Soldiers from the British Women’s Royal Army Corps celebrate the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945, at Trafalgar Square in London. It is the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, when allied forces defeated Nazi Germany in World War II. R. J. Salmon, Getty Images
Parisians march through the Arc de Triomphe jubilantly waving flags of the Allied Nations as they celebrate the end of World War II on May 8, 1945. German military leaders signed an unconditional surrender in Reims, France, on May 7. Associated Press
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, center, waves to crowds gathered in front of Whitehall in London. Keystone
People ride on a van loaded with beer at Piccadilly Circus in London. Keystone
People gather around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on VE Day. AP
People celebrate at Times Square and 42nd Street in New York City. Matty Zimmerman, AP
A British sergeant is carried by the crowd as they celebrate the end of World War II in Europe in Moscow. Keystone
People celebrate outside the U.S. and British embassies in Lisbon, Portugal. The jubilant crowds celebrated for two days. AP
Crowds of civilians, British and Allied troops wave and cheer as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, second balcony from left, and members of the Cabinet appear at Whitehall in London. AP
A damaged bust of German dictator Adolf Hitler lies in the ruins of the Chancellery in Berlin. Reg Speller, Fox Photos, via Getty Images
When the second British Army took the Prison camp at Westertinke near Bremen, which had been the only naval prison camp on May 8, 1945 in Germany, they found that many American and Allied prisoners had been moved in by the retreating Germans form camps farther to the west. AP
Happy crowds gather round the Rond-Point on the Champs-Elysees, Paris, on VE Day, May 8, 1945, to celebrate the announcement of Germany’s unconditional surrender. Henry L. Griffin, AP
Enthusiastic Danish crowds greeted the British column on its arrival in Copenhagen, May 8, 1945. AP
With the final capitulation of the German armed forces Denmark once again celebrates her freedom. Riding in horse-drawn vehicles, on bicycles and on foot, Nazis filed out of Copenhagen to surrender to the nearest British forces. Here Germans crowd onto a miniature tank carrying a trailer on their way to surrender to British troops, May 8, 1945. AP
Video: VE at 70: Picking Up the Pieces –
Even with the defeat of Nazi Germany, there were daunting concerns still facing the world.
Europe was in shambles, it needed to be rebuilt – it needed money, resources, clean water, food, supplies, there were countless German POWs to process before allowing them to return home while also weeding out war criminals (the SS were of major concern), and millions of Nazi camp survivors needed a new start.
Plus there were also the tasks of implementing de-nazification and dividing Germany between America, Britain, France and Russia as agreed on by Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta conference (sometimes called the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference) held February 4–11, 1945.
There was also Japan. The war with Imperial Japan still raged on in the Pacific and would continue for another three months.