Unofficially Official – May 7, 1945
. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – WOR-Mutual Broadcast Day 10:00 am – 12:00 noon – May 7, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
The reason for the confusion was simple. The surrender documents were hastily drawn up, and without the approval of the Soviets. The signing which took place at around 2:41 am on May 7th (or 8:41 pm May 6th if you were in New York), was considered a “formality” and that an official surrender signing ceremony would take place on May 8th. However, the Russians insisted the surrender ceremony take place in Berlin on May 9th, as Berlin represented the seat of German government, and that the surrender documents being signed were not the same as the ones agreed on during an earlier meeting in January.
But try telling all that to a continent full of people chafing at the bit to be over with one of the worst wars in human history.
So the celebration got started and it was not going to stop. Despite “no official word” from the White House, celebrations sprang up and the streets filled with people just glad this first part of the war was over.
But, as was cautioned by commentators and spokespeople, there was still the Pacific to deal with. Hopes were high that Japan would see the surrender of Germany as a sign all was hopeless and give in sooner. But that didn’t seem likely, given the history of Japanese involvement in the war so far.
And while news organizations were waiting for White House acknowledgement and an announcement, radio networks were busy covering events, and breathlessly reporting the news that Germany was defeated.
Here is a two-hour excerpt of the broadcast day, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on May 7, 1945, as presented by Mutual Radio via WOR in New York. It runs and gamut and it’s off the cuff. Celebration is tempered with caution, but the party was underway and unstoppable, this day 70 years ago.