On 8 May 1945, the country erupted into unconfined celebration.
Every church pealed its bells, city centres and village greens became the scene of spontaneous parties – and a nation that held its upper lip stiff gave way to emotional outbursts, hugs and kisses among complete strangers abounded and all without shame.
This was visceral national delight.
That day, Nazi Germany had signed its Unconditional Surrender to the Allies, following the comprehensive defeat of Adolf Hitler's ruthless ideological dictatorship over the whole continent.
At last, it brought to an end the killing.
Combat ceased on all the European World War Two battlefields of land, sea and air.
Families could soon be reunited.
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Prisoners of war were free to dream of home fires again.
The Nazi plan to systematically murder Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and any other unwanted people in their vile "Final Solution" was halted.
People that had hidden away for years, or lived the daily dangers of resistance against the Gauleiters, Gestapo and Waffen SS of the German occupation, could now come out into the light, dance, sing and be free.
In the UK, the blackout blinds that had shuttered in the population's windows, like the ones we had piled up in my parent's house for years, could be taken down as the fear of bombing through the night was over.
Rationing endured, but its end was now conceivable and the economy could restart with the mass demobilisation of servicemen and women into new professions and new opportunities.
The mood of optimism was everywhere. Joy and hope were rampant and even the memory of the dead was set aside while the fruit of their sacrifice was fully encountered.
The prime minister, Winston Churchill, encouraged the celebration.
In his VE Day broadcast, he said: "We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let's not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead."
King George VI, the father of the Queen, included this thought in his broadcast to what was then called the British Empire.
"Let us think what it was that has upheld us through nearly six years of suffering and peril. The knowledge that in defending ourselves we were defending the liberties of the whole world," he said.