Posted on Wednesday, 2nd September 2009 by All Philippines

Japan’s surrender to the allied forces in World War II on September 2, 1945 formally marks the end of one of the bloodiest battles in world history.

On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito, the supreme leader of the Imperial Japanese Army and the citizens of Japan, made an announcement via radio declaring that Japan is finally accepting the terms stated on the Potsdam Declaration or the “unconditional surrender of Japan” in the ongoing Pacific war. This was a painful and difficult decision made by the Emperor because the surrender would be humiliating and demoralizing to the Japanese people but it was also a rightful decision as the Potsdam Declaration warned that if Japan rejects the declaration, the nation will face “a swift and absolute destruction”.

Actually earlier in July of 1945, Japan did initially ignore the proposals included in the Potsdam Declaration, giving birth to the term “mokusatsu” or “treat with silent contempt”. Even the then Premier of Japan, Kantaro Suzuki, announced to the press that the Potsdam Declaration “was just a rehash of the same old rejected proposals issued before by the allied forces to force the Japan surrender” and using the term “mokusatsu”, he announced to the press that this new proposal “will most definitely be silently ignored by the government of Japan”. This decision proved to be fatal for Japan and its people as the allied forces, led by the American armed force, dropped atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6, and August 9 respectively. This led to the final decision by Emperor Hirohito on August 15 to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration ending Japan’s participation in World War II.

In the Philippines, even after the announcement made by the Japanese Emperor on August 15 ending Japan’s campaign for Asian supremacy, the battle against the combined allied forces and Filipino troops and the last remaining Japanese forces, led by the “Tiger of Malaya” General Tomoyuki Yamashita, still rages on. The war only ended when General Yamashita and his troops finally surrendered in Kiangan, Ifugao Province on September 2, 1945.

With Japan’s acceptance to the terms and conditions of the Potsdam Declaration, a ceremony was held on September 2, 1945 for the formal acceptance and signing of the “Japanese Instrument of Surrender” or the “ultimate surrender agreement by the Japanese Empire” participated by both allied ranking officials (led by General Douglas MacArthur) as well as the Imperial Army of Japan emissaries. It was held aboard the USS Missouri. The ceremony lasted for 23 minutes and was broadcasted around the world.

Scenes from the “Japan’s Surrender Ceremony”, September 2, 1945.

Click to Enlarge

Pictures courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command


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