The 8th of May, also known as VE Day, is a public holiday held to mark the end of World War II in Europe, and the Allied forces formal acceptance of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and its armed forces.
As Adolf Hitler had commited suicide on April 30th, his successor Karl Dönitz decided to surrender and travelled to Reims to sign the act of military surrender on the 7th of May.
In the United Kingdom, where the cost of war had been high with half a million homes destroyed, thousands of civilians killed and millions of lives disrupted, people went in the street to party and rejoice when they heard on the wireless at 3pm that Germany had surrendered.
On the 8th of May, huge crowds gathered in London in Trafalgar square and up the Mall all the way to Buckingham Palace to see King George VI, Queen Elisabeth and Prime Minister Winston Churchill appear on the balcony palace. The king and his wife appeared 8 times in all on the balcony to the cheers of the crowd.
The two princesses, Elisabeth and Margaret were allowed to leave the palace incognito and take part in the street celebrations.
2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Germany’s surrender and 3 days of festivities are planned across Britain.
A national two-minute silence will be held at the Cenotaph at 3pm on 8 May, marking the moment prime minister Winston Churchill broadcast his historic speech to formally announce the end of the war, before the lighting of more than 100 beacons, stretching across the country from Newcastle to Cornwall.
On the 9th of May, cathedrals across the country will ring bells at 11am in celebration. In London, stars will perform at a 1940s-themed concert held on Horse Guards Parade in the evening.
On the 10th of May, there will be a service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey attended by veterans and their families, members of the royal family, politicians, members of the Armed Forces and representatives of Allied nations and Commonwealth countries that fought alongside Britain.