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Victory in Europe Day

May 1st 2021| Michael Mountford

Victory in Europe Day

The 8th of May marks when the Second World War came to an end in Europe. The long-anticipated news resulted in spontaneous celebrations breaking out across the nation. A national holiday was declared and people from all walks of life came together to mark the moment; people sang and danced outside their homes, and held street parties.

What happened on the first VE Day?

  • On 8th May, people flocked to London, the scene of much of the worst bombing, to celebrate.
  • Crowds flocked around the Mall and Buckingham Palace to see Winston Churchill, King George VI and the rest of the Royal Family.
  • At 3 p.m. Churchill gave a speech to the nation, where he praised the British spirit throughout the war. Although he reminded people that the war still continued outside Europe, Europe itself was entitled to “take a night off today”.
  • After Churchill’s speech, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the two princesses, Margaret and Elizabeth, appeared on the balcony. This would be the first of eight times that they would come out to the crowds that day.
  • At 5:30 p.m. the Royal Family again appeared, this time accompanied by Winston Churchill, who told the crowds, “This is your victory!”
  • That evening, the two princesses slipped out of Buckingham Palace and, in what now seems unbelievable, mingled with the crowds outside, witnessing the scenes of celebration and joy.

BBC Teach

BBC Teach have a whole host of teaching resources for KS2 on WW2 and VE Day. They have useful and informative videos describing how WW2 started, VE Celebrations and VJ Celebrations and many more.

Click the image above to take you straight to their website.

In addition to BBC Teach they also have a, now archived, page

Imperial War Museum

For learning and teaching about the effects of WW2, the Imperial War Museum have created a variety of activity packs for use with both upper primary and lower secondary pupils. It contains lesson ideas, photographs and letters to help students explore different aspects of life during WW1 and WW2.

To start with I would recommend having a look at their VE Day – Parties In The Street resource – which can be found right here. Some other interesting reads are there “Where does V For Victory Come From?” and “VE Day House Party“.

VE & VJ Street Parties – 1945

In these amateur films from Bromley Archives, local filmmaker Cyril Rickert captured the street parties held for VE and VJ Day on Ridsdale Road. The VE Day celebration includes a tug of war; tea, sandwiches, and cakes at a long table in the street; and performances by children on an outdoor stage. For VJ Day, children sit at two long tables for refreshments, and four children in costume do a dance. (The full catalogue records for LSA/0169 and LSA/0170 are available at www.londonsscreenarchives.org.uk.)

Churchill’s Victory Speech & Red Arrows Flypast – VE Day

Extracts of Winston Churchill’s VE Day speech have been broadcast to the nation, as part of the commemorations for the 75th anniversary.

At 15:00 BST, the same time that Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons on 8th May 1945, his words: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead.” The commemorations began with a flypast over London by the Royal Air Force display team the Red Arrows, while RAF Typhoon jets flew over Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Resources

We here at Teacher’s Pet have a large collection of amazing resources all to do with VE Day.

Click here to see all that of our resources relating to VE Day.

Have a Great Day!

We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for teaching about VE Day.

If you have any great teaching ideas for this topic, feel free to comment below (they might even get added to the topic calendar!)

View all posts by: Michael Mountford
Categories: Topic Calendar
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