From April 1945, as the Allies advanced from the west and the Russians moved in from the east, it had been clear that the war was over for Germany. The Nazis surrendered to the Allies on 7 May 1945, six days after Adolf Hitler’s suicide. In celebration, 8th May 1945 was declared VE Day and made a national holiday.
Celebrations were held across Europe, North America and Russia (9th May). In London, huge crowds thronged the Mall in front on Buckingham Palace where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Revellers were seen dancing in fountains and on the street, and thanksgiving services were held in churches. Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously addressed the nation:
“God bless you all. This is your victory! It is the victory of the cause of freedom in every land. In all our long history we have never seen a greater day than this. Everyone, man or woman, has done their best. Everyone has tried. Neither the long years, nor the dangers, nor the fierce attacks of the enemy, have in any way weakened the independent resolve of the British nation. God bless you all…”
The people of Belfast marked the day with street parties, church services, parades, bunting and a huge crowd thronged the streets around City Hall.
‘VE Day’ Celebrations in Lisburn, Belfast