Although the surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15, 1945, the hostilities of World War II ended with the formal signing aboard the USS Missouri on September 2nd.
Japanese representatives present for the surrender ceremonies included Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (wearing top hat) and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff. Behind them were three representatives each of the Foreign Ministry, the Army, and the Navy.
General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander, opened the surrender ceremonies with his speech. Representatives of the Allied Powers in attendance included the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Australia, Canada, France, The Netherlands, New Zealand, China, and other U.S. representatives. The framed flag in upper left was flown by Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s flagship when she entered Tokyo Bay in 1853.
Among General MacArthur’s remarks:
“It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past—a world founded upon faith and understanding—a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish—for freedom, tolerance and justice.
The terms and conditions upon which the surrender of the Japanese Imperial Forces is here to be given and accepted are contained in the Instrument of Surrender now before you.
As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, I announce my firm purpose, in the tradition of the countries I represent, to proceed in the discharge of my responsibilities with justice and tolerance, while taking all necessary dispositions to insure that the terms of surrender are fully, promptly and faithfully complied with.”
When the assembled representatives of the Allied Powers and of Japan had finished signing the agreements, General MacArthur stated:
“Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.”
With the conclusion of the surrender ceremony, 450 carrier planes from the Third Fleet flew in massed formation over the USS Missouri and minutes later were followed by Army Air Force B-29 bombers. This massive and impressive display reflected the power which led Japan and the Allies to this point in history.
With the jubilation of V-E Day and Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, followed by Japan’s on August 15th and the formal Instrument of Surrender on September 2nd, the United States and its Allies celebrated the end of World War II.
Decades later, a WWII soldier salutes a WWII general
Sgt. Major Blaknit, who landed with 900 men on D-Day, had only 400 remaining under his command the next morning. Decades later when revisiting that site, as he knelt where he had landed, he prayed for the souls of the men who did not survive.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility. I welcome it.” John F. Kennedy