The war ends But I cannot celebrate Poland has a new savage master
BOTH literally and figuratively, the lights went on again throughout the Allied world on the night of May 8, 1945. Everywhere there was great rejoicing in the streets, prayers of thanksgiving in the churches, but grief unspoken in the homes of the dead. Above all there was relief. A brutal and powerful enemy, Hitler's Germany, had at last been crushed--beaten down at shocking cost, but finished.
I stepped out of my flat opposite Kensington Gardens--whose antiblitz searchlights now swept playfully across the London skies--and joined a street scene similar to those enacted in Allied cities all over the earth.
The pinched and pasty faces of Londoners who had suffered for six years were alight too that night. Those happy people, normally reserved, threw restraint to the winds. Complete strangers embraced and enjoyed the first real celebration the tired city had held since the coronation of George VI almost a decade before.
I walked along in the happy crowd, with it physically, but hardly a part of it, though there were events in my life that might have given me a rightful share in the revelry. I had been a soldier in this war, and I had known danger, hardship, and imprisonment. My country had been crucified--there is no other word--by the Nazis; but they were now routed, and their crimes at least partially avenged. I would soon be reunited with my wife, whose years of weary