Celebrating V-J Day

The surrender of Japan during World War II was announced on August 14, 1945, effectively ending the war, although the official Instrument of Surrender would not  be signed until September 2, 1945.  Germany had surrendered 3 months earlier on May 7, 1945.

  1. "American servicemen and women gather in front of ’Rainbow Corner’ Red Cross club in Paris to celebrate the unconditional surrender of the Japanese." August 15, 1945, McNulty, Photographer, (111-SC-210241)
  2. "Enlisted men aboard the U.S.S. Ticonderoga (CV-14) hear the news of Japan’s surrender.", 08/14/1945 
  3. New York City celebrating the surrender of Japan. They threw anything and kissed anybody in Times Square., 08/14/1945 
  4. V-J Day in New York City. Crowds gather in Times Square to celebrate the surrender of Japan., 08/15/1945
  5. GI’s at the Rainbow Corner Red Cross Club in Paris, France, whoop it up after buying the special edition of the Paris Post, which carried the banner headline, “JAPS QUIT.”

Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender at the end of World War II, accompanied by Toshikazu Kase (right)
The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was the written agreement that formalised the surrender of the Empire of Japan, marking the end of World War II. It was signed by representatives from the Empire of Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Provisional Government of the French Republic, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Dominion of New Zealand. The signing took place on the deck of USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

The date is sometimes known as Victory over Japan Day, although that designation more frequently refers to the date of Emperor Hirohito’s Gyokuon-hōsō (Imperial Rescript of Surrender), the radio broadcast announcement of the acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration at noon Japan Standard Time on August 15.

Today, 68 years ago Japan officially surrenders aboard USS Missouri.

 2nd September 1945. Tokyo Bay.

Douglas McArthur, supreme Allied commander for the Pacific arrived in Japan with his occupying army on 18th of August, with the formal signing of the “Instrument of Surrender” arranged for 2nd September aboard the battleship USS Missouri.

Now, after four years of bloodshed, the country had been forced into unconditional surrender by dropping two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs had brought the war to a close with horrific abruptness.

The surrender stated that Japan was no longer a sovereign state: its own administration was in the hands of an occupation government. This was mainly to comprise of American military officers, civil servants, with representatives from Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The overseas empire was to be broken up: The US was to have authority in several strategic Pacific island groups as well as supervising the government of South Korea. The Soviet Union was to keep its conquests in Manchuria, North Korea and the Kuril Islands. The Republic of China was to take Taiwan.  


Pictured above: Douglas MacArthur signs the document, on behalf of the Allies, marking Japan’s surrender.


Pictured above: Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (top hat) and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff (right) are to sign Japans surrender on-behalf of Emperor Hirohito.  

“We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering the insufferable.”

Emperor Hirohito, “Imperial Rescript on Surrender, 15th august 1945.

McArthurs forces brought in much needed food and medical supplies after the catastrophic damages caused in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and across Japan by the US and Allied armies.  

Refrences 1,2,3

On 8 May Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally. We were told this momentous news, but considering our own peril and misery, no one cared much. “So what” was typical of the remarks I heard around me. We were resigned only to the fact the Japanese would fight to total extinction on Okinawa, as they had elsewhere, and that Japan would have to be invaded with the same gruesome prospects. Nazi Germany might as well have been on the moon.

The main thing that impressed us about V-E Day was a terrific, thundering artillery and naval gunfire barrage that went swishing, roaring, and rumbling towards the Japanese. I thought it was in preparation for the next day’s attack. Years later I read that the barrage had been fired on enemy targets at noon for its destructive effect on them but also as a salute to V-E Day.

Surrender of Japan, 1945

Personnel at Naval Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina, celebrate news of Japan’s surrender, 14 August 1945.

This appears to be an operations office, with aircraft status board in background containing information on four identifiable individual planes: N2S-3 (Bureau # 07742), N2S-3 (Bureau # 07720), FM-1 (Bureau # 46901—may be an FM-2) and F4U-4 (Bureau # 82085)

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.