V-J Day 2015
Anniversary of the End of World War II
September 2, 2015 by Jake Butler
The signing of the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945 – 70 years ago today – marked the official end of World War II. It was signed aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in the Tokyo Bay in a ceremony that only lasted just 23 minutes. It was first signed by Japanese envoys Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu, followed by U.S. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, and then by nine others representing the Allied Powers.
Although Japan unofficially announced their surrender on August 14, 1945, President Harry S Truman insisted that “the proclamation of V-J Day must wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan.” That didn’t stop the world from celebrating early. The iconic imagery we associate with V-J Day parades and demonstrations like the photo below mostly happened on August 15. You can check out some famous photos from the celebrations here on our blog from last year.The actual signed document of the Instrument of Surrender was submitted to the National Archives on October 1, 1945. The entire war lasted nearly 6 years but ended after just eight short paragraphs and 12 signatures.
Today we give thanks to all the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who fought so valiantly during World War II – endearingly referred to as The Greatest Generation for good reason. Their courage and valor helped the country escape The Great Depression and get a fresh start by establishing America as a world power.
Thanks to the Naval History and Heritage Command, and to the family of Commander George F. Kosco, you can watch a fully restored and colorized video of the ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri right here: