VJ-Days

‘VJ-Days’

August 14th-September 9th, 1945

Contents

The End of the War against Japan

Early course of the war

The last days of the war

Okinawa

Casualties on Okinawa

Okinawa to Hiroshima

Potsdam Declaration 26th July

The Alliance, nuclear weapons and espionage

Motivation of the Spies

Japanese espionage

Potsdam Ultimatum 28th July

Hiroshima 6th August

Russia invades Manchuria 9th August

Nagasaki 9th August

The ‘Sacred Decision’ – 10th August

Premature Celebrations 10th August

Hirohito’s Radio Broadcast on August 14th/15th

VJ-Day August 14th/15th?

VJ Day 14th/15th in the USA

VJ Day for US Forces Overseas

14th/15th in Britain and the Commonwealth

Lend Lease Terminated

VJ Day around the Empire

Canada

Hong Kong

Singapore

Burma

Australia

New Zealand

India

In Indo-China

In Indonesia

In Russia

In China

In Japan

Lend Lease ended

2nd September: aboard the USS Missouri

9th September Peace in Manchuria

VJ Days since 1945

In Britain

In the USA

In China

In the Soviet Union

In South Korea

In Indonesia

In Indo-China

In Japan

In India

VJ-Day – Points of View

Bitter Memories

Condemnations of the bombing

Justifications of the Bombing

Bibliography

Bibliographical Note

Appendix I: Circumstances of Truman’s Announcement

FRESCIPLACT Analysis

 

Illustrations

Figure 1 The Japanese delegation waits on board USS Missouri to sign the Instrument of Surrender, September 2nd, 1945

Figure 2 The Start of World War II? Mukden Incident, September 1931

Figure 3: Tokyo firebombed, March, 1945

Figure 4: A kamikaze hits a U.S aircraft carrier

Figure 5: Nuclear Spies

Figure 6: Hiroshima from 10 km away

Figure 7: Victims of radiation poisoning after nuclear attack

Figure 8 Hirohito: ‘Supreme war-lord’

Figure 9: The VJ-Day Kiss in Times Square

Figure 10: VJ-Day in London

Figure 11: VJ-Day in Ottawa

Figure 12: Dutch cartoon of 1920s, showing the value they attached to their empire.

Figure 13: MacArthur reads the surrender terms

Figure 14 Churchill statue defaced, 6th June 2020

Figure 15 Vj-Day in Hereford, England

 

The End of the War against Japan

Early course of the war

The problem of writing about VJ Day is that to write about it is to write about the end of World War II, but when was that? To answer that is even more complex than asking when it began. Americans regard Japan’s (8,11) devastating surprise (8) aerial (8) attack on (8,11) the U.S. naval base at (8) Pearl Harbor (8,11) on Oahu, (8) Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, as the start of the war. (8,11) The British and French date it from 3rd September 1939, but the Japanese themselves would date it from 18th September 1931, when they invaded Manchuria. [from unpublished work in Manchuria by this author].

Mukden Incident
Figure 2 The Start of World War II? Mukden Incident, September 1931

Hitler then declared war on the United States, turning the war raging in Europe into a truly global conflict. (8) Because Pearl Harbor raised the possibility of a full-scale Japanese invasion of Australia, Australia withdrew its forces from the Middle East to guard against a Japanese attack. (19,32) Winston Churchill requested New Zealand to leave its forces in the Middle East, and NZ Prime Minister Peter Fraser agreed. (32) Superior technology and productivity allowed the Allies to wage an increasingly one-sided war against Japan in the Pacific, and by VE Day (May 1945) the Allies had the upper hand against Japan. (8)

 

The last days of the war

Despite the battle against the Nazis coming to an end, and Hitler dead, (7) Japan stood firm and war continued to rage on in the Pacific where Japan, a key German ally, fought off the advancing US army. (6,7) In February 1945, American forces suffered heavy losses during the invasion of Iwo Jima and other islands. (16) The US Navy proposed to force a Japanese surrender (8,17) 

Firebombed Tokyo
Figure 3: Tokyo firebombed, March, 1945

through a total naval blockade (17) and air raids. (8,17) By the time US air forces were based within range of the Japanese mainland: the modern B-29 bombers could operate at speeds and altitudes that made interception difficult and they could carry a weapons load that would cause great damage. (25) In 1945 the US forces employed incendiary weapons that wreaked havoc on Japanese cities that were particularly susceptible to fire. (25) By 1945, in an attempt to break Japanese resistance before a land invasion became necessary, (8) Japan was bombarded from air (8,16) suffering the all-out destructive power of strategic aerial bombardment by the US Army Air Corps (25) with some 100,000 tons of explosives dropped on more than 60 Japanese cities and towns between March and July 1945 alone. (8) Japanese industrial production plunged as nearly half of the built-up areas of 67 cities were destroyed by B-29 firebombing raids. (17) The Tokyo-Yokohama raid required hundreds of aircraft delivering thousands of incendiary bombs in wave upon wave in very particular weather conditions. (22) On 9th–10th March 1945 alone, about 100,000 people were killed in a conflagration caused by (17) this incendiary attack on Tokyo. (17,22) Records of the number of Japanese who died in these fire bomb raids are unreliable, but half a million is a reasonable mid-range estimate. (25) This destructive fire bombing campaign severely weakened Japanese industry and national morale. (25) In Operation Starvation, the inland waterways of Japan were extensively mined by air, which disrupted the small amount of remaining Japanese coastal sea traffic. (17)

Okinawa

Kamikaze
Figure 4: A kamikaze hits a U.S aircraft carrier

Between 1st (6) April (6,16) and 21st (6) [OR] 22nd (15) June, (6,15) the Battle of Okinawa was fought. (6,16) It was an island (6,16) of strategic importance (16) off the coast of Japan. (6,16) On June 9th the Japanese Premier Suzuki announced that Japan would fight to the very end rather than accept unconditional surrender, (15) but on June 18th Japanese resistance ended on Mindanao in the Philippines (15) and on June 22nd (15) [OR] 21st (6) Japanese resistance ended on Okinawa (6,15) as the U.S. Tenth Army completed its capture. (15) Faced with the loss of most of their experienced pilots, (17) the Japanese increased their use of suicidal ‘Kamikaze’ air attacks (16,17) in an attempt to create unacceptably high casualties for the Allies. (17)

Casualties on Okinawa

The price paid for Okinawa was dear. (1,18) This was due to the fact that the battle had been fought against a capably led Japanese army of greater strength than anticipated, over difficult terrain heavily and expertly fortified, and thousands of miles from home, (18) which continued to fight even when cut off, and without supplies. (17) The campaign had lasted considerably longer than was expected. (18) The final toll of American casualties was the highest experienced in any campaign against the Japanese. (18) The United States military suffered more than 85,000 [OR] 49,151 casualties during the battle, (1) of which 12,520 were killed or missing and 36,631 wounded’ (18) but the Americans had demonstrated again on Okinawa that they could, ultimately, wrest from the Japanese whatever ground they wanted. (18) The cost of the battle to the Japanese was even higher than to the Americans. (18) There were more than 140,000 (1) [OR] 110,000 (17,18) Japanese casualties. (6,17) During the battle for the island more than a quarter of the Okinawa civilian population died. (6) There were mass civilian suicides coordinated by the Imperial army, (6,52) whose soldiers told locals that victorious American soldiers would go on a rampage of killing and raping. (52)

Okinawa to Hiroshima

As soon as the fighting on Okinawa ended, American forces set themselves to preparing for the battles on the main islands of Japan, their thoughts sober as they remembered the bitter bloodshed behind and also envisioned an even more desperate struggle to come. (18) Many military historians believe that an important factor in the decision to use the nuclear bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki was that the Okinawa campaign had seen so many casualties which might be repeated in an invasion of the Japanese mainland. (17) The atomic bombs might force the Japanese to sue for peace unconditionally, without American casualties. (17) Japan had made efforts at developing a nuclear weapon but they were starved of resources. (43) The Japanese navy lost interest when a committee led by  (43) Professor (67) Yoshio (43) Nishina (43,67) concluded in 1943 that ‘it would probably be difficult even for the United States to realize the application of atomic power during the war’, (43) but on 16th July (15) the first Atomic Bomb was successfully tested in the U.S. (15,17)

Potsdam Declaration 26th July

The Potsdam Conference was held from 16th July to 2nd August 1945. (34) The President of the United States Harry S. Truman (7,8) the Chairman of the Nationalist Government of China Chiang Kai-shek, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin of Russia met to discuss the management of the end of the war. (34) Truman informed Stalin that the U.S. had a ‘powerful new weapon’. (43) He was surprised at Stalin’s lack of interest. (43) After the bombs were revealed by being dropped on Japan, Byron Price, Director of U.S. Censorship, declared in Washington that the long work on the atomic bomb was the best-kept single secret of the war. (58)  The truth was that Stalin was calm because the Russians had known about the bomb for nearly four years, (49) since September 1941, when a British spy, Maclean, told them about the project ‘Tube Alloys’ – the building of a uranium bomb. (49) Maclean had sent a sixty-page report with the official minutes of the British Cabinet meeting where this project was discussed. (49) Stalin’s calm demeanour at Potsdam hid his anger that the Americans had tried to keep the bomb to themselves. (22) It was a sign of what must have been obvious anyway, that the Second World War was merely the prologue to a further period of hostility between the capitalist and communists members of the alliance, which we call the Cold War. (22) United for the present, on July 26th, 1945, the Allies (3,6) (17) made the Potsdam Declaration which demanded (3,6) the unconditional surrender (7,8) of the armed forces (7) of Japan. (3,6) On that day, components of the Bomb ‘Little Boy’ were unloaded at Tinian Island in the South Pacific. (15)

The Alliance, nuclear weapons and espionage

Stalin knew about the bomb because many people in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada (41,43) who had knowledge of the ‘Manhattan Project to build an Atom Bomb (43) are known to have acted as spies for the Russians (41,43) They were all volunteers and none were Russian citizens. (43) Information poured into Russia from them about nuclear weapons production or design (41,43) known in Russian cables under the code-name of Enormoz (43) Exactly what information was given, and who among the spies gave what parts of it, are still matters of some scholarly dispute. (41,54) Apart from Burgess, already mentioned, one of the most valuable spies was Klaus Fuchs, a German émigré theoretical physicist who had been part of the early British nuclear efforts and the UK mission to Los Alamos. (43) Fuchs had been intimately involved in the development of the implosion weapon, and passed on detailed cross-sections of first experimental bomb to his Russian contacts. (43) Other Los Alamos spies—none of whom knew each other—included (43) Theodore Hall (41,43) and David Greenglass. (43) Theodore Hall had worked on the development of the Nagasaki plutonium bomb, and provided the Russians with its specifications. (41) This information allowed the Russian scientists a first-hand look at the atom bomb. (41) There were several British spies. (42,49) In 1934, Maclean had started work at the Foreign Office in London. (49) He was later posted to the British embassy in Paris and was here when war broke out. (49) He managed to get back to England aboard a royal Navy warship and continued to report to Moscow from London. (49)

Maclean Fuchs
Figure 5: Nuclear Spies

From 1944 to 1948 Maclean served as the Secretary to the British Embassy in Washington and the Secretary of the Combined Policy committee on Atomic Development. (49) By the time World War Two was underway, Maclean was climbing the ladder in the Foreign Office, Burgess was an intimate of prominent politicians, and Blunt was an officer in the Security Service – MI5. (50) Even more astoundingly, Philby was an officer in the SIS. (50) And all the while they were establishing themselves in these positions, these four men were reporting to Moscow. (50) It got better for the KGB. (50) Just before VJ-Day, Philby was appointed head of the SIS’s anti-Russian section, so that the man who was charged with running operations against the Russians, was a Russian agent! (50) Blunt, meanwhile, had been on the distribution list for material from the war’s most secret operation, Ultra, decoded German radio traffic. (50) Put together, the information coming from the spies should have been of inestimable value to Moscow. (50) But the KGB, in turn, was deceiving the Englishmen, because it really believed that they were playing a treble game and were all traitors to the Communist cause. (50)

Motivation of the Spies

Why had the spies acted as they did? (50) In the early 1930s, the democratic world appeared to be in trouble. (50) The Great Depression had caused widespread unemployment. (50) Fascism was on the march in Germany and Italy. (50) To many young students at Cambridge University, privileged though they were, this was worrying and unacceptable. (50) Burgess and three others, Philby, Maclean and Blunt, wanted to do something about it. (50) They believed that the democracies would prove too weak to stand up to Hitler and Mussolini, and they knew that many people in Britain did indeed admire these leaders. (50) They also thought that only the Russian Union would be powerful enough to defeat Fascism. (50) So, when they were approached by a recruiter from Moscow, the four men agreed to spy for the Russians. (50) Another spy, the communist Melita Norwood, who gained no material benefits from her spying activities, said ‘I did what I did, not to make money, but to help prevent the defeat of (communism) which had, at great cost, given ordinary people food and fares which they could afford, a good education and a health service’. (42) The KGB believed that sometime in the future these young men would be among Britain’s rulers and well placed to betray their country’s secrets, and so it proved. (50) Based on what Burgess had told them, the Russian nuclear physicist Igor Kurchatov was already carefully watching the Allied weapons development. (43) Responding to the information received from spies, the Russians urgently undertook their own atomic program. (43) [OR] The information was kept but not acted upon, as the Russian Union was still too busy fighting the war in Europe to devote resources to this new project. (43)

Japanese espionage

The Japanese had well informed spies, too. (58) The night the first B-29’s landed in India in 1944, American field personnel rubbed their hands and whispered, “Wait until the Japs see these babies. Will they be surprised!” But it was the Americans who were surprised. (58) For the next night Tokyo radio not only flaunted the number of the hitherto highly-secret Superfortresses that had arrived, but also boastfully broadcast the numerals on their tails. (58) In another case, amazed G.I.’s at an India installation returned from a dance in time to hear the Japanese radio tell their names and the names of their dancing partners. (58)

Potsdam Ultimatum 28th July

On 28th July the Allies delivered Japan an ultimatum to surrender. (9) Japan was offered a choice. (3,6) If it did surrender, the Allies promised that there would be peace and freedom for its people in the future; (3) and a peaceful government according to ‘the freely expressed will of the Japanese people. (8) If not they would suffer ‘prompt and (6,7) utter destruction’. (3,6) The Japanese continued to wait for the Russian response, and avoided responding to the declaration (34) until 29th July (6) when they (8) formally (6) rejected the Postdam Declaration (6,7) and refused to surrender. (3,6) Japanese soldiers and civilians were preparing for a last-ditch defence of their mainland. (26) On that day, too, a Japanese submarine sank the American cruiser Indianapolis resulting in the loss of 881 crewmen. (15) The ship sank before a radio message could be sent out, leaving survivors adrift for two days. (15)

Hiroshima 6th August

Since the Japanese had not surrendered, (3) the weapons of mass destruction backed up the threat. (7) On the 6th of August 1945 (1,3) the first nuclear attack in history took place (17) when an American B29 bomber plane, called ‘Enola Gay’, (3,8) flown by Col. Paul Tibbets. (15) dropped a (1,3) devastating (5) atomic bomb (1,3) ‘Little Boy’ (1,6) on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. (1,3) In a split second 100,000 (22) [OR] over 70,000 people. (3) Tens of thousands of people (16) ceased to exist. (22) It had a terrible effect almost wiping out the entire city, (3) destroying a 5-square-mile expanse of it. (8) In a press release issued after the bombing, President Truman warned Japan to surrender or ‘expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.’ (17)

Russia invades Manchuria 9th August

A few hours before the Atom bomb fell on Nagasaki the Russians attacked the Japanese army in Manchuria. (7,17) At the Tehran Conference in November 1943 (34) and at the Yalta Conference, (17) in February 1945 (34) Joseph Stalin, leader of the Russian Union, had made a promise to British and American leaders (7,17) to join the war against Japan (7,9) within three months (34) [OR] 90 days (17) after the war ended in Europe. (7,17) This would break the Russo–Japanese Neutrality Agreement of April 1941. (7,34) After the German defeat the Japanese tried to get the Russians to extend the Neutrality Pact, and to enlist the Russians in negotiating peace with the Allies. (34)

Hiroshima_10km
Figure 6: Hiroshima from 10 km away

The Russians did nothing to discourage these Japanese hopes, and drew the process out as long as possible (whilst continuing to prepare their invasion forces). (34) In late June 1945 the Japanese approached the Russians (the Neutrality Pact was still in place), inviting them to negotiate peace with the Allies in support of Japan, providing them with specific proposals and offering them attractive territorial concessions in return. (34) Stalin expressed interest, and the Japanese awaited the Russian response. (34) The Russians continued to avoid providing a response. (34) On 24th July Russia recalled all embassy staff and families from Japan. (34) This and increased traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway traffic led the Japanese to suspect that the Russians intended to attack Manchuria, but they did not think an attack was likely before Spring 1946. (34) The truth was that the Russians were planning to attack in August 1945, and had concealed the build-up of a force of 90 divisions. (34) Many had crossed Siberia in their vehicles to avoid straining the rail link. (34) The Japanese had withdrawn their best troops to fight the Americans in the Pacific. (34) So it was difficult for them, just a few hours after the Hiroshima bomb, to find themselves attacked in Manchuria. (17,33) Manchuria is the size of Western Europe, but the Russians had learned about wars of movement against the Germans. (34) The Russian force (7,17) was a massive battle-hardened, one million-strong army, and (17) it landed a heavy blow against the Japanese. (13,33) The Japanese were caught completely by surprise when the Russians invaded simultaneously on three fronts just after midnight on 9th August. (34) It was a classic double pincer movement. (34)

Nagasaki 9th August

On August 9th, (5,8) the same day as the Russian invasion of Manchuria, (55) the United States dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. (1,3) It was called ‘Fat Man’ (1,6) and was dropped from a B-29 (15,22) 

Horishima casualties
Figure 7: Victims of radiation poisoning after nuclear attack

flown by Major Charles Sweeney. (15) This was the last nuclear attack in history. (17) It killed a further 40,000 people. (3,8) The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (11,16) required just two aircraft and two bombs, a quantum leap in destructive capacity. (22) They led to (11,16) at least 120,000 (16) [OR] more than 200,000 (11) [OR] between 140,000–240,000 (17) casualties. (11,16) Unlike in conventional raids, about 100,000 of those people who had apparently survived in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in fact (22) suffered radiation poisoning as a result (16,22) of the bombs, and thus were condemned to a painful and lingering death. (22) The first Americans to reach Hiroshima and Nagasaki – servicemen, scientists and journalists – described in great detail the apocalyptic scenes they encountered. (22) They saw a grey, blasted landscape, in which thousands of hideously burnt people were huddled in shanties, coughing up and urinating blood, with their hair falling out in clumps, waiting to die. (22)

The ‘Sacred Decision’ – 10th August

hirohito
Figure 8 Hirohito: ‘Supreme war-lord’

The effects of the ‘Twin Shocks’—the Russian entry and the atomic bombings—were profound. (17) They made the surrender inevitable. (5,7) Early (10) on the 10th August, (8,10) the ‘Sacred Decision’ was made by the Japanese Cabinet (7) [OR] by Emperor Hirohito (3,15) (posthumously called Emperor Showa), and the Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki to seek an immediate peace with the Allies (15) and accept the Potsdam declaration, (8,10) on one condition: the ‘prerogative of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler’. (17) The Japanese government issued a statement (8,10) over Radio Tokyo (10) accepting the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. (8,10) The Japanese had effectively surrendered,  but the war in Manchuria went on. (13,33) 

Premature Celebrations 10th August

While the fighting in Manchuria continued (13,33) the news of the Japanese peace offer began early celebrations around the world. (10) Life magazine said that Americans began celebrating ‘as if joy had been rationed and saved up for the three years, eight months and seven days since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (10) The average Joe or Jane was spontaneously overcome with joy and emotion on the day of declared victory’. (11) When asked to confirm that the war was indeed over an American officer in Kunming said “Hell, yes, it’s true. The Red Cross girl inside just told me.” (58) The news was received aboard a B-24 flying into China: Capt. Vincent (Mike) Ring, the pilot, described the reception his crew gave the news while cruising at 16,000 feet. (58) “All of us started hollering and pounding one another on the back,” he said. (58)  The largest crowd in the history of New York City’s Times Square gathered to celebrate. (10) In Washington, D.C. a crowd attempted to break into the White House grounds as they shouted ‘We want Harry!’ (10) [OR] “We want Truman!” (58) In San Francisco two women jumped naked into a pond at the Civic Center to soldiers’ cheers. (10) Allied soldiers in London danced in a conga line on Regent Street. (10) Americans and Frenchmen in Paris paraded on the Champs-Élysées singing ‘Don’t Fence Me In’. (10) Not everything was harmless fun. (10,11) For example, in San Francisco several thousands of drunken people embarked on ‘a three-night orgy of vandalism, looting, assault, robbery, rape and murder’ and ‘the deadliest riots in the city’s history’, with more than 1,000 people injured, 13 killed, and at least six women raped. (10) By contrast in New York “People were emotionally stimulated, but well behaved. I didn’t see a single instance where a policeman had to step in and assert the majesty of the law. (58)

Hirohito’s Radio Broadcast on August 14th/15th

The world knew that the Japanese had surrendered, but the Japanese people did not. (3,8) Telling a people for whom surrender was unthinkable that they must surrender was a delicate matter. (36) Emperor Hirohito shouldered the responsibility of telling his people that they must ‘endure the unedurable’. (36) After several days of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a failed coup d’état, (36) he delivered a (3,8) recorded (36) radio address (3,8) at noon (17) a little after noon (8,10) Japan Standard Time on (10) August 15th (8,10) (August 14th (3,8) in the United States). (8) The broadcast is called the Jewel Voice Broadcast (36) In the address he announced the surrender of Japan to the Allies, (10,36) and told his people to accept the surrender. (3,7) He talked about the ‘new and most cruel bomb’ that had been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (3,8) He said: ‘Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but would lead also to the total extinction of human civilisation.’ (3,8) The total extinction of human civilisation’ repeated the phrase of the Potstdam Declaration. (3) The Japanese formally surrendered to the Allies on August 15th. (1,6) This was a particularly important day as it meant that World War II was now (3,6) effectively (5,6) [OR] finally over, (3) [OR] the fighting in Manchuria continued unabated. (13,33)

VJ-Day August 14th/15th?

‘VJ Day’ is also known as (1,2) Victory over Japan Day in Britain (2) and ‘Victory in the Pacific Day’ and ‘VP Day’, (1,6) is a holiday that commemorates (1,2) the surrender of (1,5) the Empire of (6,7) Japan (1,5) and the end of the war. (1,2) It was the date when the announcement of the surrender was made on the afternoon of August 15th, 1945 (6,10) in Japan (10) and due to time zone difference on August 14th, 1945, (6,10) when it was announced in the United States and the rest of the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands. (10) [OR] The proclamation of V-J Day would have to wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan. (10) Many papers throughout the world declared August 14th/15th to be ‘V-P Day’ (Victory in the Pacific) or ‘V-J Day.’ (6) See Appendix I

VJ Day 14th/15th in the USA

In the newspapers across the world that day, there were hundreds of photos of soldiers and civilians rejoicing together. (5) On 14th August (3,10) at 1900hrs (4,10) (daylight time in Washington, D.C.) on the next day, the 15th of August 1945. (3) President (2,4) Harry S. (4,17) Truman broke the good news of the surrender (2,4) at a press conference at the White House. (3,4) Later, (4) in an address to a crowd that had gathered outside the White House (3,4) President Truman announced the communication from Japan (10) and said: (4) ‘This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. (3,4) This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would.’ (3,8) The Japanese Government had agreed to comply in full with the Potsdam declaration which demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan. (4,9) Supreme Commander General Douglas MacArthur would receive the official Japanese surrender, arrangements for which were under way. (4) The President warned that the task of creating a lasting peace still lay ahead, (4) and declared September 2nd (2,3) [OR] 15th August (4) as the official ‘VJ Day’ in 1945. (2,3) The end of war was to be marked by a two-day holiday in the UK, the USA and Australia. (4,9) Nearly six years of war had ended, and (3,4) the streets of the main cities came alive as crowds gathered. (3,5) across America. (3,4) Images from V-J Day celebrations around the United States and the world reflected the overwhelming sense of relief and exhilaration felt by citizens of Allied nations at the end of the long and bloody conflict. (8) The victory itself was announced by a headline on the ‘zipper’ news ticker at One Times Square, which read ‘*** OFFICIAL TRUMAN ANNOUNCES JAPANESE SURRENDER ***’; the six asterisks represented the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. (10) In the Garment District, workers threw out cloth scraps and ticker tape, leaving a pile five inches deep on the streets. (10) The news of the war’s end sparked a ‘coast-to-coast frenzy of [servicemen] kissing … everyone in skirts that happened along,’ with (10) LIFE magazine publishing photographs of such kisses (5,8) in Washington, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Miami. (10) One of the most famous photographs in the 20th Century symbolizes the joyous atmosphere of street celebrations throughout the United States when President Truman announced Japan’s surrender in 1945. (5) It is actually two very similar photographs taken of the same couple by two different photographers who had their work published in two different national periodicals. (11)

VJDayKiss
Figure 9: The VJ-Day Kiss in Times Square

One was printed in the New York Times and credited to Navy photog Victor Jorgensen, and the other (11) by Alfred Eisenstaedt, published in LIFE magazine. (5,8) It features a (5,8) uniformed (8) sailor (5,8) presumably returning home from the war and (5) passionately (8) kissing a woman (6,8) Navy (11) nurse (8,11) at Times Square in New York (5,8) on August 14th, 1945. (5) Since then, many men and women (5,11) about 11 men and three women (5) have all claimed to be one of the two people in that photo, (5,11) to varying degrees of plausibility. (11)

VJ Day for US Forces Overseas

As soon as the news of peace arrived on Okinawa, American soldiers (10,58) of Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell’s U.S. 10th Army (58) ‘took every weapon within reach and started firing into the sky’ to celebrate; ships sounded general quarters (10) and fired (10,58) mortars (58) and anti-aircraft guns (10,58) as their crews believed that a kamikaze attack was occurring. (10) Six men were killed and dozens were wounded (10,28) by falling anti-aircraft shells. (58) On September 3rd (15) the Japanese (15,16) commander in the Philippines, Gen. Yamashita, (15) surrendered (15,16) to General Wainwright at Baguio. (15) In Manila, residents sang ‘God Bless America’. (10) In the Philippines overtures were reported from two Jap generals on Luzon. (58) Enemy officers had appeared with white flags at Australian Headquarters on Bougainville, but no contact was reported by the Aussies on New Britain. (58) In New Guinea the Japanese were reported to have accepted the surrender terms. (58) American reconnaissance planes were twice fired on over Tokyo. (58) On the 4th the Japanese troops on Wake Island surrendered. (15) The US Army announced that it would not send all the G.I.s home immediately in case some Japanese troops refused to comply with the surrender order. (58) This proved a sensible decision, as it was nearly twenty years before the last Japanese soldier surrendered. (60)

14th/15th in Britain and the Commonwealth

While the fighting in Manchuria continued (13,33) VJ-Day was also being celebrated in Allied countries. (3,4) In Britain it is officially recognized (1,2) on August 15th (1,6) the date the surrender of Japanese forces was announced (6,7) in the United Kingdom. (1,2) The official name was ‘Victory over (2,3) [OR] in (4) Japan Day (2,3) and ‘V-J Day’. (2,6) V-J day was selected for the name of the celebration, or date, after naming V-E day for victory in Europe earlier that year on May 8th, 1945. (6) At midnight on 14th August, the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee confirmed the news in a broadcast saying, ‘The last of our enemies is laid low.’ (4) He expressed gratitude to Britain’s allies, (4) in the ‘jolly old empire’ (30) Dominions of Australia and New Zealand, India, Burma, all countries occupied by Japan and to the USSR. (4) But special thanks went to the United States ‘without whose prodigious efforts the war in the East would still have many years to run’. (4)

VJ-Day-London
Figure 10: VJ-Day in London

The 15th coincided with the state opening of Parliament which, combined with VJ-Day took on an air of a victory parade. (4) Thousands braved the rain to watch King George VI and the queen driven down the Mall in an open carriage. (4) Later that night, the King addressed the nation and the Empire in broadcast from his study at Buckingham Palace at 2100. (4)

‘Our hearts are full to overflowing, as are your own. Yet there is not one of us who has experienced this terrible war who does not realise that we shall feel its inevitable consequences long after we have all forgotten our rejoicings today.’ (4) 

The Royal Family greeted cheering crowds from the Palace balcony. (4) There was a two-day holiday (4) Historic buildings all over London were floodlit and throngs of people crowded onto the streets of every town and city shouting, (4) singing, dancing, lighting bonfires and letting off fireworks. (3,4) 

Lend Lease Terminated

But in spite of its ‘prodigious efforts’ as our ally, (4) the United States was resuming aspects of its pre-war anti-imperialist, isolationist mood. (30) Six days after VJ day, and 13 days before the signing of the surrender document on board the USS Missouri, on the 21st of August, the economic support supplied to Britain by the USA under the Lease Lend scheme was terminated, plunging the new British Labour government into confusion and alarm. (30)

VJ Day around the Empire

While the fighting in Manchuria continued, (13,33) VJ Day was being celebrated around the Empire (now, since 1931, the ‘Commonwealth’) (15)

Canada

The surrender gave Canadians an overwhelming sense of relief. (63) As they had on Victory in Europe Day, Canadians took to the streets to celebrate the defeat of Japan, and what would be the start of the return of soldiers, sailors and airmen deployed across the globe. (63)

VJ_Day_Ottawa_1945
Figure 11: VJ-Day in Ottawa

Canadians came out of their homes and offices, filled the streets, rang bells and embraced one another, sharing their relief and joy. (63) In cities with large Chinese populations such as Montréal, celebrations exploded with particular exuberance — much of China having been under Japanese occupation since before the war. (63)  Some of the revelry devolved into looting and rioting. (63) In Sudbury, Ontario, mobs smashed windows and looted goods from storefronts, causing $40,000 in damage to downtown Sudbury, according to the Sudbury Star. (63) Newspapers in British Columbia also reported similar disturbances. (63) In Victoria, police were used to disperse crowds breaking windows. (63)  Halifax had been the scene of shocking riots on VE-Day. (63) On VJ-Day things were kept under control in the city — with its large numbers of Navy personnel — thanks to a strong police presence and the guarding of liquor stores. (63)

 

Hong Kong

A little late, on August 30th (15) the British Royal Navy arrived (15,20) and reoccupied Hong Kong. (15) Britain re-established civil government (37,40) over the battered colony, (40) which resumed its status as a British dependency. (11,15) Hundreds of thousands of former residents returned, to be joined over next few years by refugees fleeing the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists in China. (37)

Singapore

British forces had planned to liberate Singapore in 1945; however, the war ended before these operations could be carried out. (36,53) After the Japanese surrendered, there was a state of instability in Singapore, as the British had not yet arrived to take control. (36) The Japanese occupiers had a considerably weakened hold over the populace. (36) There were widespread incidents of looting and revenge-killing. (36) Much of the infrastructure had been wrecked, including the harbour facilities and electricity, water supply and telephone services. (36) Singapore was subsequently re-occupied (15,36) on September (15,53) 5th (15) by British, Indian, and Australian forces following the Japanese surrender in September. (36,53) When British troops finally arrived, they were met with cheering and fanfare. (36)

Burma

In Burma an Indian revolutionary, Rash Behari Bose, had recruited about 30,000 Indian soldiers taken prisoner at Singapore to fight the British (53) but on September 13th the Japanese in Burma surrendered. (15)

Australia

Australians had been at war since 1939, fighting for Britain in North Africa. (25) Pearl Harbor changed things. (25) Australian forces were withdrawn from Egypt, and after the Netherlands East Indies and Malaysia had been occupied and the Americans had evacuated The Philippines, Australia faced imminent and overwhelming threat. (25) After 1941 and 1942 Britain could do little to help Australia because of its own threatened situation and remote location. (25) Australia began to rely more on its alliance with the United States. (25) On August 15th, (19,20) [OR] August 14th (10) Japan surrendered. (19,20) While the fighting in Manchuria continued, (13,33) Thursday 16th August was celebrated as ‘Victory in the Pacific’ or ‘VP Day’. (20,26) Australia erupted in (19,20) spontaneous (20) celebrations on the streets as news broke that the long-gone troops would return home. (19,20) Authorities were concerned that celebrations not get out of hand, and pubs were closed on the holiday, as they had been on VE Day. (26) However, joy still managed to break out. (26) Crowds gathered and (26) there was dancing in the streets (25,26) as Australians celebrated victory and hence the end of the war that had threatened the very existence of the nation. (25) Strangers danced together. (26) Melbourne’s Chinese community called it ‘VC Day’ for ‘Victory in China’ and set off fireworks. (26) Australian sailors joined in helping them parade a ceremonial dragon. (26) Lois Anne Martin knitted a red, white and blue vest especially for VP Day and never wore it again. (20) In Australia, the name V-P Day was used from the outset, (6,10) it is also referred to as VJ (Victory over Japan) Day. (20) The Canberra Times of, 1945, refers to V-P Day celebrations, and (10) a public holiday for V-P Day was gazetted by the government in that year according to the Australian War Memorial. (10,20) The name ‘VP Day’ emphasized the end of war in the Pacific Theatre rather than victory over the Japanese (6) although there was not much sympathy for Japanese at the time, even though the horrors that had been inflicted on prisoners of war and citizens of occupied nations were only just being revealed. (25) Australia became a champion of liberating people from colonial oppression under the Pacific orientated government. (25) Before the fighting in Manchuria was over, an expression of Australia’s distaste for imperialism would be seen in its support for the Sukarno independence movement against the Dutch in Indonesia. (27)

New Zealand

At the beginning of the war the New Zealand Prime Minister Michael Savage had nailed the country’s colours to the mast: of Britain he said ‘where she goes, we go, where she stands, we stand’. (28) Even after particularly serious New Zealand losses in the Greek campaign in 1941, and much worse, Pearl Harbor, Prime Minister Peter Fraser weighed up public opinions against the strategic arguments involved and eventually opted to leave New Zealand’s Expeditionary Force in Europe. (32) A sign of the weakening of the bonds of empire was in 1945 when Peter Fraser, who had wanted to contribute to a Commonwealth force against Japan, (19,31) accepted, just before the atom bombing, an opposition proposal to reduce the total armed forces to 55,000. (31) On hearing the news of the Japanese surrender, sirens immediately sounded. (21) While the fighting in Manchuria continued, (13,33) a national ceremony was held. (21) There were two days’ of public holiday, with parades, bands playing, thanksgiving services, bonfires, dances and community sports. (21) Once more the beer flowed, and there were streamers, whistles and dancing in the streets. (21) There were also some revealing differences. (21) In Auckland, the city went out to enjoy itself: at first it was simply people drinking, dancing and scattering confetti. (21) Then some rowdy people began throwing bottles. (21) Windows were smashed, and people were hurt. (21) By the evening, 51 people had been taken to hospital and 15 tons of glass lay in the roads. (21) New Zealanders were enthusiastic about peace on VJ Day, (20,21) but, by comparison with VE Day, the unity of war had begun to weaken and was being replaced by some of the social conflicts of peace. (21) Everywhere it was noted that people in uniform attracted less adoration than in May. (21)

India

Although 2.7 million Indians volunteered to fight for the Raj in World War II and won 32 Victoria Crosses (59) the independence movement also existed. (59) Claiming that the British presence in India was a provocation to the Japanese, Gandhi called on the British to “quit India” and to leave Indians to deal with the Japanese by nonviolent means, but Gandhi and all members of the Congress Party high command were arrested before the dawn of that movement in August 1942. (59) In a few months at least 60,000 Indians filled British prison cells, and the raj unleashed massive force against Indian underground efforts to disrupt rail transport and to generally subvert the war effort that followed the crackdown on the Quit India campaign. (59) Parts of the United Provinces, Bihar, the North-West Frontier, and Bengal were bombed and strafed by British pilots as the raj resolved to crush all Indian resistance and violent opposition as swiftly as possible. (59) Thousands of Indians were killed and wounded, but wartime resistance continued as more young Indians, women as well as men, were recruited into the Congress’s underground. (59) The British raj remained firm despite growing Indian opposition, both violent and nonviolent. (59) Indian industry grew rapidly, moreover, during World War II. (59) Electric power output doubled, and the Tata steel plant at Jamshedpur became the British Empire’s foremost by the war’s end. Indian shipyards and light-manufacturing plants flourished in Bombay, as well as in Bengal and Orissa. (59) On the other hand no progress was made in several of the Congress Party’s attempts to resolve Hindu-Muslim differences through talks between Gandhi and Jinnah. (59) Soon after the war’s end in Europe, Wavell convened a political conference in Simla in late June 1945, but the Simla talks collapsed in midsummer. (59) Churchill’s Conservative Party government was voted out of power by the Labour Party’s sweep of British polls, and the new prime minister, Clement Attlee, appointed one of Gandhi’s old admirers, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, to head the India Office. (59) On VJ-Day there was no official recognition of surrender at Delhi. (58)

In Indo-China

Roosevelt had been opposed to restoring the French colonial rule in Indochina. (61) On 28th May U.S.General Wedemeyer in China complained of a “British and French plan to reestablish their pre-war political and economic positions in Southeast Asia” and said they were using American supplies to “invade Indochina…and re-establish French imperialism”. (61) In the response from Washington, Wedemeyer was informed that the U.S. now “welcomes French participation in the Pacific War.” (61) On 2nd June The U.S. Secretary of State sent a report to President Truman stating that “the United States recognizes French sovereignty over Indochina.” Thus, the U.S. had reversed Roosevelt’s opposition to supporting the French in their efforts to regain control of Indochina. (61) On 16th July three U.S. soldiers from the OSS led by Colonel Allison Thomas parachuted into the Việt Minh’s base camp in northern Vietnam. (61) They were cordially greeted. (61) Thomas said “The Việt Minh league is not Communist, it stands for freedom and reforms against French harshness.” (61) When the news of the Japanese surrender arrived, the August Revolution broke out on 17th August. (61) The National Congress of the Việt Minh declared a general uprising to take political power in Vietnam. (61) Ho Chi Minh was elected to preside over the National Liberation Committee. (61)

In Indonesia

Dutch imperialism
Figure 12: Dutch cartoon of 1920s, showing the value they attached to their empire.

The end of the war meant the final loss of the Dutch East Indies, (27) as the independent nation of Indonesia emerged from the war. (25,27) Before the war ended the Japanese had already begun independence negotiations with Indonesian nationalists such as Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, and Indonesian forces had taken control of sizable portions of Sumatra and Java. (27) Only two days (25) after the Japanese surrendered, (25,27) to British forces, (30) at 10 am on 17th August, (57) Indonesian nationalists (25,27) Sukarno  (25,57) and Hatta (57) declared the independence of the Republic of Indonesia (25,57) in front of a crowd of 500 people (57) in Jakarta. (25,27) 

In Russia

None of the various VJ-Days’ or ‘VP-Days’ mentioned up to now applied in Russia, because the fighting in Manchuria was continuing. (13,33). Moscow newspapers briefly reported on the atomic bombings with no commentary of any kind. (10) While ‘Russians and foreigners alike could hardly talk about anything else’, the Russian government refused to make any statements on the bombs’ implication for politics or science. (10)

In China

The war in China, a three-way struggle between the Japanese, the Nationalists and the Communists, was in progress when the atom bombs were dropped. (34) A Nationalist offensive to retake the last major Japanese stronghold in Guangxi province had been successful, and plans were being made to mop up the remaining scattered Japanese troops in the vicinity of Shanghai and the east coast. (34) At the news of the Japanese surrender, (10,24) Chinese people fired firecrackers (10,58) in Chungking,(10) and Kunming (58) and ‘almost buried [Americans] in gratitude’. (10) Roman candles arched fiery balls into the night. (58) Long queues of men, women and children filed through the streets, laughing and shouting the good tidings. (58) News bulletins printed on brown rice paper were pasted in shop windows and on walls, and Chinese clustered about, reading the big red characters over and over. (58) The Nationalist Government of the Republic of China announced a three-day holiday to celebrate V-J Day, to commence on September 3rd. (6) But there was not peace: following the defeat of Japan in 1945, the war between the Nationalist government forces and the Communists resumed, after failed attempts at reconciliation and a negotiated settlement. (14,24) The U.S. continued their military assistance to Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT government forces (13,24) who were still fighting against the Communists led by Mao Zedong during the civil war. (13) Under the terms of the surrender which the Japanese had signed, Japanese troops in China were supposed to surrender to the KMT, (33) but Chiang’s Chongqing government was ill-equipped and ill-prepared to reassert its authority in formerly Japanese-occupied China, (24) so Chiang Kai-shek (24,33) ordered (33) [OR] asked (24) the Japanese troops (33) to remain at their post to receive the Kuomintang and (33) not surrender their arms to the Communists. (24,33) For over a year after the Japanese surrender, rumours circulated throughout China that the Japanese had entered into a secret agreement with Chiang, in which the Japanese would assist the Nationalists in fighting the Communists in exchange for the protection of Japanese persons and property there. (24) Many top nationalist generals, including Chiang, had studied and trained in Japan before the Nationalists had returned to the mainland in the 1920s, and maintained close personal friendships with top Japanese officers. (24) The Japanese general in charge of all forces in China, General Yasuji Okamura, had personally trained officers who later became generals in Chiang’s staff. (24) Reportedly, General Okamura, before surrendering command of all Japanese military forces in Nanjing, offered Chiang control of all 1.5 million Japanese military and civilian support staff then present in China. (24) Reportedly, Chiang seriously considered accepting this offer, but declined only in the knowledge that the United States would certainly be outraged by the gesture. (24) Even so, armed Japanese troops remained in China well into 1947, with some non-commissioned officers finding their way into the Nationalist officer corps. (24) That the Japanese in China came to regard Chiang as a magnanimous figure to whom many Japanese owed their lives and livelihoods was a fact attested by both Nationalist and Communist sources. (24)

In Japan

There were no celebrations in Japan on the first VJ Day. (4,11) For a start the war against Russia was still in furious motion. (34) Under the Potsdam formula Japan had to surrender Manchuria, Korea, Kwangtung Peninsula, southern half of Sakhalin island, Formosa, the Pescadores group of islands between China and Formosa, the Ryuyku Islands, the Marshall, Caroline, Marianas and Palau Islands and the Sprately (sic) Islands. (58) In addition she was to forfeit all her Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere, withdrawing from Malaysia, Burma, Dutch East Indies, Borneo, Indo-China, Thailand and China. (58) American forces were told that the Tokyo newspaper Asahi had spoken of unrest, fear and despair throughout the enemy homeland, (58) and in the days following the Japanese surrender, scores of Japanese soldiers did indeed take their own lives, unable to live with the shame of being beaten in war; nearly 100 American prisoners in Japanese custody were murdered outright. (11)

Lend Lease ended

The United States was in potentially isolationist mood. (30) It was determined on escaping from the shackles of its wartime alliances and on reconstructing its own, independent foreign policy on the basis of political nonalignment and economic liberalisation. (30) We have mentioned the reluctance of the Americans to share their nuclear secrets with their Communist Russian ‘allies’; (30) there were also many Americans who disapproved of financing the imperialism of their British ‘allies’ especially since  Britain had elected a socialist government barely three weeks before. (56). Between the two main VJ-Days (14th August and 2nd September) on the 21st of August 1945, this new mood was signalled by the ending of the Lease Lend aid which had kept Britain financially afloat since 1941. (57) It was just six days after the first VJ-day. (30) Historian Alan Sked commented that, “the U.S. didn’t seem to realize that Britain was bankrupt”. (57)

2nd September: aboard the USS Missouri

The official end of the war did not occur until (5,9) 

MacArthur 1
Figure 13: MacArthur reads the surrender terms

the Japanese administration signed a document on (9) September 2nd, 1945. (1,5) American troops were informed that ‘only a technical state of truce’ existed before the signing of an official document. (58) Many papers throughout the world declared the date to be ‘V-P Day’ (Victory in the Pacific) or ‘V-J Day.’ (6) Allied supreme commander (8,17) General Douglas MacArthur (5,8) accepted the Japanese surrender from (5,8) a Japanese delegation led by (17) the Japanese foreign minister, (8) Mamoru Shigemitsu, (8,17) and the chiefs of staff of the Japanese army, (8) Generals (5) Yoshijiro Umezu (5,8) and Koiso Kuniaki (9) who signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender (1,7) [OR] The Japanese Emperor Hirohito, signed the Potsdam Declaration (11) aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, (1,5) in the presence of representatives of several Allied nations, (17) as 1,000 carrier-based planes flew overhead. (15) American troops were told that these planes were carrying additional atom bombs in case the Japanese attempted to re-start the war. (58) Both 15th August and 2nd September are known as VJ Day, (9) although the fighting in Manchuria continued; (13,33) Japan and Russia did not make peace till 1956. (10) [OR] Russia signed on the USS Missouri on 2nd September. (16)

9th September Peace in Manchuria

A week later, the Manchurian campaign ended. (17) After the first week of fighting, during which time Russian forces had penetrated deep into Manchukuo, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito had broadcast his surrender message on the radio to the Japanese nation on 15th August; but in Manchuria, as in Japan itself, the tortuous, ancient form of Japanese used by the Emperor had left listeners unsure if Japan had surrendered or not. (34) The Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters did not immediately communicate the cease-fire order to the Kwantung Army, and many elements of the army either did not understand it, or ignored it. (34) Hence, pockets of fierce resistance from the Kwantung Army continued, and the Russians continued their advance, largely avoiding the pockets of resistance, reaching Mukden, Changchun, and Qiqihar by 20th August. (34) On August 16th, the Russians found and freed the U.S. General Wainwright, (15) who had surrendered Corregidor. (58) He had last been heard of in Mukden, Manchuria, (58) and had been a POW since May 6th, 1942. (15) On 22nd August Henry Pu Yi, the last Emperor of Imperial China (the subject of the film ‘The Last Emperor’, but latterly the puppet ruler of Japanese Manchuria) was captured by Russian forces in Manchuria. (Wik 1945) As on Okinawa, Japanese civilians committed mass suicide as the enemy approached. (34) Mothers were forced by Japanese soldiers to kill their own children before killing or being killed themselves. (34) The Japanese army often took part in the killings of its civilians. (34) Wounded Japanese soldiers who were incapable of moving on their own were often left to die as the army retreated. (34) The commander of the 5th Japanese Army, General Shimizu, commented that ‘each nation lives and dies by its own laws.’ (34) Two VJ Days had come and gone, and in just three weeks the Japanese army in Manchuria had been destroyed. (17) The USSR was in possession of all of Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and north Korea. (17) This mention of North Korea reminds us of the way in which World War 2 morphed seamlessly into the Cold War; On August 29th the Soviets shot down a B-29 dropping supplies to POWs in Korea, its crew becoming the first casualties in the Cold War. (15)  In that capacity they were closely followed by  American scientist Harry Daghlian who, a week previously, had accidentally dropped a tungsten carbide brick on to a sphere of plutonium core, and given himself a fatal dose of radiation poisoning, from which he died a fortnight after peace was signed on the USS Missouri. (44) Manchuria was transferred into the control of local communists, to the eventual benefit of Mao Zedong. (34)

VJ Days since 1945

In Britain

The anniversary of VJ Day is (1,7) usually (7) actively celebrated in parts of Britain (1,7)

Screenshot_2020-06-23 00_VJ-Day Audrey docx - Microsoft Word Online(1)

in a similar fashion to VE Day, with commemorations for those who fought in the war. (7) There are parades, remembrance events and other celebrations as the nation thanks the tens of thousands of service personnel from across the UK and the Commonwealth who fought and died in the war against Japan, including all those who were held as prisoners of war by the Japanese.’ (7) This year, the people who have been tearing down the statues of Winston Churchill will not be celebrating VJ-Day. (HN)

In the USA

For a short time VJ Day celebrations were common across the United States, (1) being celebrated on the anniversary of the signing of the Japanese surrender document, (6) September 2nd. (2,3) Veteran groups and their supporters still observe Victory Day on the second Monday of August each year. (5) VJ-Day in 1945 was followed by the rebuilding of Europe and Japan. (11) America and Japan began to work together more (1,3) and the USA played a big role in Japan’s development. (3) In 1948, partially to pre-empt the spread of Communism in Europe but mainly to aid the reconstruction of European and Pacific-region infrastructure and economies, the U.S. enacted the Marshall Plan, which infused friendly nations overseas with about 12 billion dollars in aid (128 billion in today’s dollars). (11) There were arguments and debates concerning the nature and name of the VJ-Day holiday. (5) It had been a very important moment at the end of World War II, (3) but celebrations of it became less and less noticeable over the years. (1,3) America did not want to spoil its good relations with Japan. (3) Many V-J Day celebrations fell out of favour over the years due to concerns about their being offensive to Japan, now one of America’s closest allies, and to Japanese Americans, (1,8) as well as ambivalent feelings toward the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (8) In the 1960s, there was a movement to make September 2nd an international Holiday that would be called ‘World Peace Day.’ (6) Once the Holiday started being celebrated in 1981; however, it was moved to September 21st to coincide with the opening date of the General Assembly of the UN every year. (6) There are some who believe that the celebration of V-J day promotes racism, because it emphasizes the victory over the Japanese people. (6) They support the V-P Day label (Victory in the Pacific) as the Australians celebrate, referencing the end of war in the Pacific Theater. (6) There are many communities within the US (5,8) such as Moosup, (8) Connecticut (1,8) Seymour, Indiana; and Arma, Kansas. (8) where V-J Day parades are held every year on this date. (1,8) Since 1975, when the holiday was abolished in Arkansas, (2) it has only been observed by the state of Rhode Island. (2,5) which, (1,2) has observed this day as a state holiday (2,5) since 1948, (2,5) in tribute to the disproportionate number of sailors it sent and lost in the Pacific front. (2) the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted legislation in 1966 to observe the holiday (2) on the second Monday of August each year. (2,5) Its official title remains V-J Day (6) In the 70s it was renamed simply (11) ‘Victory Day’ (8,11) to remove any implication that its celebration would be due in any part to gloating over the loss of Japanese lives. (11)

In China

In China September 3rd was celebrated as, ‘Victory in War of Resistance against Japan Day.’ (6) American troops and weapons allowed the KMT to reclaim cities in the Civil War, but (24) Russia was secretly and continuously supporting Mao’s Communists against the KMT, (34) and the countryside remained largely under Communist control. (24,33) On 1st October 1949 the Chinese Communist Party People’s proclaimed the Republic of China in Beijing and Russia recognized it. (34) Under Mao’s Communist regime the date would evolve to be recognized as ‘Armed Forces Day’ in 1955. (6) September 3rd is still recognized as ‘V-J’ Day in mainland China today, and there are a number of ‘September 3’ streets and schools in most major cities in the country today. (6)

In the Soviet Union

The information provided by British spy Maclean enabled Russian scientists to predict the number of bombs that could be built by the Americans. (49) Stalin knew that the USA did not possess an adequate stock of atomic weapons and this knowledge played a crucial role in his decision to institute a blockade of Berlin in 1948. (49) In 1945, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan found, physicist Hans Bethe estimated that the Russians would be able to build their own bomb in five years. (54) ‘Thanks to information provided by their agents,’ Moynihan wrote in his book Secrecy, ‘they did it in four.’ (54) Boris V. Brokhovich, the engineer who later became director of Chelyabinsk-40, said the Russians had developed their own bomb by trial and error. (54) Russia remains a nuclear power, but has lost the empire it won in 1945. (HN)

In South Korea

South Korea formally celebrates August 15th under the title, Liberation Day. (6) It has participated in attempts to reunite with the North recently. (HN)

In Indonesia

After VJ-Day the Dutch attempted to re-establish their colonial rule that had been ended by the Japanese, (25,27) But events had moved on since they had last ruled there. (57) News of the Japanese surrender reached Aceh and North Sumatra, where large numbers of Acehnese and Malay aristocrats were killed by Islamic groups (in Aceh) and communist-led mobs (in North Sumatra), and on the north-western coast of Central Java large numbers of Europeans, Chinese, and native aristocrats were butchered by mobs. (57) Dutch forces re-occupied most of Indonesia’s territory (27) and four (25,27) [OR] 4½ (27) years of armed conflict (25,27) and diplomatic struggle between the Netherlands and Indonesian republicans, and initially British Commonwealth forces, (27) began. (25,27) During this period Australia supported the independent state of Indonesia, (25) which was also favoured by the majority of Indonesians, and ultimately international opinion. (27) Australia represented Indonesia in negotiations to end the fighting, (25) which eventually led to the Dutch recognising of the independence of Indonesia in December 1949. (27)

In Indo-China

On 22nd August American intelligence officer Major Archimedes L. Patti arrived in Hanoi to secure the release of American POWs held by the Japanese in Indochina. (61) Accompanying Patti was a French team headed by Jean Sainteny, ostensibly in Indochina to care for French POWs. (61) Ho Chi Minh warned Patti that Sainteny’s real objective was to reassert French control over Vietnam. (61) Patti reported to his superiors in China that “The Việt Minh are strong and belligerent and definitely anti-French. Suggest no more French be permitted to enter French Indo-China and especially not armed.” Patti refused to allow the release of 4,500 French soldiers imprisoned in Hanoi by the Japanese. (61) On 26th August, Ho Chi Minh entered Hanoi. (61) The Việt Minh military force that had taken control of Hanoi consisted of about 200 men. (61) The Việt Minh army numbered about 1,200 trained men and hundreds of thousands of militia, men and women, most of them without firearms. (61) On 2nd September while Japan was signing the instrument of surrender in Tokyo Bay, in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France, the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the formation of his government. (61) All the western empires came under severe pressure post 1945. (62) The French replied by rebranding their empire as the ‘French Union’, as the British one had become the ‘British Commonwealth’. (62) It was announced that ‘France and the people of its colonies form a unity based on equality before the law, without distinction of race or religion’, but a politically correct empire was an oxymoron, and it was much too late for pious words to right centuries of wrong. (62) Ignoring one of their former Indochina governors’ promptings, the French had ‘continued traditional prejudices which stated that the Vietnamese were inscrutable and the Senegalese were overgrown children’: independence movements ‘shot up like volcanic lava’. (62) The French Empire suffered disaster at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. (62) The subsequent report commented on its ‘profound psychological effect on French public opinion, which, tired of a war that was unpopular and seemingly without end, demanded … that it be ended’. (62) The Americans, seeking to prevent the spread of Communism from China, tried to succeed where the French had failed, but failed in their turn. (61)

In Japan

Japanese civilians had been encouraged by radio propaganda to fear that American soldiers would prove to be barbarians who committed horrible atrocities. (52) These fears were, to a large part, driven by concerns that the Allied troops would exhibit similar behaviour to that of Japanese occupation forces in China and the Pacific. (52) U.S. troops eventually landed (15,16) near Tokyo on August 29th (15) to occupy Japan. (15,16) On September 8th (15) MacArthur entered Tokyo (15,17) to oversee the occupation and the post-war development of the country. (17) The Australian experience of occupation encompassed power, prejudice and possibly violence, but it also engendered friendship, compassion, and even love. (64) There were fewer than 1,000 civilian arrests in the Australian area in three years. (65) By far the greater majority of the cases related to illegal possession and the taking and disposing of Occupation Force goods. (65) Many of the cases were petty offences. (65) There was a remarkable lack of crimes of violence. (65) There were some rapes; there was conflict between Australian and New Zealanders over them. (66) Although Japan had agreed to surrender, (15,16) there was also no acceptance of war guilt in Japan. (22) Most Japanese saw themselves not as the perpetrators of a barbarous expansionist war in Asia and the Pacific, but as hapless victims of overwhelming and brutal American power. (22) Some fought on: it was not until 18th December 1974, when the last of the six million soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army, Teruo Nakamura, was finally persuaded to hand in his (still functioning) pistol and go home to Taiwan. (60) It was only with the greatest difficulty that China managed to secure a grudging acknowledgement that ‘regrettable’ things may have happened in Nanking in December 1937, when Japanese troops went on the rampage – looting, raping and burning, and killing some 200,000 Chinese. (22) Japanese school text-books still refer to the total war Japan waged against China between 1937 and 1945, in which some 20 million Chinese died, as the ‘China incident’. (22) The government of South Korea has made little progress in securing an apology from Japan for the enforced prostitution of tens of thousands of Korean girls as ‘comfort women’ for the Imperial armed forces. (22) Much the same is true of male forced labourers: in October 2018, after 13 years of litigation, Lee, the only victim still alive, prevailed in the Supreme Court of Korea. (35) Since 1982 the Japanese have formally recognized August 15th as the ‘Memorial Day for the End of the War.’ (6,7) The official name of the date in Japan is, or ‘The Day for Mourning of War Dead and Praying for Peace.’ (6) Japan has, however, prospered. (HN)

In India

Before three VJ Days had passed, India was independent, but although there was heavy intercommunal bloodshed, the administration rolled smoothly on. (64) The British had already begun to train Indian civil servants, and they had since 1941 totalled more than half. (64) India became and remained independent, though now divided in to two. (HN)

VJ-Day – Points of View

Bitter Memories

Many people believe that there is a need for such a day to remember the sacrifices that veterans made during World War II, including those who were taken as prisoners of war, were tortured, injured or killed. (5) Some Indian POWs became camp guards at Changi. (53) An unknown number were taken to Japanese-occupied areas in the South Pacific as forced labour. (53) Many of them suffered severe hardships and brutality similar to that experienced by other prisoners of Japan during the war. (53) About 6,000 survived until they were liberated by Australian and US forces in 1943–1945 as the war in the Pacific turned in favour of the Allies. (53) ‘My Dad was on the Rakyo Maru when it was torpedoed, and then picked up by a Japanese Destroyer, Taken to Taiwan (Then Formosa ) then another cargo ship to Japan. He worked or rather was enslaved in a Carbon factory till liberated by an All Black U.S. Regiment. Transported to Australia to hospital. Then back to liverpool Hospital for Tropical Diseases. He finally got back to Kent in December where he hadn’t seen my mum since 1939. He was at Fukuoka.’ (9)  ‘My mother was a Field Sister (Nurse) in the Jungles of Burma in the war. She would never talk about it. When she died I found a photo diary she had from the war. It shows all photos of India Burma the train way the ship all solders and nurses outside the tents. And lots more. She was injured in the war, when the Japs threw a grenade on her tent so my mum had hole in her back, she got 7 tropical diseases. She had worms coming out her body when I was a child. (9) Clinton’s refusal to use the term VJ Day in 1995 controversial decision sparked complaints that Clinton was being overly deferential to Japan and that the euphemism displayed insensitivity to U.S. veterans who as prisoners of war had suffered greatly at the hands of Japanese forces. (8) In academia most historical debate has centred not on VJ-Day itself, or the cruelty of the Japanese, but on the nuclear bombing which preceded and precipitated it. (25)

 

Condemnations of the bombing

But very soon doubts arose in many quarters. (22) The writer and journalist John Hersey, one of the first to get to Hiroshima, wrote a powerful study of the plight of six of these survivors, and this was published in the New Yorker in 1946, becoming the talk of New York’s literati. (22) By early 1947 criticism of the decision to use the bomb had became so pervasive in the United States, that Secretary of War Henry L Stimson felt compelled to have an article published in Harper’s magazine, defending the administration. (22) Hersey followed this up with a monograph, ‘Hiroshima’, published the following year, which was immediately a best-seller, and was translated into Japanese three years later. (22) At the same time as Hersey’s article, the United States Army Air Force published a survey of the effects of strategic bombing on Japan. (22) The Air Force argued that conventional B-29 attacks had all but brought Japan to its knees, and concluded,

‘ … it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945 (well before the date of the invasion) Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped.’ 

Not to be outdone, the United States Navy produced its own assessment, stating that its submarine campaign had also brought Japan to its knees, that the Home Islands were on the verge of starvation, and that this alone would have produced surrender, thereby obviating the need for an atomic bomb, or an invasion. (22) And then the State Department added its assessment. (22) Joseph Grew – America’s last ambassador to Japan before the war started – claimed that Japanese diplomats had been trying to open surrender negotiations with the United States via the then still neutral Russia. (22) These were overtures that the Truman administration knew about, thanks to decrypts of Japanese diplomatic codes, but which they nevertheless chose to ignore. (22) Grew added that if the United States had modified the demand for unconditional surrender, made on 26th July at Potsdam, if it had simply guaranteed the continuation of the imperial system in Japan, the Japanese would almost certainly have capitulated within days. (22) But very soon other figures were discovered. (22) ‘By the mid 1960s historians … had drawn up … a belated indictment for war crimes.’ (22) General Douglas MacArthur’s army headquarters in the Philippines, for example, had calculated that the maximum number of dead in the event of an invasion would be around 47,000. (22) Bad enough, but perhaps not bad enough to justify the immolation and irradiation of tens of thousands of Japanese women and children. (22) Such figures led people to believe that Stimson might have lied, and to wonder, if so, how many other lies the administration had told. (22) The emergence of the Cold War, the development of the hydrogen bomb, and American’s involvement in Vietnam, saw the development of a sustained critique in American academia of the decision to use the bomb. (22) By the mid 1960s historians such as Gar Alperovitz had drawn up what was virtually a charge sheet, a belated indictment for war crimes. (22) It went like this. (22) When the successful test firing of the first atomic bomb took place on 16th July 1945, Truman, negotiating with the Russians at Potsdam, decided to demonstrate America’s new power to the Russians by bombing Japanese cities, even though he knew the Japanese were trying to surrender. (22) To ensure the Japanese would not capitulate before the bombs could be used, he deliberately refused to guarantee the emperor’s safety, the only condition which, Alperovitz and others argued, was a sticking-point for the Japanese. (22) In the event, it was not the bombs that produced Japan’s surrender – the Japanese military seemed willing to take them in their stride – but the Russian invasion of Manchuria on 9th August. (22) Truman and his administration, then, had been guilty of an act of callous, wanton brutality, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including innocent women and children, to no purpose other than to intimidate Russia and establish American hegemony. (22) Versions of this argument were widely believed in the last decades of the 20th century, and not just by those to the left of the political spectrum, who were incapable of believing that the United States could be anything other than evil. (22) In 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, President Bill Clinton went so far as to avoid the term VJ day calling it ‘the End of the Pacific War’. (3,8) Further name changes were attempted later, but were unsuccessful, at which point, the name ‘Victory Day’ remained the official name. (2,5) Many Americans are therefore probably unaware of this holiday. (2) Nonetheless there are people who hope to one day celebrate the holiday under a new name or educate young Americans more about the Japanese culture in modern society. (5)

Justifications of the Bombing

After the war it was generally believed that, though the bombs had been terrible, they had obviated the need for an invasion of Japan. (22) The bombs were a necessary evil. (22) Many forget that fire bombing attacks on Japan killed more civilians than the nuclear strikes, but did not precipitate surrender. (25) A week after the first atom bomb, Japan surrendered unconditionally. (25) Operation Downfall, a prolonged blockade and conventional bombing campaign, would have exacted much higher casualties among Japanese civilians. (17) The invasion of Japan would have killed and wounded many hundreds of thousands of Allied servicemen. (22) By early 1947 criticism of the decision to use the bomb had became so pervasive in the United States, that Secretary of War Henry L Stimson felt compelled to have an article published in Harper’s magazine, defending the administration. (22) He reminded Americans that if an invasion had proved necessary, up to a million American servicemen would have died. (22) During the 1990s and after the collapse of the USSR, discoveries made upon the opening of hitherto restricted archives, and the work of British- and American-educated Japanese historians, have caused many to challenge the Alperovitz thesis (that dropping the atom bomb was a war crime). (22)

the Japanese were demanding … a guarantee of no Allied occupation of Japan …

American scholars have shown that the Air Force’s Strategic Bombing Surve, saying that the conventional bombing would have caused the surrender by itself, was designed to secure a large independent air force, which many believed would have been in danger if it had been shown that the atomic bombs alone produced the surrender. (22) Similarly, the navy’s assertions were exposed as exaggerations of the efficacy of the submarine blockade. (22) Many Japanese were certainly starving, but it did not follow that the Japanese were therefore prepared to surrender. (22) The most damning research exploded the very low estimates of invasion casualties prepared by the army. (22) These were shown to be the product of General MacArthur’s desire that an invasion should take place, one that he would command, which did not take into account the actual casualties (49,000) suffered by US forces in the two-month battle (April-June 1945) for Okinawa. (22) The army’s real position was revealed in the discovery of a memorandum by Army Chief-of-Staff General George C Marshall, advocating the use of atomic bombs to support an invasion. (22) The work by American historians has been reinforced by the labours of their Japanese counterparts. (22) The Japanese peace feelers directed at Russia have been exposed as belated attempts to delay a Russian entry into the war, not genuine attempts at negotiation. (22) It has also been shown that the Japanese were demanding very much more than a guarantee of the emperor’s safety, for example a guarantee of no Allied occupation of Japan, before they would consider serious negotiations. (22) Also thanks to the work of Japanese historians, we now know much more about Japanese plans in the summer of 1945. (22) Japan had no intention of surrendering. (22) It had husbanded over 8,000 aircraft, many of them Kamikazes, hundreds of explosive-packed suicide boats, and over two million well equipped regular soldiers, backed by a huge citizen’s militia. (22) When the Americans landed, the Japanese intended to hit them with everything they had, to impose on them casualties that might break their will. (22) Their first reaction to Hiroshima was to ask Professor Nishima how long it would take him to make an atom bomb. (67) If this did not do it, then the remnants of the army and the militias would fight on as guerrillas, protected by the mountains and by the civilian population. (22) Japanese and American historians have also shown that at the centre of the military system was the Emperor Hirohito, not the hapless prisoner of militarist generals, the version promulgated by MacArthur in 1945 to save him from a war crimes trial, but an all-powerful warlord, who had guided Japan’s aggressive expansion at every turn. (22) Hirohito’s will had not been broken by defeats at land or sea, it had not been broken by the firestorms or by the effects of the blockade, and it would certainly not have been broken by the Russian invasion of Manchuria, something the Japanese had anticipated for months. (22) What broke Hirohito’s will was the terrible new weapon, a single bomb which could kill a hundred thousand at a time. (22) Suddenly Japan was no longer fighting other men, but the very forces of the universe. (22) The most important target the bombs hit was Hirohito’s mind – it shocked him into acknowledging that he could not win the final, climatic battle. (22)

Bibliography

 

  1. 201 http://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/vj-day/
  1. 222 https://www.collinsflags.com/blog/archives/victory-day-v-j-day-collinsflags-com
  1. 377 https://www.historyforkids.net/ve-and-vj-days.html
  1. 474 http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/august/15/newsid_3581000/3581971.stm
  1. 546 https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/victory-day
  1. 683 http://www.worldwar2facts.org/when-is-vj-day.html
  1. 714 https://inews.co.uk/news/education/vj-day-when-2020-date-victory-japan-ww2-end-surrendered-2847524
  1. 790 https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/v-j-day
  1. 873 https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/VJ-Day/
  1. 1041 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_over_Japan_Day
  1. 1434 https://nationaltoday.com/vj-day/
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Featherston_prisoner_of_war_camp
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao_Zedong#Resuming_civil_war:_1940%E2%80%931949
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_China#Republic_of_China_(since_1912)
  1. https://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/pacificwar/timeline.htm
  1. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/world-war-ii-in-the-pacific
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_War#Landings_in_the_Japanese_home_islands_(1945)
  1. https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/okinawa/chapter18.htm#p4
  1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-15/victory-in-the-pacific-australias-role-in-ending-wwii/6692558?nw=0
  1. https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/vp_day
  1. https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/vj-day
  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/nuclear_01.shtml
  1. HN piece on Korea. (23) indicates it had a single reference there, and Black Bold Times New Roman (K2) indicates it had two or more there.
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiang_Kai-shek#Second_phase_of_the_Chinese_Civil_War
  1. https://adso.org.au/john-s-blog/629-vp-day-aug-15
  1. http://ergo.slv.vic.gov.au/explore-history/australia-wwii/home-wii/victory-celebrations
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_East_Indies#World_War_II_and_independence
  1. https://www.newzealand.com/int/feature/20th-and-21st-century-new-zealand/
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_New_Zealand_during_World_War_II#Campaigns_in_the_Pacific
  1. Labour in Power, K Morgan ISBN 0-19-285150-0 p 233
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1945_Dunedin_North_by-election
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Fraser
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Civil_War#Immediate_post-war_clashes_(1945%E2%80%931946)
  1. Wikipedia search of ‘China 1945’
  1. https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/05/29/tokyo-keeps-defending-world-war-ii-atrocities/
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Singapore#Aftermath
  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-16526765
  1. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/china/hong-kong/history#282206
  1. https://www.hongkong.net/info/history.html
  1. https://www.china-mike.com/china-tourist-attractions/hong-kong/history-timeline-part4/
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_spies
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melita_Norwood
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_nuclear_weapons#Initial_proliferation
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticality_accident
  1. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/china/hong-kong/history#282206
  1. https://www.hongkong.net/info/history.html
  1. https://www.china-mike.com/china-tourist-attractions/hong-kong/history-timeline-part4/
  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-16526765
  1. https://www.nationalcoldwarexhibition.org/schools-colleges/national-curriculum/espionage/the-cambridge-four.aspx
  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/coldwar/cambridge_spies_01.shtml
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirohito#Surrender
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Singapore#Aftermath
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_and_Ethel_Rosenberg#Execution
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_occupation_of_Singapore#End_of_the_occupation
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attlee_ministry
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan
  1. http://www.cbi-theater.com/roundup/roundup081645.html
  1. India Wikipedia Article
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teruo_Nakamura
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940%E2%80%931946_in_French_Indochina
  1. ‘The Lauragais Story’ by Hugh Nicklin pp 261-2 ISBN
  1. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/vj-day-victory-over-japan
  1. The Making of India, K. Lalvani, Bloomsbury 2016.
  1. https://www.bcofremembered.com/bcof-stories.html
  1. J.C.Ketchen, paratrooper with B.C.O.F. Oral testimony
  1. History of the American People – Paul Johnson: Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1997

Bibliographical Note

4 and 9 identical wording in places – corroboration disallowed. 4 and 10 also. 17 and 34 both Wikipedia 36 and 53 identical

Appendix I: Circumstances of Truman’s Announcement

 

  1. On the 14th of August President Harry Truman spoke to a large crowd outside the White House in Washington. … The next day, the 15th of August 1945, Truman declared the day as Victory over Japan Day at a White House press conference.
  1. After days of rumour and speculation, US President Harry S Truman broke the good news at a press conference at the White House at 1900 yesterday.
  1. President Truman announced Japan’s surrender … on August 14, 1945
  1. 15 August 1945 – Japan formally surrenders. Many papers throughout the world declare the date to be ‘V-P Day’ (Victory in the Pacific) or ‘V-J Day.’
  1. In Washington, on August 14th, 1945, in a press conference at the White House President Harry S. Truman announced that Japan had surrendered … Since then, both August 14th and August 15th have been known as ‘Victory over Japan Day,’ or simply ‘V-J Day.’ The term has also been used for September 2nd, 1945, when Japan’s formal surrender took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.
  1. … on 15th August 1945 US President Harry S Truman declared the day as Victory over Japan Day, at a White House press conference. (9)
  1. September 2, 1945 – Formal Japanese surrender ceremony on board the Missouri in Tokyo Bay as 1,000 carrier-based planes fly overhead; President Truman declares VJ Day. (15)
  1. In Japan, 14th August is considered to be the day that the Pacific War ended. However, as Imperial Japan actually surrendered on 15th August, this day became known in the English-speaking countries as V-J Day (Victory in Japan). (17)

FRESCIPLACT Analysis

  • Foreign and Military: 
  • Who was fighting who, and when did it stop?
  • How – conventional war and nuclear war
  • Non-military interactions – the Cold War
  • Anzac priorities
  • Religion and Ideas
  • Religions: Shinto, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
  • Communism
  • Democracy
  • Nationalism
  • Imperialism
  • Revenge – rendering evil for evil
  • Economic and financial
  • War fought for economic reasons
  • won by economic superiority
  • Social and Cultural
  • Famines
  • Medicine – wounded – radiation sickness
  • Marriage sex & family – comfort women
  • Education: the ‘China Incident’
  • Constitutional and Legal
  • League failure – UN set up
  • Rules of war
  • New constitution for Japan
  • Civil War in China unresolved
  • Peaceful transfers of power in US and UK
  • Individual and Random; 
  • Truman
  • MacArthur
  • Stalin
  • Attlee
  • Fraser
  • Chiang
  • Mao
  • Sukarno & Hatta
  • Hirohito
  • Kim-il-Sung
  • Tibbets
  • Sweeney
  • Oppenheimer
  • Einstein
  • Atomic Spies
  • Points of view
  • Did the bombs decide the war or something else?
  • Was the dropping of the bomb justified?
  • Language
  • VJ Day or VP day
  • Hirohito’s medieval Japanese
  • Alternative Hypothesis – n/a
  • Concepts
    • Cause
      • why did the Japanese make peace
      • why fighting after VJ-Day
      • Consequences
      • for Japan – occupation, reindustrialization.
      • For the Imperialists Britain, France, Holland
      • For India
      • For Vietnam
      • For Korea
      • For China
      • For Indonesia
      • For the Cold War?
      • For medicine – examination of effects of radiation
      • For science – nuclear power
      • Comparison
      • Brest Litovsk
      • End of Russo Jap War Treaty of Portsmouth 1905
      • VE Day
  • Time
      • VJ Day fades away in USA.
      • This particular one COVID.

        Hereford VJ Day
        Figure 15 Vj-Day in Hereford, England
%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close