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Some 500,000 celebrants swarm into Times Square the morning of May 7 after the A.P. announcement that Germany had surrendered. Over a public-address system Mayor Laguardia told all to go home or return to their jobs.
Caption from LIFE. Some 500,000 celebrants swarm into Times Square the morning of May 7 after the A.P. announcement that Germany had surrendered. Over a public-address system Mayor Laguardia told all to go home or return to their jobs.Herbert Gehr—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Some 500,000 celebrants swarm into Times Square the morning of May 7 after the A.P. announcement that Germany had surrendered. Over a public-address system Mayor Laguardia told all to go home or return to their jobs.
A "Hitler," who is really Bill Eckert of Merchant Marine with hair over his eyes, is throttled by celebrating passers-by.
On top of a traffic light another celebrant perches precariously, waving an American flag and a paper telling of Nazi surrender.
A Hitler dummy, with dagger in its heart and a Japanese flag on its chest, is exhibited on Eighth Avenue lamppost.
Torn paper flutters downward to plaza in Rockefeller center.
VE Day celebrations in New York City
VE DAY IN NYC
VE Day celebrations in New York City
Vendor selling American flags amidst the gathering crowd in Times Square to celebrate news that the war in Europe has ended.
VE Day celebrations in New York City
VE Day celebrations in New York City
VE Day celebrations in New York City
Night time crowd of people in Times Square celebrating end of the War in Europe, VE Day, in front of lighted replica of the Staue of Liberty.
Caption from LIFE. Some 500,000 celebrants swarm into Times Square the morning of May 7 after the A.P. announcement that
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Herbert Gehr—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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See Photos of Jubilant V-E Day Celebrations in New York City

May 08, 2015

When news came on May 7, 1945, that the Nazis had surrendered and the war in Europe was over, cities across the globe played host to raucous celebrations.

The original V-E Day, or Victory in Europe Day—which is commemorated on May 7 in Great Britain and Commonwealth territories and on May 8 in the U.S.—was particularly colorful in New York City. And though the photographs LIFE captured are in black and white, they pulse with the energy of revelry. LIFE described the mood in Manhattan:

The nation could feel proud of itself for the way it acted when the big news came on Monday, May 7. There was a little cheering, a little drinking and a few prayers. There was a great sense of relief and of a dedication to the job ahead. Only in New York was there a real hullabaloo. There wild street celebrations were whitened by snowstorms of paper cascading from buildings in Times Square, Wall Street and Rockefeller Center. Ships on the rivers let go with their sirens. Workers in the garment center threw bales of rayons, silks and woolens into the streets to drape passing cars with bright-colored cloth. Then the workers swarmed out of their shops, singing and dancing, drinking whisky out of bottles, wading in their own weird confetti.

The war, of course, would continue in the Pacific until the surrender of Japan that August, following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But for one day, at least, revelers would celebrate this critical milestone.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

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