May 7th 1945.
Under the command of Hitler’s successor, Grand Admiral Donitz, General Alfred Jodl sits down to sign the unconditional surrender of German forces at the Supreme Allied Headquarters in Rheims, France.
The following day, May 8th, is chosen to formally recognise the end of the Second World War in Europe, and the VE (Victory in Europe) Day celebrations can officially begin.
After almost six years of conflict, which has cost the lives of millions, destroyed cities, homes and families, and brought suffering and hardship to so many innocent people, the outpouring of emotion on VE Day is palpable.
After delivering a national radio broadcast at 3PM, in which he announces the news that the war has ended in Europe, Prime Minister Winston Churchill appears on the balcony of the Ministry of Health building in central London and gives an impromptu speech.
“This is your victory” he shouts to the adoring masses below. ”No – it’s yours!” screams the crowd in reply.
As the news of the armistice spreads like wildfire, huge crowds amass in Trafalgar Square and surge down The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) her sister, Princess Margaret, and Churchill wave to the cheering crowds below.
Similar scenes of jubilation occur in towns and cities across the world, as people mark the victory with bonfires, parades, thanksgiving services and street parties, dancing, singing and drinking until the early hours.
May 8th 1945 is a day that will remain etched in the memory of all those who witness it.
Of course, none of these celebrations would have occurred without the courage, sacrifice and unwavering dedication displayed by the Allied Forces throughout the war, and in particular, the five major Allied nations of Britain, the United States, France, Canada, and the Soviet Union.
Following six brutal years of war, in which hundreds of cities were devastated, and at least sixty million people tragically lost their lives, the Nazi scourge was almost over.
The depleted and exhausted German army was being overrun as Russian forces advanced from the east. The long-awaited denouement occurred near the Elbe River on April 25th 1945, where Soviet forces dealt Hitler his final crushing blow. There was no way back for the Führer.
Determined to avoid capture as the Soviet Army closed in on his Berlin bunker, Hitler swallowed cyanide capsules alongside his new wife, Eva Braun, and then shot himself with his service pistol on April 30th, 1945.
With Hitler gone, it was left to his successor, Grand Admiral Donitz, to surrender. General Alfred Jodl was sent to General Dwight Eisenhower’s Supreme Allied Headquarters in Rheims, and on May 7th 1945, Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of German forces, which was to take effect from 8th May at 11:01PM.
The war in Europe was over.
As a result, for a short time only, it is with great pride that The London Mint Office, has re-released a commemorative coin set issued to mark the 70th Anniversary of VE Day, which took place on May 8th, 2015.
To honour such an historic occasion, and to pay tribute to all those who sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom, The London Mint Office, in partnership with the Monnaie de Paris, has brought together five beautiful silver coins from each of the Allied ‘super powers’.
Featuring striking designs specifically chosen by the heads of the five national mints; the Royal Mint, the United States Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Central Bank of Russia, and the Monnaie de Paris, the WWII Allied Nations Silver Coin Set is a truly unique collectible.
BRITISH ROYAL MINT Sir Winston Churchill
UNITED STATES MINT Liberty Silver Dollar
ROYAL CANADIAN MINT Battle of Britain
CENTRAL BANK OF RUSSIA Great Patriotic War
MONNAIE DE PARIS Charles de Gaulle
Brought together to commemorate the men and women of the Allied Forces on the 70th Anniversary of VE Day, this unique coin set is an enduring reminder of their courage and dedication, and forms an inspiring tribute to all those who gave their lives in pursuit of our freedom.
A strictly limited number of just 1,945 WWII Allied Nations Silver Coin Sets are available, and no more will ever be issued. This means that just 1 in 13,400 UK households will be able to own this unique coin set.
We are now giving our valued readers the opportunity to own one of these coin sets, so please do not hesitate to contact our customer care team free of charge on 0808 178 2372 or online www.londonmintoffice.org/alliedsetto find out more information.
By Abi Evans
Source: London Mint Office