VE Day!

German radio announced on 1 May 1945 that Adolf Hitler had died. There was some reluctance at first from the Allies to accept that Hitler was dead, concerned that it might be the beginnings of an escape plot. After Hitler's death leadership of Germany passed to other high-ranking Nazi officials. Their role though was little more than to prepare for surrender, which happened a week later. The official announcement of surrender was made the following day - Tuesday 8 May 1945, called VE Day ('Victory in Europe' Day). Both VE Day and the following day were proclaimed public holidays in Britain to celebrate peace in Europe.

How do you think people would feel as they heard this announcement?

Excited, happy, nervous?

What would victory mean for life at home? What would change?

The men would return home, the women would no longer have to do the men’s work, rationing would end, evacuees could return home! Things did change but it wasn't all instant happiness. The men who returned may have had physical and emotional wounds that took a long time to heal, and perhaps prevented them from working. Their children may no longer have known them, and they’d have to get to know them again, they’d have to find work. The women who enlisted to help the war effort, such as land girls, would be forced to give up their jobs, many of whom enjoyed their work. People whose homes were bombed were homed in pre-fab buildings (quickly erected homes). Rationing continued for a long time after the war had finished. People celebrated VE Day up and down the country with fun victory street parties that involved the whole community.

In Class 3, we held our own VE party with hats, bunting, songs and cake!