Crowds had gathered at the Four Corners for President Truman's
9AM announcement over the radio that the war in Europe had come
to an end.
It was followed by the playing of The Star Spangled Banner, during
which the crowd seemed particularly reverent. Then, after a few
moments of quiet, the celebrations began, the noisiest in Newark's
A snake dance of several hundred office workers lasted for about
20 minutes. There was a lot of backslapping and lots of hugging
and kissing with servicemen.
About five minutes after the start of the Four Corners celebrations,
the air was filled with the sounds of church bells and factory whistles.
The downtown celebration far exceeded the previous day's celebration
when the German surrender was announced.
But the uninhibited celebrations were cut short nearing noon by
the onset of a heavy rain, and by 1 PM, the downtown streets seemed
All department stores and most other downtown stores had closed
for the day.
The downtown Newark celebrations were concentrated on Broad Street,
going north from Market toward the department stores.
The celebrations started quietly with small crowds gathered around
the stores near Broad and Market awaiting the 9 o'clock hour when
President Truman would come on the radio to announce the end of
Most clustered near storefronts, taxis, or parked cars that had
their radios on loud.
After President Truman's announcement, the crowd stood quietly
during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, and then, it seemed
like all hell broke loose.
Within minutes there were car horns blaring and the start of general
The crowd was estimated by that time at around 25,000.
It was made up largely of workers who had left their jobs, housewives
who had come downtown to join in the excitement, and teenagers who
had abandoned their classrooms.
Newark's Tallest Building
At the National Newark Building at 744 Broad STreet, workers from
the building formed bucket brigades to carry confetti and streamers
that were laying on Broad STreet back to upstairs offices, throwing
it down again and again on the celebrators below.
The Falling Confetti on Broad Street
In the Broad Street area between the Prudential and the 744 Building,
the streets were loaded with confetti.
Groups of rambunctious teens scooped up armloads of torn up phone
books and other confetti and playfully tossed it at some of the
cars and busses that were stuck in the jammed-up Broad Street traffic.
As a City Commission election campaign was also underway on V-E
day, a wealth of the carefully-prepared campaign literature wound
up being torn to bits and converted into confetti that added to
the litter on Broad Street.
Downtown Newark Store Closings
Practically every store in downtown Newark, including the large
department stores, closed for the day.
According to a late afternoon report in the Newark Evening News
on May 8, the only remaining open places were drug and food stores,
Various Other V-E Day Business Closings
The Newark Chamber of Commerce asked stores to close, but many
stores not affiliated with the chamber closed voluntarily.
Banks in Newark and throughout the state remained open.
The Prudential Insurance Company, Newark's largest employer, had
closed the day earlier, when the peace agreement was signed, and
In many other downtown offices, many office workers left their
desks without sanction of employers, to join the celebrating crowds
down below on the streets.