On 30 April, Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin. Germany's surrender, therefore, was authorized by his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz. The administration headed by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg government. The act of military surrender was signed on 7 May in Reims, France and on 8 May in Berlin, Germany.
It was on this date that great celebrations took place across Europe and North America: in London over a million people celebrated the end of the European war. Crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the Palace to cheering crowds.
Amongst those crowds Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister, Princess Margaret blended anonymously, apparently enjoying the celebrations for themselves first hand.
The Allies had originally agreed to mark 9th May 1945 as V-E day, but eager western journalists broke the news of Germany's surrender prematurely, thus signalling the earlier celebration. The Soviet’s kept to the agreed date, and Russia still commemorates the end of the Second World War, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War, as Victory Day on 9th May.
The Allied victory over Japan was known as V-J Day, did not take place until some months later on 15th August 1945.