Japan Capitulates, August - September 1945



The first ten days of August 1945 had been disastrous for Japan. Having seemingly ignored the 26 July Potsdam Declaration of Allied terms, the beaten and increasingly devastated nation's military clung to hope that the coming invasion of the home islands would be beaten back at great cost to the invaders, making possible a more favorable negotiated peace.

However, on 6 August, the Hiroshima atomic bombing demonstrated that the "prompt and utter distruction" promised by the Potsdam Declaration was now at hand. That message was reinforced by the Nagasaki bomb three days later. A fast-moving Soviet invasion of Manchuria on the same day shattered any expectation that Japan's large army could hold back her enemies' conventional forces. This triple shock prompted, after several difficult meetings of his chief officials, the Japanese Emperor's decision to end the War by accepting the Allies' terms, a decision announced on 14 August.

Eighteen days of celebrations, preparations, prisoner of war recovery and initial occupation activities by the Allies followed, initially with considerable wariness of possible Japanese treachery. Things went relatively smoothly, though, building to a dramatic climax on 2 September 1945 in Tokyo Bay, when representatives of Japan's government and her military signed the Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri (BB-63).

This page presents a special pictorial selection on reactions to Japan's capitulation and on the journey of a group of Japanese envoys to receive surrender instructions. It provides links to additional photographs on these subjects, and to selected views and broader coverage of other aspects of Japan's surrender.

The following pages offer more extensive visual coverage of reactions to Japan's capitulation and of the flight of Japanese envoys to Manila to receive surrender instructions:

For overviews and special image selections on other aspects of Japan's surrender, plus links to broader pictorial coverage on these subjects, see:



Click the photograph for larger image.

Photo #: 80-G-377102

Surrender of Japan, 1945


A soldier and his family read early newspaper reports of Japan's surrender, while walking in Washington, DC, on 14 August 1945, shortly before the official announcement.
Photographed by Chief Petty Officer Smith.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 66KB; 630 x 665

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-332969

Surrender of Japan, 1945


Personnel at Naval Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina, celebrate news of Japan's surrender, 14 August 1945.

This appears to be an operations office, with aircraft status board in background containing information on four identifiable individual planes: N2S-3 (Bureau # 07742), N2S-3 (Bureau # 07720), FM-1 (Bureau # 46901--may be an FM-2) and F4U-4 (Bureau # 82085)

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 95KB; 740 x 580

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: NH 62897

Surrender of Japan, 1945


Pyrotechnic display in Leyte Gulf, Philippines, in celebration of the end of World War II, 15 August 1945.
Note men watching the show from the mast crosstrees in the upper right foreground.

Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 87KB; 740 x 490

 
Photo #: 80-G-343608

Surrender of Japan, 1945


Crew members on USS Wileman (DE-22) celebrate upon hearing of Japan's acceptance of surrender terms, circa 15 August 1945.
Photographer was from Naval Air Station, Ebeye Island, Kwajalein.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 103KB; 740 x 610

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: NH 71537

Surrender of Japan, 1945


Front page of Patrol, newspaper of the U.S. Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, for 29 August 1945, celebrating the end of World War II. In addition to headlines and a patriotic cartoon, it features an article by Clarence Strong Williams, entitled V-J Day - Dawn of Peace.

Courtesy of Captain Clarence S. Williams, USNR(Retired), 1970.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 125KB; 610 x 765

 
Photo #: NH 62867

Surrender of Japan, 1945


One of two specially-marked Mitsubishi G4M-1 ("Betty") aircraft lands at an airfield on Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, 19 August 1945. The plane brought a Japanese delegation who were flown on to Manila in a USAAF C-54 transport to receive instructions concerning the surrender and occupation.
The plane in the foreground, providing shade for onlookers, is a C-54. The guard in the right center foreground carries an M-1 carbine.

Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 66KB; 740 x 605

 



For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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