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Japan Surrenders and World War II Ends: June 1945-September 1945


World War II Timeline: September 2, 1944-September 26, 1944

Japan's formal surrender came in September of 1945. The World War II timeline below summarizes this and other important events in September of 1945.

World War II Timeline: September 2-September 26

September 2: Japanese officials formally surrender to the Allies aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Vietnamese nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh proclaims Vietnam's independence, despite the objections of the ruling French.

September 5: Iva Toguri D'Aquino, the Japanese American pro-Axis radio broadcaster known as Tokyo Rose, is arrested in Yokohama, Japan.

British authorities reoccupy Singapore.

September 7: The Allies stage a victory parade in occupied Berlin.

September 8: The United States stations troops in South Korea in accordance with an agreement between Washington and Moscow.

September 9: The repatriation of American troops begins with Operation Magic Carpet.

Some one million Japanese troops surrender to General Chiang Kai-shek in Nanking, China.

September 10: Former Norwegian premier Vidkun Quisling is found guilty of treason, for which he will be executed on October 24.

September 11: Former Japanese prime minister General Tojo Hideki shoots himself rather than submit to arrest by American troops. He survives, however, and will live in U.S. custody until his execution in 1948.

September 16: Britain reestablishes authority over its Hong Kong colony, as the Japanese garrison officially surrenders.

September 19: Britain's Labour government under Clement Attlee begins negotiations with India's Congress Party regarding Indian independence.

September 26: President Truman announces the equitable division of what is left of the German fleet between the three principal Allies.

World War II Headlines

Below are more headlines that outline the events after the close of World War II, including the reeducation of German students and the official surrender ceremonies.

Allies reeducate Germany's students: Rebuilding the German education system was one of the highest priorities for the Allies. In those sections of Germany and Berlin controlled by the U.S., Britain, and France, the emphasis was placed on reeducating youth -- who had been raised for years on Fascist doctrines -- in the fundamentals of democracy. In the Soviet Union sectors, Marxist and Leninist principles were taught. The first step in the denazification process was to replace any teacher who was unwilling or unable to give up his or her Fascist beliefs. Before this new educational process could begin, however, students were required to turn in their Nazi-oriented textbooks.

Japan's surrender delegation in Tokyo Bay: Led by Foreign Minister Shigemitsu Mamoru and Army Chief of Staff Umezu Yoshijiro, the Japanese delegation arrived aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, to sign the instrument of surrender. Though the formal terms called for unconditional surrender, it had been inferred that the emperor would retain nominal authority. Umezu was present under duress; he agreed to participate only after a personal appeal by the emperor. Shigemitsu, who felt the war must end, viewed his assignment as "a painful but profitable task." Unsure of protocol, the 11-member delegation had been advised to put on a shiran kao (nonchalant face) during the proceedings. Civilians should remove their hats and bow, they were told. Military personnel should salute.

Japanese surprised by American GIs' kindness: Wild rumors prior to the American occupation told of rapes and looting. Women and valuables were hidden, and some factories issued poison capsules to female workers. Despite Japanese fears, American troops were generally well behaved, and the occupation proceeded smoothly. "We had images of glaring demons with horns sprouting from their heads," recalled Naokata Sasaki, a young student at the time. "We were disappointed, of course. No horns at all." To his surprise, the Americans seemed quite friendly and even gave the children chocolate.

World and military leaders sign instruments of surrender: General Douglas MacArthur stands at the broadcast microphone as General Umezu signs the instrument of surrender on behalf of the Japanese Imperial Headquarters. Foreign Minister Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the emperor. MacArthur signed on behalf of the Allied powers, while Admiral Chester Nimitz signed for the United States. Those in attendance included representatives of all the Allied powers, as well as such military officers as Admiral William Halsey and Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright. The ceremony, broadcast worldwide, lasted only 23 minutes, ending at 9:25 a.m. Minutes later, hundreds of Navy fighters and Army B-29s roared overhead in a prearranged show of American military might.

General Douglas MacArthur takes charge in Japan: A widely circulated photograph of General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito, taken on September 27, 1945, shocked the Japanese public, as it left little doubt as to who was now in charge of Japan. MacArthur successfully resisted efforts to put the defeated emperor on trial as a war criminal. He believed Hirohito would be of greater value as a symbol of continuity, as one who would discourage resistance to the occupation, and as an instrument to transform Japan into a democracy with a minimum of social upheaval. The emperor cooperated. He renounced his "divinity" and left MacArthur as the most powerful man in Japan.

"Tokyo Rose" signifies number of anti-American women broadcasters: Iva Toguri D'Aquino, a Japanese American woman, was trapped in Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She found a job at Radio Tokyo and eventually became a broadcaster named Orphan Annie on an anti-American program called The Zero Hour. When she returned to the U.S. after the war, she was tried for treason. However, it became evident that no one "Tokyo Rose" had existed. It was a name created by American troops to signify a number of women who broadcast anti-American propaganda during the war. Nevertheless, D'Aquino was found guilty of treason. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and was released after six years. President Gerald Ford pardoned her in 1977.

To follow more major events of World War II, see:

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:John S. D. Eisenhower, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Richard Overy Ph.D., David J. A. Stone, Wim Coleman, Martin F. Graham, James H. Hallas, Mark Johnston Ph.D., Christy Nadalin M.A., Pat Perrin, Peter Stanley Ph.D.


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