Crowd gathers in Times Square to celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Corbis

75th Anniversary OF V-E Day

Bowfin Museum

On May 8, 1945 in 1945 the US celebrated President Harry S. Truman’s 61st birthday. Thousands crowded into New York’s Times Square with news of Germany’s surrender while other celebrations of V-E Day took place in cities across the nation.

Truman’s message to the American people was clear: “If I could give you a single watchword for the coming months, that word is work, work, and more work. We must work to finish the war. Our victory is only half over.”

Although millions of people rejoiced in the news that Germany had surrendered, relieved that the intense strain of total war was finally over. In towns and cities across the world, people marked the victory with street parties, dancing and singing. But it was not the end of the conflict, nor was it an end to the impact the war had on people. The war against Japan did not end until August 1945, and the political, social and economic repercussions of the Second World War were felt long after Germany and Japan surrendered.