Reported in the News Letter on May 9, 1945: King’s thanksgiving speech broadcast around the world

editorial image

Hostilities in Europe ended officially at one minute after midnight last night.

Today, Germany is a conquered country, without independent existence. All her manpower, resources and property are at the disposal of the Allies.

The official announcement of the surrender was made by Mr Churchill yesterday afternoon, and his statement was the signal for the nation’s rejoicing.

It was Victory Day, and the climax came when the King went to the microphone at night and spoke to his peoples. He spoke for 14 minutes, and his message was broadcast throughout the world.

The King said: “Today we give thanks to God for a great deliverance. Speaking from our oldest capital city, war-battered, but never for one moment daunted or dismayed - speaking from London, I ask you to join me in that act of thanksgiving.

“Germany, who drove all Europe into war, has been finally overcome.

“In the Far East we have yet to deal with the Japanese, a determined and cruel foe. To this we shall turn with the utmost resolve and with all our resources.

“But at this hour, when the dreadful shadow of war has passed far from our hearths and homes in these islands, we may at last make one pause for thanksgiving, and then turn our thoughts to the task all over the world which peace in Europe brings with it.”

Mr Churchill, broadcasting to the nation yesterday, said: “On Monday morning [May 7] at 2.41 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 in Europe to the Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command.

“Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight, Tuesday, May 8, but in the interests of saving lives the “Cease Fire” began on Monday to be sounded all along the front.

“Our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today.”