The End of World War II
The National WWII Museum pays tribute to the historic anniversaries, as well as the myriad servicemembers and Home Front workers who helped preserve freedom and democracy. Through an ongoing series of digital programming, the Museum will reflect on the legacy and meaning of the end of World War II, bringing audiences distance learning programs, articles, featured artifacts, podcasts, and video content featuring scholars, Museum historians and curators, and oral histories from the Museum’s collection. Learn with us wherever you are.
On May 8, 1945, World War II in Europe came to an end. As the news of Germany’s surrender reached the rest of the world, joyous crowds gathered to celebrate in the streets, clutching newspapers that declared Victory in Europe (V-E Day). Later that year, US President Harry S. Truman announced Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. The news spread quickly and celebrations erupted across the United States. On September 2, 1945, formal surrender documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri, designating the day as the official Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day).
V-J Day was especially momentous—the gruesome and exhausting war was officially over—but the day was also bittersweet for the many Americans whose loved ones would not be returning home. “More than 400,000 Americans gave their lives to secure our nation’s freedom, and in the midst of exultation, there was recognition that the true meaning of the day was best represented by those who were not present to celebrate,” said Robert Citino, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy at The National WWII Museum.
Seventy-six years later, The National WWII Museum will pay tribute to the historic anniversaries, as well as the myriad servicemembers and Home Front workers who helped preserve freedom and democracy.
"TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY" SEASON 1
In the midst of history’s greatest war, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and died just 11 weeks into his fourth term. "To the Best of My Ability" Season 1 is a nine-part podcast series that examines what happens in the wake of his death, pulling directly from the newly sworn-in President Harry S. Truman’s diaries, oral histories from the men and women who lived through it, and more. Join The National WWII Museum as we explore the tragedies, triumphs, and difficult choices made by one of history’s most unexpected leaders.
K-12 Distance Learning
Bring The National WWII Museum into your classroom through our collection of distance learning programming! No matter your budget or level of technology, the Museum can connect with your students through interactive and dynamic Virtual Field Trips, webinars, and more.
End of War Classroom Resources
Explore essays, lesson plans, and multimedia resources exploring liberation and the legacy of World War II, connecting events like the Holocaust, the Nuremberg Trials, the Marshall Plan, and the founding of the United Nations to the world of today.
Liberation and Legacy
Dr. Rob Citino highlights the moments of celebration, as well as realization of the repercussions that followed Allied victory and the end of World War II.
The Steep Price of Victory in Europe
As the world celebrated victory over Nazi Germany and the boys eventually did come home, the war they fought thousands of miles from American shores came home with them. It came home with them in their wounds, in their memories, in their daily life…in their nightmares.
"To Bear the Unbearable": Japan's Surrender, Part I
Japanese military leaders debated Japan's possible surrender up to the last moment. Emperor Hirohito's intervention was critical.
GIs in Germany: First Impressions of the Former Third Reich
By VE-Day, 1.6 million American soldiers stood on German soil. Their first months in the land of their former enemy were marked by a number of surprising observations and interactions.
"To Bear the Unbearable": Japan's Surrender, Part II
Although a decision to continue the war would mean national suicide, members of the Japanese military came close to refusing Emperor Hirohito’s surrender order.
Victory for the Lost: The Ultimate Sacrifice That Made V-E Day Possible
Monuments and fields of white crosses mark the cost of victory in Europe. Majestic today, the cemeteries were in a much different state 75 years ago.
The Most Fearsome Sight: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima
On the morning of August 6, 1945, the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
The Bombing of Nagasaki, August 9, 1945
The bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki with the Fat Man plutonium bomb device on August 9, 1945, caused terrible human devastation and helped end World War II.
Featured Video Content
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Leadership on the Home Front
Roosevelt's passing was a tremendous shock to the citizenry and the military serving overseas. Through his steady leadership, did the country ultimately emerge victorious.
Victory in Europe
World War II in Europe began in 1939 with Nazi Germany invading Poland. Through persistent efforts of teamwork and ingenuity the Allied powers were able to defeat Nazi Germany and free Europe.
I Am Not a Hunter…I Am A Killer: War on Their Soil
As the US Army moved into Germany in 1945, the months of bloody fighting had left a mark on each man.
The Most Fearsome Weapon: 1945 Okinawa Invasion
The Japanese, realizing that the War was nearly lost, turned to their most fearsome weapon in their attempts to stop the American advance: The Kamikaze.
Top Secret: The Final and Tragic Voyage of USS Indianapolis
Shortly after midnight, USS Indianapolis was struck by two enemy torpedoes. The ship sank in 12 minutes. Over 900 of her crew abandoned ship and began to drift in the sea.
Unparalleled Innovation: The Final Card in the Pacific Theater
Advances in science and industrial capability during World War II brought forth new devices that would shape the face of the world for the next 75 years.
Where is the schedule of upcoming commemorations, ceremonies, and programs?
How do I participate in a webinar?
The Museum’s webinars will be hosted on Zoom. You can access a Zoom webinar on your smart phone, tablet, or computer.
If you are watching for the first time on your smart phone or tablet, you will need to download the Zoom app from the app store on your device. The Zoom app is free to download. Once the app is downloaded, click the Zoom webinar link for the program you are interested in. It will then open the app, and you will enter the webinar room. You will need to provide your email address to participate in a webinar.
If you are participating in a Zoom webinar for the first time on a computer, Zoom will prompt you to download and run a bit of software. Once downloaded and installed, click the Zoom webinar link for the program you are interested in. It will then open the application and you will enter the webinar room. You will need to provide your email address to participate in a webinar.
See here for additional information: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115004954946-Joining-and-participating-in-a-webinar-attendee-
What if I miss a webinar?
All webinars are recorded and uploaded to the Museum’s YouTube Channel soon after premiering.
The series of digital programming commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II is made possible by The Nierenberg Family and Bank of America.