VE Day is celebrated annually on May 8 as the day World War II came to an end in Europe. Also known as Victory in Europe Day, the day signals Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces.
On April 30, 1945, Berlin was surrounded and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler committed suicide.
Hitler’s successor, Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, then looked to negotiate an end to the war with the Allies.
On May 8, 1945, it was announced by Winston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister at the time, that the war in Europe was over.
The day became known as VE Day, with the 75th anniversary being celebrated on Friday.
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VE Day: A compilation of quotes and poems
VE Day quotes
Winston Churchill: “My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It’s a victory of the great British nation as a whole.
“We were the first, in this ancient island, to draw the sword against tyranny.
“After a while we were left all alone against the most tremendous military power that has been seen. We were all alone for a whole year.”
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Molly Panter-Downes: “It was without any doubt Churchill’s day.
“Thousands of King George’s subjects wedged themselves in front of the Palace throughout the day, chanting ceaselessly ‘We want the King’ and cheering themselves hoarse when he and the Queen and their daughters appeared.
“But when the crowd saw Churchill there was a deep, full-throated, almost reverent roar.”
General Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Humility must be the measure of a man whose success was bought with the blood of his subordinates, and paid for with the lives of his friends.”
VE Day celebrations in London in 1945
VE Day poems (poemhunter.com)
V.E. Day by Patricia Denise Newman
It’s over, it’s finished, the war has now been won,
Thank God it’s finally ended; finished; over; done!
we’ll no longer hear the sirens as the bombs come falling down,
no longer hear the aircraft as they fly above the town,
no longer see the searchlights lighting up the darkened sky,
or see the burning buildings of the terraces nearby.
We can hear the people cheering as the bells peal out the news,
and we gather, dancing in the road, dispelling wartime blues.
It’s victory in Europe – oh such a lovely sound,
no bombs, no incendiary fires, no more sleeping underground!
The roads are filled with happy people, celebrating victory,
the lights are on in every town, such a brilliant sight to see,
there’s bonfires and fireworks, a colourful display,
we’ll sing and dance and drink with cheer until night turns to day.
We’ll not forget the sacrifices made by others in our name,
they gave their lives so we might live in freedom’s sweet domain.
Their fighting now is ended, rejoice in victory,
England and her allies will remain forever free.
Poem For V.E. Day by John Carter Brown
Victory in Europe
Fifty years ago;
To some it doesn’t mean a thing,
It happened long ago.
It’s just a thing they talk about,
Those old men down the street;
Todays kids cannot understand,
They never felt the heat.
They never knew the torment,
The heartache, pain and death;
They’ve never seen a soldier
That’s fighting for his breath.
The victory in Europe
Was certainly hard won
For who lost a brother,
A father or a son;
For men who gave the ultimate
Upon some foreign land;
A poppy for a head-stone
Now growing in the sand.
This victory in Europe
About which now I write,
It made me free,
I’m glad I didn’t have to go and fight.
I’m thankful that those old men,
The ones still living yet
Keep talking of V.E. day,
And won’t let us forget.