As you all know, this Friday is the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, which marks the end of the fighting in Europe during the Second World War. Nearly 18 million service people were killed on Europe’s battlefields on all sides, as well as 45 million ordinary people.
Germany surrendered on 7th May 1945. The 8th of May was declared a national holiday, and large crowds gathered to celebrate together, and street parties, parades and thanksgiving services were held across Britain. They were a mix of relief at the fighting finally being over, thanks that so many people had survived and sadness at all of the suffering and lives lost, as well as understanding that communities would now have to start rebuilding their lives.
While many celebrations were planned for this year in Coventry and around the rest of the country, unfortunately because of Covid-19 we can’t gather in crowds and many cannot go ahead. But that does not mean that we can’t celebrate in our homes with our families!
There are lots of activities to keep you busy, while learning about an important part of our history.
The BBC have created the Great British Bunting Pack which is free to download. If you don’t have a printer, you can use the instructions to create your own templates. There are also posters and colouring pages for you to complete here.
We would love to see photos of any preparations you are making and any celebrations you hold. There is even a VE Party Planning Page with recipes people used on 8th May 1945 and a suggested play list (just click on the picture to be taken to it on Spotify). And no party would be complete without a delicious dessert. This is why Great British Bake Off Judge, Prue Leith, has released a special flapjack recipe to help you bake a traditional treat while you stay home, save lives, and celebrate #VEDay75.
On Friday 8th, there will be a special VE Day story in you Google Classrooms at 10.30am (as well as your usual story at 3pm), before the official commemorations begin at 11am, with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence. Details of other activities taking place, including the broadcast of Winston Churchill’s famous speech, during the day can be found here.
And don’t forget to mark this historic occasion, Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945, followed by a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’. Open your doors and join in with this national moment of celebration.
∇*∇*∇*∇*∇ Competition Time ∇*∇*∇*∇*∇
Historian, Dan Snow, is looking for budding journalists to find out how you would tell the story of VE Day today to mark this special 75th anniversary. You could:
- Write a short news report in the style of today or 75 years ago
- Make a short video that tells the story of VE Day, either in the style of 75 years ago or how you would tell it today
- Design a newspaper front page or article
- Write or perform a poem, song, drawing or other work of art
- Share the story of someone in your family or area who was involved in the War
- Write or perform a short play about VE Day and what it would have been like 75 years ago
The best entries will be featured on the official VE Day Website, which has a host of useful links to assist you with your research. Details of how to enter can be found here. Entries need to be submitted by Wednesday 6th May.