On July 26, 1945, the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender or the Postdam Declaration was issued by President Harry S. Truman (of the United States), Prime Minister Winston Churchill (United Kingdom), and Chian Kai Shek, Chairman of the Nationalist Government of China.
The ultimatum called for the surrender of all Japanese Armed Forces during WWII. Aside from the demand for Japans surrender, the document included a warning which read, “Failure to comply would mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitable the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland”.
Two days later, Kantaro Suzuki, the Japanese Prime Minister took to the press and announced his government’s dismissal of the Allied ultimatum.
On August 6, 1945, President Truman ordered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima City, Japan. The atomic bomb was dropped by an Enola Gay, a U.S. B-29 bomber which killed an estimate of 80, 000 people.
On August 8, 1945, the United Soviet Socialist Republic or USSR declared war against Japan. On August 9, another U.S. atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, a Japanese coastal city. The Nagasaki bombing was known to be the last major act of the Second World War. Within days, the Empire of Japan acknowledged their defeat.
Sunday, September 2, 1945 – over 25 allied warships gathered in Tokyo Bay to witness the ceremony of Japan’s surrender aboard USS Missouri (BB-63), making the battleship, now a memorial, a renowned historic site and an important stop in PHW‘s Pearl Harbor tours. The flags of China, the Soviet Union and the United States fluttered above the battleship’s deck. President Harry S. Truman appointed General Douglas MacArthur to preside over the ceremony.
A little after 9:00 am, Mamoru Shigematsu the Japanese Foreign Minister signed the instrument of surrender on behalf of the Japanese government and General Yoshijiro Umezu signed for Japan’s armed forces. Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur signed on behalf of the United States.
Representatives from China, USSR, Britain, France, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada also signed the document. The ceremony only lasted 20 minutes, marking the end of WWII, the most devastating war the world has ever seen. Additionally, after nearly four years after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the fight for justice is finally over.