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The Japanese representatives aboard the USS Missouri at the Surrender of Japan

Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or V-P Day) is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event. The term has been applied to both the day on which the initial announcement of Japan's surrender was made in the afternoon of August 15, 1945 in Japan and to August 14, 1945 where it is observed as V-J Day in the United States when it was announced because of time zone differences in the Western Europe, the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Australia and to September 2, 1945 when the formal signing of the surrender was made. The name V-J Day had been selected by the Allies after they named V-E Day for the victory in Europe.

A formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945. In Japan, the day usually is known as the "memorial day for the end of the war" (終戦記念日 Shūsen-kinenbi?); the official name for the day is however "the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace" (戦歿者を追悼し平和を祈念する日 Senbotsusha wo tsuitōshi heiwa wo kinennsuru hi?). This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.[1]

The day is commemorated as Liberation Day in Korea and some other nations.

Contents

Surrender

Allied military personnel in Paris celebrating the Japanese surrender
Citizens and workers of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, whose work in the Manhattan Project resulted in the atomic bomb, celebrate the end of World War II

A little after noon Japan standard time on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito's announcement of Japan's acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast to the Japanese people over the radio. Earlier the same day, the Japanese government had broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that "acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation [would be] coming soon," and had advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to U.S. President Harry S Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.[2] On August 15 and 16 some Japanese soldiers, devastated by the surrender, committed suicide; over 100 American prisoners of war were also executed. In addition, many Australian and British prisoners of war were executed in Borneo, at both Ranau and Sandakan, by the Imperial Japanese Army.[3]

Since the European Axis Powers had surrendered three months earlier (V-E Day), V-J Day would be the official end of World War II.

In his announcement of Japan's surrender on August 14, President Truman said that "the proclamation of V-J Day must wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan".[4] The formal Japanese signing of the surrender terms took place on board the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, and at that time Truman declared September 2 to be the official V-J Day.[5]

In Australia and most other allied nations, the name V-P Day was used from the outset. The Canberra Times of August 14, 1945 refers to VP Day celebrations, and a public holiday for VP Day was gazetted by the government in that year according to the Australian War Memorial.[6]

Timeline

  • March 18-June 23, 1945: Battle of Okinawa. 85,000+ US military casualties and losses, and 140,000+ to Japanese. Approximately one-fourth of the Japanese civilian population on Okinawa died resisting the invasion, often in mass suicides organised by the Imperial Japanese Army.
  • July 26: Potsdam Declaration is issued. Truman tells Japan, "Surrender or suffer prompt and utter destruction."
  • July 29: Japan rejects the Potsdam Declaration.
  • August 2: Potsdam conference ends.
  • August 6: An atomic bomb, "Little Boy" is dropped on Hiroshima.
  • August 8: USSR declares war on Japan, operation of August Storm
  • August 9: Another atomic bomb, "Fat Man" is dropped on Nagasaki.
  • August 15: Japan surrenders. Date is remembered as "V-J Day" or "V-P Day" and described as such in newspapers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. That evening, General Frank Merrill announced, today is "B Day," [7] the day on which peace talks would begin and occupation operations would be initiated.[8]
  • September 2: Official surrender ceremony; President Truman declares September 2 officially "V-J Day".

Post war:

Famous photograph

The famous LIFE magazine photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945

One of the most famous photographs ever published by LIFE, V–J day in Times Square was shot in Times Square on August 14, 1945 shortly after the announcement by President Truman occurred and people began to gather in celebration. Alfred Eisenstaedt was in the square taking his specialty, candid photographs, when he spotted a sailor "running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight . . . Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse." He took four exposures, but only published the one he selected as the best. Eisenstadt was very gratified and pleased with this enduring image, saying: "People tell me that when I am in heaven they will remember this picture."

The central figures in the photograph were never confirmed by Eisenstaedt. LIFE, however, accepted nurse Edith Cullen Shain's claim as the woman to hold this honor that was asserted in a handwritten letter to Eisenstaedt thirty-five years later. After that a call was made for the identity of the man. More than twenty men have claimed to be the sailor, but none has been identified positively as the man. Edith Shain considered the possibility of one man, but finally stated that she could not tell whether he was or not.

Commemoration

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China

September 3 is recognized as V-J Day in the People's Republic of China.[13] As the final official surrender of Japan was accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, the Kuomintang (KMT) government, which represented China on the Missouri, announced the three-day holidays to celebrate V-J Day, starting September 3. There are still "September 3" streets (in Chinese: 九三街) and primary schools (in Chinese: 九三小学) in almost every major city in China.

Korea

V-J Day is celebrated as "Liberation Day" in both of the Koreas since part of Japan's unconditional surrender included ending its rule over Korea.

Vietnam

On the day of surrender of Japan, Hồ Chí Minh declared an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

United States

V-J Day is recognized as an official holiday only in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The holiday's official name is "Victory Day",[14] and it is observed on the second Monday of August. There have been several attempts in the 1980s and 1990s to eliminate or rename the holiday on the grounds that it is discriminatory. While those all failed, the state legislature did pass a resolution in 1990 "stating that Victory Day is not a day to express satisfaction in the destruction and death caused by nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki."[15]

Australia

Amateur radio

Amateur radio operators in Australia hold the "Remembrance Day Contest" on the weekend nearest VP Day, 15 August, remembering amateur radio operators who died during World War II and to encourage friendly participation and help improve the operating skills of participants. The contest runs for 24 hours, from 0800UTC on the Saturday, preceded by a broadcast including a speech by a dignitary or notable Australia (such as the Prime Minister of Australia, Governor-General of Australia, or a military leader) and the reading of the names of amateur radio operators who are known to have died. It is organised by the Wireless Institute of Australia, with operators in each Australian state contacting operators in other states, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. A trophy is awarded to the state that can boast the greatest rate of participation, based on a formula including: number of operators, number of contacts made, and radio frequency bands used.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ "厚生労働省:全国戦没者追悼式について" (in Japanese). Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. 2007-08-08. http://www.mhlw.go.jp/houdou/2007/08/h0808-1.html. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  2. ^ Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509514-6. 
  3. ^ Remembering Sandakan: 1945-1999 "Captain Hoshijima Susumi was able to reveal from his knowledge of the war crimes interrogation documents that the last POWs had been killed at Ranau on 27 August 1945, well after the Japanese surrender. They had undoubtedly being killed, in Moffitt’s view, to stop them being able to testify to the atrocities committed by the guards."
  4. ^ http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1945/450814a.html | JAPANESE ACCEPTANCE OF POTSDAM DECLARATION ANNOUNCED BY PRESIDENT TRUMAN
  5. ^ Truman Library - Public Papers
  6. ^ Canberra Times, Australian War Memorial
  7. ^ HUSAFIK (History of United States Forces in Korea), Part I, Chapter I, p.11
  8. ^ Parameters by Donald W. Boose, Jr., Winter 1995, pp. 112-129
  9. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. "Shoichi Yokoi, 82, Is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 27 Years," New York Times. September 26, 1997.
  10. ^ "The Last PCS for Lieutenant Onoda," Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 13, 1974, p6
  11. ^ "Onoda Home; 'It Was 30 Years on Duty'," Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 14, 1974, p7
  12. ^ "The Last Last Soldier?," TIME, January 13, 1975
  13. ^ V-J Day in the People's Republic of China (Baidu Encyclopedia) in Chinese
  14. ^ "Know Rhode Island: History And Facts About The Ocean State". Rhode Island Office of the Secretary of State. http://www.sec.state.ri.us/library/riinfo/riinfo/knowrhode. 
  15. ^ "R.I. Last State Still Marking V-J Day". http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/13/ap/national/mainD8JFMSRG0.shtml. 
  16. ^ "Remembrance Day Contest". http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/rdcontest/. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 

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