• VE DAY 75: 8 MAY 1945

    Seventy-five years ago today, 8 May 1945, it was Victory in Europe Day in Britain, western Europe and America. In London 50,000 people, some of whom had travelled hundreds of miles to be there, gathered in Whitehall for Churchill’s announcement. Made in Downing Street but relayed live by loudspeaker to the crowd outside, he proclaimed that the war in Europe would end at “one minute past midnight tonight”. An hour later Churchill appeared with the Royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to great acclaim. Two hours after that, he emerged onto the balcony of 100 Parliament Street, opposite the building containing the underground cabinet war rooms, and said “This is your victory,” before beginning an impromptu rendition of Land of Hope and Glory that the crowd happily joined. Finally, at 9pm, King George VI broadcast to the nation, remembering “those who will not come back” and saluting “the great host of the living who have brought us to victory”.

    Much later – after midnight in fact – in the Berlin suburb of Karlshorst German commanders were made to sign the surrender again for the Soviet Union, which to this day marks VE Day one day after the rest of the world in accordance with the Allies’ original plan. The resentment this caused in Russia would be one of many steps toward a new conflict that would overshadow the world in the coming decades. This war, though, was over, although it was not until 20 May that the German garrison on Texel, an island immediately north of Amsterdam, was defeated by Canadian forces in the last battle of the European war.

    For my father and his mates, their job – to remove or destroy Luftwaffe aircraft, equipment and weapons – was just beginning. On VE Day the advance party left Ostend and drove 230 miles to Twente in Holland. They passed through Arnhem, which my father recalled was still burning and filled with starving citizens, and camped by the road that night. The rear party, meanwhile, sailed from England today. Ahead lay a link up, revised orders, a long drive to Germany, and the secret Luftwaffe test centre at Travemünde on the Baltic coast, at the northern-most point of what would soon become the Iron Curtain.

    0 Comments

Click blog images to expand; pre-Sept 2011 posts here

L

Chris is one of more than a dozen specialists whose essays fill this fresh examination of the charms of Paris, which is edited by John Flower. Looking at the French capital's history, culture and districts, each item can be read in just half a minute and is beautifully illustrated with its own collage-style spread.

Ivy Press, 2018

ISBN 9781782405443

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.


Get Flash Player