The DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un and other senior officials attended the celebration, together with hundreds of foreign guests, ambassadors and representatives of DPRK nationals living overseas.
The absence of military might from the parade echoes actions taken by North Korea to reassure the U.S. that they are still working toward decnuclearizing the peninsula - an agreement Trump and Kim singed during June's summit in Singapore.
Armored personnel carriers, multiple rocket launchers and tanks followed, with biplanes flying overhead in a "70" formation.
According to South Korean President Moon Jae-in's national security chief Chung Eui-yong, Kim had said the withdrawal of US forces had "nothing to do with" the end-of-war declaration promoted by the Pyongyang regime. While his current focus is on worldwide diplomacy and domestic economic development, he commands both a nuclear arsenal and an intercontinental ballistic missile force.
The countries have traditionally close ties, though the absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping could indicate Beijing still has some reservations about Kim's initiatives.
North Korea celebrated its 70-year anniversary on Sunday with a show of its military strength but strayed from the traditional display of the country's intercontinental missiles.
"As long as the US military stays on this territory, the unhappiness, suffering and catastrophe of our people will never disappear, and unification will never be realized", the North Korea group said.
Diplomatic invitations for the anniversary went out around the world, but the only head of state who attended was Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz - although AFP spotted French actor Gerard Depardieu seated in a section below the main tribune.
"This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea. So I think it will be well received".
The parties are struggling to implement a 1-1/2 page document signed by Trump and Kim in June at the first-ever summit between sitting USA and North Korean leaders.
"Unification is the only way Koreans can survive."
The theme for the celebrations this year was unifying the Korean peninsula, divided since the 1950-53 Korean War.
During the parade, people waved balloons, flowers and flags as goose-stepping soldiers, tanks and floats passed by.
Kim will soon once again meet in Pyongyang with South Korean President Moon Jae In to discuss ways to break the impasse over his nuclear weapons. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter USA aggression and devote his resources to raising the nation's standard of living.
It also brought the mass games back after a five-year hiatus.
Washington is seeking the "final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea", while Pyongyang has only publicly affirmed its commitment to working towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, a euphemism open to interpretation on both sides. The games are a grand spectacle that features almost 20,000 people flipping placards in unison to create huge mosaics as thousands more perform gymnastics or dance in formation on the competition area of Pyongyang's 150,000-seat May Day Stadium.
The mass games performances are expected to continue for the next month or so, with tickets for foreigners starting at just over $100 and going up to more than $800 per seat.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even admitted Kim is still producing nuclear material, and his latest visit North Korea was cancelled by Trump citing "lack of progress".