May 8 marks VE (Victory in Europe) Day. In 1945, it was the day that the Allied forces formally accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender. The day was marked with celebrations around the world, including massive gatherings in London and New York City.
However, the day
does not mark the formal end to World War II. Imperial Japan did not surrender until August 15, 1945, which became known as Victory in the Pacific or Victory over Japan (VJ) Day.
According to minutes from a U.K. government cabinet meeting, the phrase VE Day was selected by Winston Churchill on April 9.
Britain is marking the day with a series of events, however
they’re somewhat muted compared to the original plans. As a result of the country remaining in lockdown due to COVID-19, a series of television and radio programs were run, and military fly-bys still took place. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) waving to crowds gathered in Whitehall on VE Day, 8th May 1945. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) VE day, held to commemorate the official end of World War II in Europe, is celebrated by crowds at Trafalgar Square in London, 8th May 1945. (Photo by Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) Ecstatic crowds celebrating VE Day in London's Piccadilly, at the end of World War II, 8th May 1945. (Photo by Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) May 1945: A publication at a news-stand in America announces the surrender of the last German units on V-E Day, signalling Victory in Europe. (Photo by Weegee(Arthur Fellig)/International Center of Photography/Getty Images) 8th May 1945: Crowds celebrate VE day in Times Square, New York. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) A group of London girls waving flags in front of the statue of Queen Victoria outside Buckingham Palace on VE Day, 8th May 1945. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) is greeted by crowds as she tours the East End of London on the day after VE Day, 9th May 1945. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) A group of ATS women and American soldiers celebrate VE Day in Trafalgar Square, London, 8th May 1945. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) 8th May 1945: A van load of beer passing through Piccadilly Circus on VE Day. The statue of Eros, protected during the war by advertising hoardings, can be seen in the background. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) Police struggle to hold back a surging crowd of Londoners massed in Parliament Square on V-E Day, signalling end to WWII in Europe, 8th May 1945. (Photo by Bob Landry//The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images) The cover of a Victory Special issue of Picture Post magazine depicting a mother and her two sons celebrating VE Day in Britain, at the end of World War II, 8th May 1945 (published 19th May 1945). (Photo by Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) A kiss in Times Square displays the mood of the world on V-E Day (or "Victory in Europe" Day), signalling the end of hostilities in the European theatre in World War II, on May 8, 1945, in New York, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) British girls, of the Picture Division of the London Office of War Information, dance in the street with American soldiers during the V-E Day celebrations in London, May 8, 1945. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images) Crowds in New York celebrate the end of World War II in Europe on VE Day, 8th May 1945. Crowd Celebrating Victory in Europe Day in Times Square. Prime Minister Winston Churchill appears on the balcony at Buckingham Palace together with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the two princesses on the afternoon of V-E Day, May 8, 1945. (Photo by CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)