When peace finally returned to Europe in 1945, the perceptions of how victory over Nazism was to be celebrated and what post-war Britain should look like were very different from the visions the people and the politicians had in 1940.
Mike Brown examines the milestone events that led to the nation's progressive change of heart from paranoia and defeatism in the early years of the war, to the growing confidence that followed El Alamein in 1942. With this watershed in Britain's fortunes, the nation began to look towards certain victory and the shape of the postwar world.
VE-Day itself is described in detail: how people celebrated all over Britain, Churchill's speech, the King's speech and the ethical problems of celebrating victory in Europe while fighting was still going on in the Far East, and of those who had nothing to celebrate owing to personal loss of a loved one.
Following a look at the immediate post-VE-Day period up to (and including) the VJ-Day celebrations in August, the author concludes with the harsh realization of post-world war austerity and the increasing disillusionment that led many to conclude that they had won the war but lost the peace.