Free At Last!
May 8, 1945: Victory in Europe, but not yet the end of WWII…
The New York Times Cover of May 8, 1945 mentioned the progress in the Pacific in the same headline. Many families still had their boys overseas, for them the war was not over…the true end of WWII was August 14, 1945, with the surrender of Japan.
French girls wearing dresses in the flags of the Allied Nations at La Madeleine Church in Paris
Churchill waving to the millions of Londoners in the streets to celebrate the end of the war in Europe, making his famous “Victory” hand sign.
Russian soldiers celebrating in Berlin.
On the 7th of May 1945, the German occupation of the Netherlands had ended, although many towns and villages had yet to be liberated. That day a group of angry German officers opened machine fire on jubilant crowds gathered in Dam Square in Amsterdam to celebrate. Among them were members of the Resistance, who drove the remaining German troops and their Dutch collaborators into the Palace.
Some of the revellers tried to take cover behind lamp posts or the small barrel-organ playing in the square, others fled down the narrow alleys leading off it. Twenty were killed and 119 were wounded. Allied forces arrived a day later and the Germans retreated, including those responsible for the bloodbath. It is known as the “Dam Square Massacre“. Click the link to see the amazing archive footage. A gratuitous and horrible epilogue to the liberation of Amsterdam…
A magnificent photograph of Churchill and his Victory hand sign reminding us of the power of the gesture and the will to carry on. The liberation of the Netherlands and the horror of the Dam Square Massacre reinforces the need to never forget the brutality of the Nazi regime. Thank you.