos, political cartoons, and business-sponsored propaganda about the Allied victory in Europe. One of the most popular photos showed the crowds in Times Square, but some papers featured photos of local celebrations as well.

Want to learn more about VE Day? You can find thousands of matches by searching Newspapers.com.

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11 thoughts on “Find: Victory in Europe Day

  1. I remember t well. I was only 15 years old, but had several cousins and friends who were serving in the Armed Forces. It was a day to celebrate, but also to remember that the Boys would not be home until the Pacific War was also won. .

  2. My Father arrived @ Normandy Beach on D-Day [4th Engineer Combat Battn] and proceeded thru many towns and countries thereafter [Battle of the Bulge; Ste. Marie Eglise (not once but twice) and Haerecogn Forest (excuse SP??) ~ think that was in Belgium as well as Paris, to name a few] and served for a time under Gen. Patton also. When V-E Day was announced, he came back to Georgia and then onto Camp Butner, North Carolina where he was expecting to go to the Pacific and was given an Honorable Discharge [9/45] & told to go home. Fortunately for him, that was good news!

  3. I was 8 years old at that time. Most of my relatives lived in Germany, but one of my uncles lived on Fischers I.Island along with his wife and son, Ralph.

  4. I was 14 and thought I was grown up enough to go see the celebration in Paterson, or in Times Square. The answer was no of course !! Had to be happy with the News Reel at the Movies, and the newspapers the next week..

  5. My hometown had a radio broadcast heard across the nation on VE Day. They interviewed various citizens in the town. One of these was my father, a veteran of Normandy. Last night, in the same location, 70 years to the day, May 8, 2015, a memorial meeting was held. We heard about the origins of popular songs during the war and joined in singing them. We were then thrilled to hear the voice of my young father speak to us from the past. Four generations of his family were present: his 90 year old sister, two of his four children, three grandchildren, and one of his great grandchildren. We had no idea this recording existed. A very emotional night. He passed away in 2000.

  6. We kids in the 7th grade at St. Mary’s Grammar School (WNY, NJ) got the rest of the week off. Went to Times Square and it was like being in a sea of human beings. Gorgeous weather.

  7. I was a 10 year in NZ at the time. We lived in Dannevirke NZ because my Father was in the Army Camp there as a Quarter Master. So I was only 4 when it started but somewhere between then and the end of war it had a daily impact on me.
    There was always the daily news from the BBC to listen too and many incidental things happening all the time that kept the focus on it.
    Then the bells rang out and the fire siren sounded and it seems today that everyone in the class stood and “shouted the wars over.” School closed down and we children all went home for the day.
    Now days I watch most of the programmes on TV that have anything to do with the trials and tribulations people in England and Europe alongside those who fighting the Nazi regime had to bear and suffer the consequences caused by one evil madman and his henchmen.
    From the documentaries etc you see the suffering and I reflect on my own care free days in the early to mid forties of free play after school of hitting balls and kicking footballs around.
    Campbell Penman
    Hastings
    New Zealand

  8. I was a Field Lineman (telephone) in the 86th Blackhawk Division. On May 6th we were ordered to stand down an form a defensive perimeter in Egglesburg, Austria Working all night we finished laying the wire for our battalion phone network I was photographed outside our HQ May 7th. no celebration, relieved that it was over
    But not for us three weeks later we were shipped back to the US and welcomed as the first division returned for redeployment to the Pacific. Sep 2 1945 we watched planes fly over in a “VJ” formation and a few days later arrived in the Philippines to spend another 8 months trying to repatriate Japanese holdouts and help train the Philippine army..

  9. My brother had been killed on January 7, 1945, so it was with mixed emotions that we celebrated. I was in grade 6 in Ottawa when our teacher told us to go home, “the war is over”. thousands of us gathered at the war memorial. It was a great and exciting day.

  10. This year was the 70th anniversary of when Holland was liberated by Canadian forces. The Canadian veterans were paraded through Apeldoorn, Holland. They were warmly received by throngs of people. People wanted to thank them for liberating Holland. Princess Margriet was even born in Canada during the Second World War. May Holland and Canada always be united.

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