First hand accounts of life 75 years ago after WWII

Find out what Winston Churchill had to say 75 years ago from Imperial War Museum website

Imperial War Museums will mark 75 years since VE Day by bringing Voices of the Past into homes nationwide.

This will then run until August 20 #Victory75.

Sharing personal memories online

IWM will commemorate 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe, sharing the personal stories of people who stood together during a time of national crisis and their reflections once the fighting had stopped.

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At a time when people across the nation are coming together to support each other through an unprecedented crisis, IWM is asking households to take a moment on Bank Holiday Friday May 8, the 75th anniversary of VE Day, to play the four-minute soundscape Voices of War on IWM’s website.

First hand recollections

It brings together first-hand accounts of VE Day from IWM’s vast sound archive, ranging from an army nurse who served in Egypt at the time and a Jamaican aircraftsman who emigrated to the UK aboard the Empire Windrush in 1948, to a Jewish man from Berlin who spent six weeks in Sachsenhausen concentration camp and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Imperial War Museum remembers the Voices of War 75 years ago (Imperial War Museum)Imperial War Museum remembers the Voices of War 75 years ago (Imperial War Museum)
Imperial War Museum remembers the Voices of War 75 years ago (Imperial War Museum)

Voices of War will be a focal point, echoing how families heard that war in Europe had ended 75 years ago on the wireless, encouraging people to reflect on a time of both celebration and cautious relief in the summer of 1945 and to consider what victory really meant for people in factories and fields, and in hospitals and homes, around the world in 1945.

As part of its plans to mark 75 years since the end of the Second World War this summer, IWM will also share voices from its diverse sound archive on the anniversaries of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6 and VJ Day on August 15.

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Marking a 75 year milestone

As part of Voices of War, commissioned contemporary artistic responses to the end of the Second World War and its resonance today will also be released on the IWM website and social media channels from 8May.

These responses, ranging from spoken word performances to music and poetry, will question ourunderstanding of what victory means and reinterpret these pivotal moments in our history forcontemporary audiences.

Artists who will be responding to the anniversary of VE Day on 8 May include; poet Daljit Nagra, inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra; DJ, poet and writer Charlie Dark, founder of Run Dem Crew; Yemeni- Scouse writer, performance artist, facilitator and activist Amina Atiq; poet Rachel Long, leader of Octavia, a poetry collective for women of colour; and poet, playwright and performance artist Chanje Kunda.

Diane Lees, Director General of IWM, said: “Originally we had planned to mark the 75th anniversary of theend of the Second World War in public spaces around the UK. Due to the current situation, this is nolonger possible.

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"However, the need to commemorate this national anniversary and to remember thesacrifices made on our behalf by past generations is as pressing as ever.”

History for everyone

Children and families will be also able to explore the conflict’s dramatic end through IWM resourcesincluding; Adventures in History: VE Day, an interactive film with an IWM expert sharing the ingenious,surprising and moving stories they won’t have heard in the classroom; and Family Missions: VE Day, a funchallenge for the whole family inspired by IWM’s stories and collections.

These educational activities with additional photos and personal stories from its vast collection, will enable people to explore the end of the Second World War in depth.

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