PICTURE: 'Today is V Day' - the war in Europe is over.
PICTURE: 'Welcome Back' image
- Churchill, May 1945
It didn't seem real at first. There were rumours that the war might be over but still no official announcement. Then the announcement came - Germany had capitulated and the war in Europe was over.
Church bells rang and there was dancing and singing in the streets all over Britain. It had been six long years of shortages, hardships and uncertainty. All that was forgotten , albeit briefly, and people were happy.
With the D-Day landings on June 6th 1944 and allies ashore the beginning of the end was in sight. However it was to be another nine long months before Europe was free from the jaws of Nazi tyranny. On 25th April 1945 the Russian army had surrounded Berlin, Hitler’s stronghold and where Hitler had hidden in his secret underground bunker frantically trying to save an already lost war. This was to be Russia’s prize and Hitler secretly knew this.
Hitler insisted right until the last days of the war in calling regular briefings and asking for his armies to move against the Soviets. However, these armies were already destroyed and many Germans had surrendered (preferably to the Americans or British and not the Russians).
On the 30th April 1945 Hitler, now a sad and lonely figure, admitted the war was lost to his closest aides. He took his pistol and gave a phial of cyanide to his mistress Eva Braun. As she took the poison, he shot himself in the mouth and the dream of a 1000-year Reich was history.
Although Admiral Doenitz was appointed the new Fuhrer and bold statements were made to the German people that the war would go on with the annihilation of Bolshevism, it was only a matter of time.
PICTURE: News of Hitler's death is announced.
Germany surrendered on 7th May 1945. The following day it was announced that the 8th May would be VE Day, a national holiday to celebrate victory. People danced and sang in the streets and effigies of Hitler were thrown on bonfires. Churchill was to make several public appearances waving to the crowd and giving his ”V for Victory” sign.
PICTURE: 'V is for Victory' - Churchill speaks to the crowds
PICTURE: Flower Lady celebrates VE Day
This page is dedicated to all those ordinary people who, through their courage and determination, freed Britain from Hitler's misguided ambitions. It also remembers those who didn’t make it but who gave us our freedom we take for granted today.