An estimated 100,000 people attended a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne the day after Victory in Europe on May 8, 1945.
An estimated 100,000 people attended a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne the day after Victory in Europe on May 8, 1945.

Commemorate 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe

IT’S difficult to imagine the emotions felt 75 years ago on May 8, 1945, when Victory in Europe was declared and the war against Germany came to an end. In Australia, celebrations were undertaken excitedly but with the knowledge that, closer to home, the war in the Pacific against Japan was still to be won. The depth of relief was reflected by the estimated 100,000 people that attended a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne the following day.

Australian men and women served in the European and Mediterranean theatres from the beginning of hostilities in September 1939 and Victory in Europe was a cause for great celebration in Allied nations and meant that thousands of Australians, including recently released prisoners of war, could return home. More than 10,000 Australians were killed, nearly 10,000 more were wounded, and almost 8000 became prisoners of war.

This year on May 8, we pause to remember the significance of the Allied victory in Europe and the men and women whose service and sacrifice helped bring about Germany’s defeat. Later this year on August 15, we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, when Victory in the Pacific was declared. As a nation, we will stand together to remember the service of the more than one million men and women and the sacrifice of some 39,000 men and women who died protecting our country during World War II. Lest we forget.

DARREN CHESTER,

Veterans’ Affairs and

Defence Personnel Minister



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