On this day in 1945, Victory in Europe (VE) Day was proclaimed by the Allies, recognising the surrender of Germany in the Second World War.

VE Day is a significant commemorative day for Australians when we acknowledge the service and sacrifice of those Australians who fought and died in the European theatre of the war.

From the very beginning of the war, Australians served in Greece, Crete, and the Middle East, on the waters of the Atlantic, Arctic and Mediterranean and the skies above England, over Europe and the Middle East. Meanwhile, Australian nurses were confronted with casualties in hospitals in Britain, the Mediterranean theatre and in the Middle East.

As war raged on closer to home in the Pacific, Australians celebrated the end of the fighting in Europe and the liberation for Australians and allied servicemen who had been held as prisoners of war. It also meant freedom for hundreds of thousands of people – men, women and children – held in internee, forced labour and concentration camps across Europe.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Matt Keogh said the celebration was bittersweet.

“More than a million Australians served during the Second World War, and more than 39,000 lives were lost.

“While the war had come to an end in Europe, the fighting raged on closer to home, meanwhile families were forced to accept so many would never return.”

“Today we remember the sacrifice of those who served in our uniform across the European theatre of war and that of their families,” Minister Keogh said.


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