This Friday, 8th May 2020, marks 75 years since VE (Victory in Europe) Day 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. This year the early May bank holiday was moved from its usual Monday to Friday 8th so we could all celebrate on the anniversary itself.
Now, instead of gathering together, we must commemorate and remember this day in our homes and comply with social distancing.
Visit the Imperial War Museum online. A focal point of activity will be Voices of War. At a time when people across the nation are coming together to support each other through an unprecedented crisis, IWM is asking households to take a moment on Bank Holiday Friday 8 May to play a four-minute soundscape featuring first-hand accounts of VE Day selected from IWM’s vast sound archive.
The English Heritage website also has lots of interesting materials, with stories, music, recipes and archive videos.
VE Day What to Watch: on television, YouTube, museum and history websites
VE Day: what to watch
- 2pm: Adventures in History – watch the latest episode in Imperial War Museums’ family focused series on YouTube and iwm.org.uk/learning. Join IWM expert Vikki Hawkins this week as she shares real life stories of celebration and revelry in the wake of the VE Day announcement of 1945.
- 4pm: World at War watch live as Dan Snow takes a look at the bravery found across the commonwealth and the rest of the world in this fateful period of history.
- 5pm & 7pm: The National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum and the Royal Air Force Museum have joined forces to host a free online festival for VE Day. Tune in to Vying for Victory when author and historian James Holland joins lead curators from the three museums to explore how they recognise VE Day. At 7pm, you can then join their live Q&A follow up discussion. Register now.
- 9am: Voices of War – experience Imperial War Museums’ soundscape featuring the recollections of people who witnessed VE Day. Visit iwm.org.uk and follow IWM on Twitter and Facebook.
- 11am: The official commemorations will begin with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence.
- 12 noon: Learn to Lindy Hop with English Heritage’s live dance tutorial. Nancy Hitzig will help you get the hang of this popular wartime craze. Sign up now!
- 2pm: Give yourself a Second World War-inspired makeover with English Heritage’s 1940s makeup tutorial
- 2pm: Take part in The National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum and the Royal Air Force Museums’ live webinar with renowned historian James Holland and National Army Museum curator Dr Peter Johnson to discuss the events that brought the Second World War in Europe to an end in 1945. Register now
- 3pm: Extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech will recreate the moment peace in Europe was announced 75 years ago and the Prime Minister will speak about the importance of VE Day.
- 4pm: VE Day 75 Anniversary watch live as Dan Snow takes us through the events as they happened. He’ll also be showcasing some of your creative entries as part of his VE Day Creative Challenge.
- 4pm: Victory Dance Class with SwingdanceUK, teaching you to Jitterbug and Jive from the safety of your own home in this live beginners’ dance class. Register now.
- 5pm: Show off your moves and join others from around the world in an English Heritage dance-along, complete with a Lindy Hop dance troupe and band
- 5.30pm: Get your singing voices at the ready and tune in to Gareth Malone’s #GreatBritishHomeChorus on YouTube for a VE Day special performance.
- 6pm: We’ll Meet Again for VE Day 75 with Katherine Jenkins. The Royal Albert Hall will host to a very special concert behind closed doors streamed on their YouTube channel. Set a reminder to watch live
- 9pm: Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.
- 9:10pm: Join your neighbours on your doorstep to take part in the national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’
- From 8am: Day three of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum and the Royal Air Force Museums’ free online festival for VE Day gets underway with a virtual tour of the HMS Alliance followed by Soldiers’ Stories at 11am, with webinars and discussions throughout the day.