IT was a sombre appraisal, but the sense of relief was self-evident. “The war in Europe has ended at the last more suddenly than we sometimes dared to hope”, began the Glasgow Herald’s leading article on the morning of Tuesday, May 8, 1945.

“It has ended because Germany is utterly exhausted – beaten in the field, bankrupt in politics, besmirched in repute by Hitler’s lies and blunders, and the bestial cruelties of his system and its instruments. No Great Power had risen so rapidly, none has fallen so fast and so far since national consciousness awoke in Europe”.

Germany had fallen not simply because the “Nazi fruit was rotten at its core” but also because the Allies had been “steadfast in their belief and purpose to restore the liberty that the very creed of Nazi doctrine impelled the Third Reich to destroy”.

In such measured tones did the leading article reflect the mood of the nation.

The previous evening huge numbers of people had poured on to the streets of towns, villages and cities to begin their celebrations, prompted by a 9pm BBC announcement that hostilities were at an end.

Civilians and servicemen and women surged through the main streets of cites, cheering, singing, dancing, waving flags. In many places, Hitler was burnt in effigy.

On the Tuesday, Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed the nation at 3pm by radio, to say the war with Germany (“the evildoers who are now prostrate before us”) was finally at an end, but the fighting was not yet over.

“We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing”, said Mr Churchill, “but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.

“Japan with all her treachery and greed remains unsubdued. The injury she has inflicted on Great Britain, the United States, and other countries, and her destestable cruelties call for justice and retribution. We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task both at home and abroad”.

At 9pm King George VI took to the airwaves. “Germany, who drove all Europe into war,” he said, “has been finally overcome”, but “in the Far East we have yet to deal with the Japanese, a determined and cruel foe. To this we shall turn with the utmost resolve and with all our resources.

“But at this hour”, he continued, “when the dreadful shadow of war has passed far from our hearths and homes in these islands, we may at least make one pause for thanksgiving and then turn our thoughts to the tasks all over the world which peace in Europe brings with it”.

All that day, celebrations continued without cease.

In Glasgow, workers were not initially sure if their factories, shipyards and offices would be open or closed. Would there be a holiday to mark the end of the war?

The confusion meant the city’s trams, buses and Subway were not noticeably quieter than they would have been on a normal working day. But when the workers arrived, they found closed doors. The celebrations could begin. Across the city, bakers had worked until the small hours to ensure there would be enough bread to go around.

In articles, The Herald charted the course of Hitler’s war and the Allies’ magnificent response. Scotland’s impressive record in war production was also singled out for praise, from the iron and steel industry to the shipyards on the Clyde and on the east coast.

The war against Japan would rage for another three months. But May 1945 was an occasion for celebration, and sombre reflection, and for lamenting the colossal human and financial cost of the conflict.