Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day, May 8 or May 9, 1945) marked Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender during World War II and the end of the war in Europe.
War in Europe Ends
News of the end of the war in Europe had been expected for some time, and after Hitler’s suicide at the end of April 1945 the Allies knew German surrender was at hand. The Allies began meeting with Germany’s leaders to discuss its capitulation on May 4, and the surrender documents were signed on May 7.
News of the surrender began breaking that same day, and exultant crowds poured into the streets across Allied nations. However, official celebrations were postponed until the following day, May 8 (and in some cases May 9).
V-E Day Celebrations
In the United States, V-E Day was marked by a 9 a.m. speech by President Harry Truman, in which he reminded Americans that there was still more fighting ahead and set aside the following Sunday as a day of prayer. Celebrations were held throughout the country, most famously in New York City’s Times Square.
In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech at 3 p.m., and crowds gathered at Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and elsewhere. The royal family made multiple appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet their cheering subjects.
In Canada, the day was marred by riots and looting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, spurred by the closing of pubs and liquor stores on V-E Day. Australia’s celebrations tended to be more somber, since the war in the Pacific was a bigger concern for many Australians. In New Zealand, leaders decided to postpone official celebrations until Churchill made his official announcement from London, so New Zealanders celebrated on May 9 due to the time difference. Russia also announced the victory on May 9, per Stalin’s wishes.
Despite celebrations, the excitement of V-E Day was tempered by memories of loved ones who had been killed in the war and by worry for those still serving overseas. The day was also marked by the sobering reminder that World War II was not yet over, as the fight in the Pacific was still raging. The war would not end until September 1945, with the surrender of Japan.
Learn more about Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day)
Iowa newspaper headline: "European War Ends; AP Announces Surrender" Mon, May 7, 1945 – 1 · Globe-Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) · Newspapers.comMichigan newspaper front page: "Victory; Germany Surrenders!; Truman Agrees to Delay V-E Day Word" Mon, May 7, 1945 – 1 · The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) · Newspapers.comIllinois newspaper headline: "V-E Day Announcement by Truman Is Postponed" Mon, May 7, 1945 – 1 · The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois) · Newspapers.comMay 7 Australian newspaper reports "VE-Day News Expected at Any Moment" Mon, May 7, 1945 – Page 1 · The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) · Newspapers.comArticle discusses British plans for announcement of the German surrender during World War II Mon, May 7, 1945 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comPhoto of the crowd in New York City's Times Square celebrating victory in Europe on May 7, 1945 Mon, May 7, 1945 – Page 1 · The Decatur Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) · Newspapers.comPhotos from British Columbia, Canada, after May 7 victory announcement Mon, May 7, 1945 – 1 · Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.comV-E Day political cartoon: "Excuse Us If We Don't Join the Celebration" Mon, May 7, 1945 – Page 1 · Fort Lauderdale News (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) · Newspapers.comV-E Day political cartoon: "Holding Us Down to Earth" Mon, May 7, 1945 – Page 1 · The Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas) · Newspapers.comMassachusetts V-E Day newspaper front page: "Today V-E Day; Truman Slated to Go on Air at 9 A.M." Tue, May 8, 1945 – 1 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.comNew Jersey V-E Day newspaper headline: "European War Is Over!" Tue, May 8, 1945 – 1 · The Morning Call (Paterson, New Jersey) · Newspapers.comQuebec, Canada, newspaper front page from Victory in Europe Day: May 8, 1945 Tue, May 8, 1945 – 1 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.comAustralian newspaper front page from May 8, 1945: "Germans Proclaim Surrender" Tue, May 8, 1945 – Page 1 · The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) · Newspapers.comNews from England published on V-E Day, 1945 Tue, May 8, 1945 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comPictures of V-E Day celebrations and observances in Hawaii Tue, May 8, 1945 – 1 · Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii) · Newspapers.comText of President Harry Truman's V-E Day speech on May 8, 1945 Tue, May 8, 1945 – 1 · The Tampa Times (Tampa, Florida) · Newspapers.comNewspaper coverage summarizing government speeches and how Great Britain celebrated V-E Day Wed, May 9, 1945 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comNewspaper article about the riots and looting in Halifax, Canada, on V-E Day Wed, May 9, 1945 – 11 · The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.com