In Australia today is ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the first large (and pointless and losing) military action by Australian and New Zealand soldiers (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), their landing at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.

11 November 1918, when WWI came to a halt, was called Armistice Day. It was a truce, not a victory. Armistice Day is set aside as a day to remember all the men and women who served in Australia’s armed forces.

When WWII in Europe ended with the surrender of Germany on 8 May 1945, the day was known (on the Allied side) as V-E (Victory in Europe) day. In London there was great celebration.

Churchill_waves_to_crowds

Prime Minister Winston Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall on the day he broadcast to the nation that the war with Germany had been won, 8 May 1945. Imperial War Museum photograph H 41849 retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

British Movietone News Film of VE Day in London 1945:

V E Day began with Mr Churchill’s broadcast officially announcing the end of war in Europe. Londoners took to the streets in celebrations which continued for nearly two days. Outside Buckingham Palace the crowds chanted ‘we want the King’ and were rewarded by the Royal Family appearing on the balcony. At nine o’clock in the evening the King broadcast to Britain and the Commonwealth.

Plans for V-E day had been announced in Australian newspapers on 2 May, a week before.

The war was not finished for Australians, however. The Japanese had not yet surrendered and Australia and its allies were still fighting in the Pacific. The Adelaide News noted that “the Allied victory in Europe, V-E Day, was [celebrated] in Adelaide in an atmosphere of sober satisfaction and thanksgiving rather than one of wild rejoicing.”
(News (Adelaide), 8 May, p. 3.)

The front page of the Adelaide News on 9 May did not report local V-E celebrations. It gave prominence instead to an article announcing that King George VI had pledged Britain would use all her resources in the war against Japan.

It was more than three months before Japan surrendered, on 15 August 1945 August, finally ending WWII for Australia. This day was celebrated as V-J (Victory over Japan) Day.

VJ day Adelaide Advertiser

WORLD REJOICES AT VICTORY (1945, August 17). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43506752

“The Fallen of World War II” is an animated documentary about war and peace that looks at data on the human cost of the wars in the twentieth century and how these compare to wars in the distant past and more recently.

 

I hope we never forget the suffering and misery of war and the unspeakable wickedness and stupidity of people who let it happen.