How Britain celebrated VE day

Posted on May 8th, 2015 by Alex Cox

On 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin bunker. After his death, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz took the reins of power and headed a new administration known as the Flensburg Government. On May the 7th, Dönitz and his staff met with allied commanders in Reims, France to sign the formal act of military surrender ending nearly 6 years of total war in Europe.

Celebrations erupted throughout the world from Moscow to Melbourne. More than one million people took to the streets to celebrate and In London while 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. Even Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to take part in the celebrations and wander incognito among the crowds.

On May 8th, exactly 70 years ago today, street parties were held in towns and villages the length and breadth of the country and local reporters were on hand to photograph and record the festivities.

Chelmsford_Chronicle_-_Friday_11_May_1945-page-001[1]

Chelmsford Chronicle 11 May 1945

Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

12 May 1945 Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette

12 May 1945 Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette

Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Gloucester Journal- 26 May 1945

Gloucester Journal- 26 May 1945

Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 19 May 19

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Saturday 19 May 19

Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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