On this day in history, May 7: V-E Day, a bit early
On May 8, 1945, President Harry Truman addressed the nation by radio broadcast, announcing that the war in Europe had ended. It was the official V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.
However, on May 7, before an official announcement had been made, the Associated Press flashed the surrender news over their wires, unqualified and unofficial. A radio flash threw the world in general into a frenzy of excitement. Brooklyn was no exception. Germany had surrendered on the 2,075th day of the biggest, bloodiest, costliest war in history, and official or not, the Brooklyn Eagle’s bold headline on May 7 shouted it out: “Nazis Say: WAR IS ENDED.”
A front page photograph taken in Downtown Brooklyn gave proof of the reaction here from the leaked-out news.
Quoting the Eagle’s report by Violet Brown: “At first people were suspicious. It had been ‘over’ so many times before. Even at 10:30 a.m., a quarter of an hour after the special VE signal that was to mobilize the city’s 345,681 firemen, policemen, air-raid wardens and other volunteers was flashed, Borough Hall was quiet.
“The only group discussing the as-yet-unconfirmed report that the end was at hand was a small group gathered in front of the key-making cubbyhole of Hyman Dees at 11 Myrtle Ave. He had a radio blaring forth the news, but people would listen and say, ‘Yeah, who knows? It’s not official yet.’
“Then someone on the tenth floor of 22 Court Street tossed out some office-made confetti and suddenly the Borough Hall district was galvanized. The few flakes soon turned into a paper snowstorm and in five minutes there seemed to be 5,000 people, at least, gathered in Borough Hall Park.
“The girls who work for the draft boards in the Temple Bar Building at 44 Court St. . . . whose greetings sent more than 50,000 Brooklyn men somewhere over the face of the globe — appeared on the third floor balcony and began to toss paper, scrap paper and they were quick to shout to their audience below.
“All morning long they threw out bits of paper and yelled. ‘It’s over, it’s over!’ They were a little premature of course, but they had reason to be happy — Mrs. Marjorie Jordon of 263 Jay St. has a sailor husband in Europe; Camilla Tristano of 636 4th Ave. has a sailor fiance in the Pacific; Josephine Natoli of 61 Douglas [sic] Street has a brother at Okinawa and another in Germany; Mrs. Bernice Medford of St. Albans, has a brother in Germany.
“Meanwhile the police were getting ready to take their posts on the borough’s streets. 3,000 uniformed men and about 1,000 others, out of the 14,351 mobilized.”
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