Victory in Europe Day in United States ― Date, History, and Details
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History of Victory in Europe Day in United States and How to Celebrate/ Observe It
Victory in Europe Day, also known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day, was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.
VE Day was preceded by Victory in the Pacific Day, which commemorated the end of the war in Asia, and was celebrated on 15 August 1945. In the United Kingdom (UK), people celebrated VE Day on 8 May. However, due to the time difference between the UK and the United States (US), the US celebrations were held on 7 May, the day after the UK’s celebrations.
In the US, President Harry S. Truman announced the news of Germany’s surrender on 8 May, and a nationwide celebration ensued. Crowds gathered in Times Square and other places across the country to celebrate. In London, Prime Minister Winston Churchill led the nation in a two-minute silence at 3:00 pm, after which church bells rang out and crowds cheered.
The official announcement of the end of hostilities in Europe was made by US General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, on 7 May. In his statement, Eisenhower said, “The last major Nazi stronghold in Europe has finally been liberated… Let us now not only praise God for this deliverance but rededicate ourselves to His service in the building of an enduring peace.”
On 8 May, both the UK and the US issued proclamations declaring the holiday to be a one-time event. In the UK, the holiday was later extended to include the following Monday, creating a long weekend. In the US, the holiday was observed on 7 May, but was not made a federal holiday until 12 October 1945.