VE Day broadcasts

8 May 1945

Winston Churchill announced the end of the War in Europe with a speech broadcast from Downing St on 8 May 1945. He said "we may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead". King George VI also gave a speech, broadcast from bomb scarred Buckingham Palace, in which he thanked the nation. Both speakers reminded listeners that Japan was as yet undefeated.

Anticipation was high after radio programmes were interrupted the previous evening with the announcement that the 8th would be Victory in Europe Day and that Churchill would speak at 3pm. Churchill's speech was preceded by a fanfare, and afterwards the BBC switched to a planned sequence of celebratory programmes. National celebrations were well under way as Broadcasting House was floodlit for the first time since 1937, and bedecked with the flags of the Allies.

The BBC's Listener Research Department recorded the best ever programme satisfaction figures, but conceded that these were all but inevitable due to the nature of the events being covered. The BBC survived the war, and established its reputation internationally with the authority of its news programmes.

World War 2 and the BBC