Crowds on the Champs-Élysées on 8 May 1945, Paris, France
© AFP via Getty Image
Victory in Europe, 75 years later
On 8 May 1945, thousands of people poured onto the streets of Paris, as they did in London, to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War Two in Europe. This view of the famous Champs-Élysées was taken on top of the Arc de Triomphe, looking east toward the distant Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. Victory in Europe (VE Day) had come at last.
The Nazis' unconditional surrender had been signed the day before, on 7 May, at a ceremony in Reims, France. But a few changes were made, and representatives of the Nazi High Command of the Armed Forces signed it again in Berlin, officially, on 8 May. Church bells rang out all over Paris that day, and people hugged and cheered in the streets because it was now clear that the fighting would not return to their doorstep. But war still raged against Japan and wouldn’t end completely until four months later. That certainly didn’t stop people celebrating across the world 75 years ago today, as the long ordeal in Europe had finally ended.