On 30 April, Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin.
Upon the defeat of Germany (Italy having already surrendered), celebrations erupted throughout the Western world.
From Moscow to Los Angeles, people cheered. In the United Kingdom, more than one million people celebrated in the streets to mark the end of the European part of the war.
In London, crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the Palace before the cheering crowds.
In the United Kingdom, more than one million people celebrated in the streets to mark the end of the European part of the war.
In the United States, the victory happened on President Harry Truman's 61st birthday.
Later that day, Truman said that the victory made it his most enjoyable birthday.
He dedicated the victory to the memory of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died of a cerebral hemorrhage less than a month earlier, on 12 April.
Truman said of dedicating the victory to Roosevelt's memory and keeping the flags at half-mast that his only wish was "that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day."
Massive celebrations also took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and especially in New York City's Times Square.
As the Soviet representative in Reims had no authority to sign the German instrument of surrender, the Soviet leadership proposed to consider Reims surrender as a "preliminary" act.
The surrender ceremony was repeated in Berlin on May 8, where the instrument of surrender was signed by supreme German military commander Wilhelm Keitel, by Georgy Zhukov and Allied representatives.
Victory over Japan Day (also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, V-J Day, or V-P Day) is a name chosen for the day on which Japan surrendered, in effect ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event.
The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made—to the afternoon of August 15, 1945, in Japan, and, because of time zone differences, to August 14, 1945 (when it was announced in the United States and the rest of the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands)—as well as to September 2, 1945, when the signing of the surrender document occurred, officially ending World War II.
August 15 is the official V-J Day for the UK, while the official U.S. commemoration is September 2.
On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri.
In Japan, August 15 usually is known as the “memorial day for the end of the; the official name for the day, however, is "the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace".
This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.
After news of the Japanese acceptance and before Truman's announcement, Americans began celebrating "as if joy had been rationed and saved up for the three years, eight months and seven days since Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941", as Life magazine later reported.
More seriously, rioting sailors looted city stores, overturned automobiles, and attacked women, leaving 11 dead and 1,000 injured.
The largest crowd in the history of New York City's Times Square gathered to celebrate.
The victory itself was announced by a headline on the "zipper" news ticker at One Times Square, which read "*** OFFICIAL TRUMAN ANNOUNCES JAPANESE SURRENDER ***"; the six asterisks represented the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
In the Garment District, workers threw out cloth scraps and ticker tape, leaving a pile five inches deep on the streets.
A "coast-to-coast frenzy of [servicemen] kissing" occurred, with Life publishing photographs of such kisses in Washington, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Miami.
The official United States celebration is not on this date, however. V-J Day is instead celebrated on September 2, the date of the formal signing of the surrender.