May 7, 1945 – VE Day And Mixed Signals
Even though the war in Europe had ended, and witnesses saw the signing of the surrender documents, the official word on the actual surrender, word from Allied Headquarters wasn’t quite coming. News had broken earlier by an Associated Press reporter, but wasn’t confirmed by the other news sources. And despite reports of celebrations beginning all over Europe and starting up in the U.S., there was some hesitation to cut loose. The unconfirmed aspect of the report, but also caution that the war was still going on in the Pacific and, even though the end was close, it wasn’t over and there were many more days left to go, and the possibilities of an invasion of the Japanese mainland to consider. So celebrating, at least on the West Coast was slightly tempered.
But still, whether it was official or not, VE Day was cause to celebrate, and crowds were breaking into celebrations all over London. The actual surrender did take place on the 7th – however, with confusion and not everyone on the same page, the official date was pushed to the 8th of May. And then there was the issue of no official representative of the Soviet Union on hand to sign on their behalf. So the official date of surrender for Russia is the 9th of May.
All pretty confusing – but the fighting, for the most part, had stopped. There were still pockets of resistance. The German Army in Prague was not going to acknowledge the surrender, and there were isolated parts of Europe cut off from communication that were still in the midst of fighting.
But, to get an idea of the anticipation surrounding the official news of VE Day, here is a one-hour excerpt from NBC Radio’s Broadcast day of the events. It is a companion to the previous posts I’ve done the past couple of years for this day via Mutual, so you get a better idea of how the day went.