Film: 7290

War + Military | 1940 | Sound | B/W


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White letters read 'Victory!' over Big Ben as the clock strikes three for VE day 1945

Winston Churchill in a study speaks into microphones; 'yesterday morning at two forty-five am, at General Eisenhower's headquarters, General Jodl, the representative of the German high command..signed the act of unconditional surrender of all German land, sea, and air forces to the Allied Expeditionary forces and simultaneously to the Soviet high command. Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight , Tuesday the eighth of May, but in the interests of saving lives, the ceasefire begun yesterday to be sounded along all the fronts. The German war is therefore at an end'. Close up of Churchill; 'we may now allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, today is Victory in Europe day'.

Voice-over - 'this was the moment we'd all been waiting for'. Two men sit on posts at either side of the picture, facing away but looking back over their shoulders at the camera. Between them a younger man leans back off a ladder and below them the street outside Westminster is blocked with crowds of people. Leicester Square, packed solid with people; the central plinth bears signs reading 'give thanks by saving' and 'Victory over Germany 1945' another sign on a building behind ('we shall have mousse'??). A crowd of smiling faces raised up listening to Churchill's message. Men in army uniforms (some of them are Chinese) amid civilian men women and children. One hand lifted to make the 'V for victory' sign as Churchill's last words are heard; 'advance Britannia, long live the cause of freedom, God save the King!' The crowd cheers and people wave miniature Union Jacks. A woman with short hair in uniforms run past the camera. Policemen link arms to hold back the enthusiastic crowd as the houses of parliament, lead by the speaker file out in wigs and gowns. Close up of a smiling girl in cap and tie with a flag.

The West End; people dance in a circle, arms around one another, in the middle of a crowd, people cover the roof of a car, and a man swings down by his hands from where he has been leaning off a telegraph pole. Soldiers and sailors dancing in the crowd. Lambeth Walk; a group of children with wreaths of flowers make 'V for victory' signs for the camera, a group of men, in semi uniform, older men and women and children sing the song 'Lambeth Walk', their hands on one another's shoulders, a man in a cap points, yelling and those around him laugh. A line of people with arms linked carry a full-sized Union Jack. London buses try to get through an impenetrable crowd of waving, cheering people.

The 'Victory over Germany' sign in Leicester square - underneath houses and churches are drawn, people sit dangling their legs from the plinth and clambering over the back of the lions. A French flag is waved amongst the Union Jacks.

The gates of Buckingham Palace from above. Outside, the square is jammed with people, those in front leaning through the railings to wave. The King and Queen appear on the balcony of the palace, with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret behind. The King and Elizabeth both wear uniforms. The crowd cheer as the Royal Family wave, and as they file back inside, children leaning through the railings chant 'we want the King!'. The royal family come back onto the draped balcony; this time Churchill appears between the King and Queen to great applause.

London streets at night; people climb lampposts and sit on top of the lights, spin in circles holding hands and dance the conga. Smoke rises from a huge bonfire. The commentator reminds us that the war in Japan is not yet over but that there is still cause to celebrate. People jump into the pool in Leicester Square, triumphant music, things thrown onto the bonfire, a man waving a flag on top of street lamp.

The King's message; he sits behind a desk in uniform with rows of colours on his jacket, and speaks into the microphones; 'today we give thanks to God, for a great deliverance. Speaking from our empire's oldest capital city, war-battered, never for one moment daunted or dismayed, and Germany, the enemy who stirred all Europe into war, has finally been overcome. We have yet to deal with the Japanese, that determined and cruel foe. The Queen and I know that the ordeal which you have endured throughout the commonwealth and he empire. We are proud to have shared some of it with you and we now, in this our of victory commit ourselves to our new task, to the guidance of the same strong…(reel ends here).

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