VE Day in 1945 was declared a national holiday

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 9:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 10:07 am

A national holiday was declared in Britain for May 8, 1945.

And the air of celebration will be in the air again this week as our nation commemorates 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8.

In the morning on May 8, 1945, Churchill had gained assurances from the Ministry of Food that there were enough beer supplies in the capital and the Board of Trade announced that people could purchase red, white and blue bunting without using ration coupons.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

There were even commemorative items hastily produced in time for the celebrations, including ‘VE Day’ mugs.

Some restaurants had special ‘victory’ menus, too.

Various events were organised to mark the occasion, including parades, thanksgiving services and street parties.

Communities came together to share the moment.

London’s St Paul’s Cathedral held ten consecutive services giving thanks for peace, each one attended by thousands of people.

Due to the time difference, VE Day in New Zealand was officially held on May 9.

The country’s leadership wanted to delay the national holiday until peace in Europe had been announced by Winston Churchill.

New Zealanders therefore had to go to work on May 8 and wait until the following day to celebrate.

In the Soviet Union, too, VE Day was on May 9 due to the different time zones.

Israel also marks VE Day on May 9, as a result of the large number of immigrants from the former Soviet bloc, although it is not a public holiday.

The term VE Day existed as early as September 1944 in anticipation of victory.

More than one million people celebrated in the streets throughout Great Britain to mark the end of the European part of the war.

In London, crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds.

Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to wander incognito among the crowds and take part in the celebrations.

Great celebrations also took place in many American cities, especially in New York’s Times Square.