THIS horrendous war started in 1939, and if common sense had prevailed it would have ended in 1943.

But this did not apply, anyone could have known at the time that Germany lost. After the battle for Stalingrad that lasted from 1942 to February 1943, more than 850,000 Axis soldiers were killed, injured or missing and the Soviets lost more than a million.

A whole German army was wiped out, but the war carried on with cities on both sides severely bombed and many thousands of civilians killed.

At the same time, the most awful period of ethnic cleansing was being carried out. Mainly Jews, but other communities, were murdered on an industrial scale. This was not war, but it was one of the many reasons to fight Nazism.

Hitler in 1941 had another nightmare to contend with – the Japanese dragged the USA into the war.

All in all, Germany had lost the war long before it was formally ended. The Nazis then had to contend with a fight against a rejuvenated Britain, the USA, the Soviet Union and the allies.

On the Nazi side, Hitler had a weak Italy that would soon desert him. On June 6, 1944, D Day flung itself against Hitler’s Bulwark Europe. Once again, thousands were needlessly killed and injured as the Allies came ashore in their thousands and headed for Germany.

Northwich Guardian:

VE Day celebrations in Westminster. Image: Imperial War Museum/PA

On the other side, the Soviets continued their unstoppable march to Germany’s opposite flank. The die was cast as it should have been two or three years earlier.

On April 30, 1945, Hitler took his own life along with long-term mistress Eva Braun, by then his new wife.

Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz took over as Fuehrer and at that time called for the war to continue and accordingly hostilities went on for another week. Further needless loss of life was caused on both sides until May 8, 1945.

It then became inevitable and plainly evident that the Nazis could not continue the fight, they were finished. Doenitz broadcast to the German people.

He stated that on that day, at 11 am, hostilities in Europe would cease. He had agreed to the unconditional surrender of all German fighting troops.

He went on to say that the foundations on which the German Reich was built, were a thing of the past. The Nazi Party was finished.

Over in England, Winston Churchill was also making a speech. He announced the end of the war in Europe with a broadcast from Downing Street.

Northwich Guardian:

Winston Churchill with the Royal Family on VE Day. Image: Imperial War Museum/PA

He said: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead.”

King George VI also made a similar speech from Buckingham Palace – both men reminded the listeners that we were still at war with Japan. What Churchill had done was light the blue touch paper to a short period of celebrations not seen for many years, and the people obliged him.

Across the country, there were street parties and celebrations, children were allowed to stay up.

Neighbours and friends from Leftwich went to the Bowling Green pub in London Road, to celebrate with a VE Day party.

Northwich Guardian:

These photos were kindly supplied by Alan Senior, who is in the picture. He is on his mother’s knee fourth from the left in the front row. And on the front row in the children’s photo with his head on a girl’s shoulder. Many thanks for these memories, Alan.

Some of the younger children in the picture may never have seen their father, and sadly it is possible that here and across the country, some never will.

Northwich Guardian:

Note the lack of men in the adult photograph. There is likely to be similar images across the country, as so many men were still away from home in the services.

Places of entertainment were permitted to stay open for longer and naturally, this merriment included Cheshire, where scenes of rejoicing ensued, with hugging, dancing and enjoying the freedom that for so long had been missing.

In pubs, clubs and on the streets, people enjoyed an alcoholic beverage or two, getting together to drink, dance and savour the moment. Some headed to the cities of Chester, Liverpool and Manchester, to partake in the fun and freedom that they offered.

It was a day to remember and a natural release for the years of sadness, restrictions, worry and grief. The many service people who did not come back must have been on their minds.

Northwich Guardian:

Image: Imperial War Museum/PA

Wives had lost their husbands, children, their fathers and parents their sons. Whole families had been wiped out in the bombing raids on our towns and cities.

All of this was remembered respectfully, but as Churchill had said, it was a brief period of rejoicing, and everyone deserved that.

How are you marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day? Share your pics with the Guardian below.

VE Day 75 in Cheshire

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