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70 Years Ago Today: Japanese Surrender 

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On September 2, 1945, the Japanese representatives signed the official Instrument of Surrender, prepared by the War Department and approved by President Truman. It set out in eight short paragraphs the complete capitulation of Japan. The opening words, “We, acting by command of and in behalf of the Emperor of Japan,” signified the importance attached to the Emperor’s role by the Americans who drafted the document. The short second paragraph went straight to the heart of the matter: “We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.”

Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs as Supreme Allied Commander during formal surrender ceremonies on the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay. Behind Gen. MacArthur are Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright and Lt. Gen. A. E. Percival, September 2, 1945

Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs as Supreme Allied Commander during formal surrender ceremonies on the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay. Behind Gen. MacArthur are Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright and Lt. Gen. A. E. Percival, September 2, 1945

That morning, on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese envoys Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu signed their names on the Instrument of Surrender.

“We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.”

The time was recorded as 4 minutes past 9 o’clock. Afterward, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, also signed. He accepted the Japanese surrender “for the United States, Republic of China, United Kingdom, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and in the interests of the other United Nations at war with Japan.”

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On September 6, Col. Bernard Thielen brought the surrender document and a second imperial rescript back to Washington, DC. The following day, Thielen presented the documents to President Truman in a formal White House ceremony. Read the rest of this entry »

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70 Years After Allied Victory, Couples Gather in Times Square to Re-Enact V-J Day Kiss

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NEW YORK — cassyfiano writes: With a countdown of “five, four, three, two, one, smooch,” couples from across the world puckered up in Times Square on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the famous kiss celebrating the end of World War II.

“Ellie and I are deeply honored and privileged to represent the greatest generation here today.”

— Ray Williams, 91, of Blairsville, Georgia

A 25-foot sculpture depicting Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of a sailor kissing a white-uniformed nurse towered over the commemoration of V-J Day, when Japan’s surrender to Allied forces was announced.

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“It’s very beautiful to commemorate such an incredible event. Especially for us. We come from a country which was occupied by the Germans … and we’re still faced with all the horrifying stories of the war.”

— Roel van Dalen, visitors from Amsterdam

Ray and Ellie Williams, Navy veterans who married the day after V-J Day, kicked off the anniversary of the kiss Aug. 14, 1945. Read the rest of this entry »