20 Most Iconic Images From the End of WWII

on May 7, 2015


It's V-E Day!

V-E day, or Victory in Europe Day, marks the end of World War II in Europe-May 8, 1945. When news of Germany's surrender was leaked by journalists, people across North America and Europe took to the streets and celebrated with parades, dancing, kissing and general merrymaking. America's soldiers were still involved in fighting until Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945. Today, we honor both momentous days in history.

US archives

Kissing the War Goodbye in Times Square

Though this iconic kiss occurred months after V-E day on August, 15, 1945 (V-J day) when Americans celebrated the surrender of Japan, it has come to represent the end of WWII as a whole.

Soldiers Returning Home

This photo was taken on June 17, 1945 in New York city as men of the 86th Infantry Division of the third Army stood on deck of their ship as women on the dock waved, awaiting their arrival.


VE Day Dancing in London

Here, Londoners gather to celebrate the end of the great European war. Crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the Palace to greet cheering crowds.

Old Historic Photos

V-E Day in Toronto

Crowds gather with raucous joy in Bay Street, Toronto, to welcome the end of World War II.

Harringay Online

Mattison Road V-E Day Party

Men, women and children gather in the Harringay area of London to display a more "orderly" manner of celebration in enjoyment of this momentous victory.


American Soldier in WWII

This image was captured from a video of American soldiers using military-issue shovels during WWII. V-E day meant coming home for many war-weary American soldiers.

Nelson A. Shuey Photograph Collection

US Military Policemen Read About Germany's Surrender

Four MP's read in the Stars and Stripes newspaper about the Nazi surrender while taking a break on a German road.

Allan House / Ministry of Defense

50th Anniversary of V-E day

In 1995, a Lancaster from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight dropped poppies over London to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the V-E Day Celebrations.

The Guardian

V-E Day Dancing

The dancing does not end in London as men and women celebrate the Allies' victory.

Crowds on V-E Day

The streets swarm with multitudes of people celebrating V-E day on May 8, 1945.


New York Times Headlines

Originally, the Allies agreed to celebrate V-E day on May 9th, but journalists leaked news of the exciting victory. Thus, we celebrate on May 8th.

The Japanese Surrender

On September 2, 1945, MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces, signed the Japanese Surrender Document aboard the battleship, U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan.


Crowds in Piccadilly Circus

The ground wasn't sufficient for these Londoners on V-E Day. Some perch atop statues, and one person has even climbed a lamp post for a better view of the celebrations.

Daily Mail UK

Post- World War II Destruction

This image of Cologne around the time of V-E day displays the immense destruction caused over the course of the war.

Consortium News

A Symbolic Handshake

On Elbe day, American and Soviet troops shake hands across the Elbe River on April 25, 1945. This important day marked progress for the allies. They had successfully split Germany into two.

Project Gado

Celebrations in Baltimore

African American youths celebrate the end of World War II with an exuberant car ride.

Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Effigy of Hitler

As seen in one of the more shocking iconic V-E Day photos, African Americans hang an effigy of Hitler on V-E Day in Baltimore, Maryland.


V-E Day in Times Square

A crowd celebrates the end of World War II in Times Square by holding the newspaper headlines high.


Celebrations After Churchill's Address

In Whitehall, London, V-E day crowds celebrate following Prime Minister Winston Churchill's speech.