Today in History: VE Day
Today in History – 7-9 May 1945: VE (Victory in Europe) Day
Crowd at the official VE Day celebrations, Lambton Quay, Wellington. Pascoe, John Dobree, 1908-1972: Photographic albums, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/4-001522-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22671159.
After over 2000 days of suffering and devastation, the war in Europe came to an end May 7, 1945 with the unconditional surrender of Germany at Reims. This was not the end of WWII, that would happen in just under four months’ time with the official surrender of Japan in September 1945. Regardless, VE (Victory in Europe) Day was the beginning of the end of WWII and peace was on the horizon.
Although the surrender officially happened on May 7, news of peace made its way to a joyous New Zealand trumpeted in the next day’s newspapers (May 8). However, reticent to celebrate without ‘official authorisation’ and waiting for the announcement by Winston Churchill, most of New Zealand went about their daily business. The announcement everyone had been waiting for happened in the early hours of May 9 (New Zealand time), and New Zealand celebrated VE Day in style!
In Wellington a state ceremony was held and the Governor-General read out the official proclamation of peace. Elsewhere people throughout the nation rejoiced at various events, such as formal ceremonies, parades, bonfires, thanksgiving services, dances and sports days. There was singing and dancing, strangers kissing,
and crocodile lines in the streets!
DA3307 – VE Day celebrations with flares at sea signalling the victorious news.