VE Day

Black and white photo of men in uniform standing on the bed of a truck.
Two U. S. Army officers and a priest speaking from the back of a flatbed truck in front of Building 37, Watertown Arsenal, Watertown, MA May 8, 1945.

National Archives at Boston, RG338, Photographs Related to the Watertown Arsenal, 1908-1984

Today is the 76th anniversary of V-E Day, May 8, 1945, the day that Germany and the other Axis powers surrendered to the Allies. For many Massachusetts National Guard soldiers and their families, it was the end of many years of service and anxiety. The 26th (Yankee) Division had been mobilized for training in January 1941, anticipating trouble from the spreading war in Europe, and were getting ready to go home when the US declared war in December. By 1945, many Massachusetts soldiers had been serving for almost six years, participating in some of the fiercest fighting in Europe.

At home, it was a moment of celebration and thanksgiving, as can be seen here at the Watertown Arsenal, which manufactured many of the heavy artillery guns used by Yankee Division units. However, everyone knew the war was not over, and those serving in the Pacific had to wait until August for the surrender of Japan.

Part of a series of articles titled Citizen Soldiers.

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Last updated: June 28, 2022