About Victory over Japan Day
VJ Day History
Victory over Japan Day marks the end of World War II. The war in the Pacific was hard fought and bloody. However, by early 1945, the tide had definitely turned, and the U.S. military was fighting island by island towards Japan. Resistance was fierce. Casualties on both sides were high.
The U.S. had developed the atomic bomb. The U.S. government was anxious to end the war and stop the loss of American lives.
On August 6th, 1945, the United States military dropped an atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima, Japan in an effort to force Japan into an immediate, unconditional surrender. Instead of immediately surrendering, the Japanese government debated what to do. So, the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on August 9, 1945, over the city of Nagasaki, Japan.
On August 14, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito cabled the U.S. to surrender and agreed to the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.
On August 15, 1945, news of the surrender was announced to the world. World War II was finally over. Hostilities finally came to an end.
On September 2, 1945, the Japanese formally surrendered aboard the U.S. battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. President Truman declared this to be V-J Day.
Did You Know? The battleship USS Missouri was chosen for the formal surrender ceremony, as she was named after President Truman’s home state.
Date When Celebrated:
Historically, World War II ends with the surrender of Japan. There are three key dates.
- August 14 – Japan surrenders
- August 15 – Surrender announced to the world
- September 2 – Ceremony and formal signing of the surrender
VJ Day marks the end of WWII and the cessation of fighting against Japan. It is called “Victory In Japan Day or “Victory Over Japan Day”.
The confusion over three dates:
There is some confusion over what date is V-J Day. You can consider any (or all) of the three dates as V-J Day. President Harry S. Truman caused some of this confusion……..
On August 14, 1945, the Japanese government cabled to the U.S. their surrender. This is the date of most modern observances.
On August 15, 1945, news of the surrender was announced to the world. This sparked spontaneous celebrations over the final ending of World War II.
On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was held in Tokyo Bay aboard the USS Missouri. At the time, President Truman declared September 2 to be VJ Day.
Regardless of which day you view as VJ Day, World War II was finally over.
How to Observe VJ Day
- Read a historical book about WWII in the Pacific theater.
- Watch a WWII movie about the war against Japan. May we suggest “Pearl Harbor”?
- Most importantly, never forget the courageous men and women in our military who fought, especially those who gave their lives to protect our freedom. They were truly the “greatest generation”.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – – Franklin D. Roosevelt
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