London (JFK+50) The war in Europe came to an end seventy years ago today, May 8, 1945, as the Allies celebrated the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich. The instrument of surrender was signed by General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command, the previous day in REIMS, FRANCE at 02:41 GMT.
Millions of people in cities across the globe celebrated the day by taking to the streets. In the United States, President Harry S Truman, also celebrating his 61st birthday, said his only wish was that...
"Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day."
The British government issued guidelines for celebrations which included...
"Bonfires will be allowed, but the government trusts that only material with no salvage value will be used."
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, speaking on the BBC from 10 Downing Street said...
"(We) may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing. Advance Britannia. Long live the cause of freedom. God Save the King!"
Large crowds gathered in TRAFALGAR SQUARE and at BUCKINGHAM PALACE where King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill appeared together on the balcony.
The King was wearing his ROYAL NAVY uniform and later spoke to the nation as the Palace was illuminated by floodlights for the first time since the BLACKOUT started in 1939.