Celebrating Victory in Europe (VE) Day, 1945

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

As World War II in Europe drew to a victorious close in late April 1945, the Department of State sent the following circular telegram to American diplomatic and consular officers.[1]  In it, the Department warned of premature celebrations given that active and bloody combat continued in the Pacific theater of the war.124.06[4-2345

Nevertheless, when VE Day came on May 8, riotous celebrations broke out.  Perhaps one of the grandest took place in Moscow.  The USSR was not yet involved in the war in the Pacific and had suffered tremendously from the German invasion in what they called “The Great Patriotic War.”  American diplomat George F. Kennan, then posted to the U.S. embassy in Moscow as Counselor of Embassy, described the celebration as follows in his memoirs.[2]

Source: Department of State Circular Telegram to American Diplomatic and Consular Officers, April 23, 1945, file 124.06/4-2345, 1945-49 Central Decimal File, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.

[2] Source: George F. Kennan, Memoirs, 1925-1950, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1967, pp. 240-242.

One thought on “Celebrating Victory in Europe (VE) Day, 1945

  1. Very good. I have been to College Park many times. Those decimal files should not be over looked.

    Kind regards and happy Holidays!
    Patricia Overman
    National WWII Glider Pilots Association

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