Japanese Instrument of Surrender

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Representatives of the Empire of Japan stand aboard USS Missouri prior to signing of the Instrument of Surrender. Surrender of Japan - USS Missouri.jpg
Representatives of the Empire of Japan stand aboard USS Missouri prior to signing of the Instrument of Surrender.

The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was the written agreement that formalized the surrender of the Empire of Japan, marking the end of World War II. It was signed by representatives from the Empire of Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of China, [note 1] the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Provisional Government of the French Republic, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Dominion of New Zealand. The signing took place on the deck of USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

Surrender of Japan surrender of the Empire of Japan during the World War II

The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was incapable of conducting major operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. Together with the British Empire and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction". While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders were privately making entreaties to the still-neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms more favorable to the Japanese. Meanwhile, the Soviets were preparing to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea in fulfillment of promises they had secretly made to the United States and the United Kingdom at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.

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The date is sometimes known as Victory over Japan Day, although that designation more frequently refers to the date of Emperor Hirohito's Gyokuon-hōsō (Imperial Rescript of Surrender), the radio broadcast announcement of the acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration at noon Japan Standard Time on August 15.

Victory over Japan Day day on which Japan surrendered, effectively ending World War II

Victory over Japan Day is the day on which Imperial Japan surrendered in World War II, in effect bringing the war to an end. The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan's surrender was made – to the afternoon of August 15, 1945, in Japan, and because of time zone differences, to August 14, 1945 – as well as to September 2, 1945, when the signing of the surrender document occurred, officially ending World War II.

Hirohito Emperor of Japan from 1926 until 1989

Hirohito was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 25 December 1926, until his death on 7 January 1989. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Akihito. In Japan, reigning emperors are known simply as "the Emperor" and he is now referred to primarily by his posthumous name, Emperor Shōwa (昭和天皇). The word Shōwa (昭和) is the name of the era coinciding with the Emperor's reign, after which he is known according to a tradition dating to 1912. The name Hirohito means "abundant benevolence".

Potsdam Declaration Article 8

The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender was a statement that called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S. Truman, United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chairman of the Nationalist Government of China Chiang Kai-shek issued the document, which outlined the terms of surrender for the Empire of Japan as agreed upon at the Potsdam Conference. This ultimatum stated that, if Japan did not surrender, it would face "prompt and utter destruction".

Surrender ceremony

Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signing the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Government, formally ending World War II Shigemitsu-signs-surrender.jpg
Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signing the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Government, formally ending World War II
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur signing the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Allied Powers Douglas MacArthur signs formal surrender.jpg
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur signing the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Allied Powers

The ceremony aboard the deck of the Missouri lasted 23 minutes and was broadcast throughout the world. The instrument was first signed by the Japanese foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu "By Command and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government" (9:04 am). [1] General Yoshijirō Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, then signed the document "By Command and on behalf of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters" (9:06 am). [1] [2] The Japanese representatives present for the signing were the following:

Mamoru Shigemitsu Japanese diplomat and politician in the Empire of Japan

Mamoru Shigemitsu was a Japanese diplomat and politician in the Empire of Japan, who served as the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs at the end of World War II and later, as the Deputy Prime Minister of Japan.

Yoshijirō Umezu Japanese general

Yoshijirō Umezu was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. He was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Katsuo Okazaki Japanese athlete-politician

Katsuo Okazaki was a Japanese sportsman, diplomat and political figure. He served as the Japanese foreign minister in the 1950s. He was also the final – and only Japanese – chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council.

Toshikazu Kase Japanese diplomat

Toshikazu Kase was a Japanese civil servant and career diplomat. During World War II he was a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official. Hideaki Kase is his son and Yoko Ono is his niece.

At 9:08 a.m., U.S. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, accepted the surrender on behalf of the Allied Powers and signed in his capacity as Supreme Commander. [4]

General of the Army (United States) Second highest possible rank in the United States Army

General of the Army is a five-star general officer and the second highest possible rank in the United States Army. A General of the Army ranks immediately above a general and is equivalent to a Fleet Admiral and a General of the Air Force. There is no established equivalent five-star rank in the other federal uniformed services. Often called a "five-star general", the rank of General of the Army has historically been reserved for wartime use and is not currently active in the U.S. military. The General of the Army insignia consisted of five 3/8th inch stars in a pentagonal pattern, with points touching. The insignia is paired with the gold and enameled United States Coat of Arms on service coat shoulder loops. The silver colored five-star metal insignia alone would be worn for use as a collar insignia of grade and on the garrison cap. Soft shoulder epaulettes with five 7/16th inch stars in silver thread and gold-threaded United States Coat of Arms on green cloth were worn with shirts and sweaters.

Douglas MacArthur U.S. Army general of the army, field marshal of the Army of the Philippines

Douglas MacArthur was an American five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign, which made him and his father Arthur MacArthur Jr. the first father and son to be awarded the medal. He was one of only five to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the US Army, and the only one conferred the rank of field marshal in the Philippine Army.

Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers

The Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Allied occupation of Japan following World War II. It issued SCAP Directive to the Japanese government, aiming to transform it into a non-terrorist nation.

After MacArthur's signature as Supreme Commander, the following representatives signed the instrument of surrender on behalf of each of the Allied Powers:

Fleet admiral (United States) rank in the United States Navy

Fleet admiral, officially known as "Fleet Admiral of the United States Navy", is a five-star flag officer rank in the United States Navy. Fleet admiral ranks immediately above admiral and is equivalent to General of the Army and General of the Air Force. Although it is a current and authorized rank, no U.S. Navy officer presently holds it, with the last living U.S. Navy fleet admiral being Chester W. Nimitz, who died in 1966.

Chester W. Nimitz United States Navy fleet admiral

Chester William Nimitz, Sr. was a fleet admiral of the United States Navy. He played a major role in the naval history of World War II as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, commanding Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II.

A General Officer is an officer of high rank in the army, and in some nations' air forces or marines.

The UK invited Dominion governments to send representatives to the ceremony as subordinates to its own. MacArthur supported the government of Australia's demand to attend and sign separately from the UK, although Australia objected to his recommendation that Canada, the Netherlands, and France also sign the document. [14]

On September 6, Colonel Bernard Theilen took the document and an imperial rescript to Washington, D.C., and presented them to President Harry S. Truman in a formal White House ceremony the following day. The documents were then exhibited at the National Archives.

Flags at the ceremony

Commodore Perry's flag was flown from Annapolis, Maryland to Tokyo for display at the surrender ceremonies which officially ended World War II. Perry flag 1945.jpg
Commodore Perry's flag was flown from Annapolis, Maryland to Tokyo for display at the surrender ceremonies which officially ended World War II.

The deck of the Missouri was furnished with two American flags. A commonly heard story is that one of the flags had flown over the White House on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. However, Captain Stuart Murray of USS Missouri explained:

At eight o'clock we had hoisted a clean set of colors at the mainmast and a clean Union Jack [of the United States] at the bow as we were at anchor, and I would like to add that these were just regular ship's flags, GI issue, that we'd pulled out of the spares, nothing special about them, and they had never been used anywhere so far as we know, at least they were clean and we had probably gotten them in Guam in May. So there was nothing special about them. Some of the articles in the history say this was the same flag that was flown on the White House or the National Capitol on 7 December 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and at Casablanca, and so forth, also MacArthur took it up to Tokyo and flew it over his headquarters there. The only thing I can say is they were hard up for baloney, because it was nothing like that. It was just a plain ordinary GI-issue flag and a Union Jack. We turned them both into the Naval Academy Museum when we got back to the East Coast in October.

The only special flag that was there was a flag which Commodore Perry had flown on his ship out in that same location 82 years before [sic: the actual number of years was 92]. It was flown out in its glass case from the Naval Academy Museum. An officer messenger brought it out. We put this hanging over the door of my cabin, facing forward, on the surrender deck so that everyone on the surrender deck could see it. [15]

That special flag on the veranda deck of the Missouri had been flown from Commodore Matthew Perry's flagship in 1853–54 when he led the U.S. Navy's Far East Squadron into Tokyo Bay to force the opening of Japan's ports to foreign trade. MacArthur was a direct descendant of the New England Perry family and cousin of Commodore Matthew Perry.

Photographs of the signing ceremony show that this flag is displayed backward—reverse side showing (stars in the upper right corner). This was because American flags on the right of an object plane, ship, or person have the stars on the upper right corner, to look like the flag is heading into battle—as if attached to a pole and someone is carrying it. Stars in the upper left of a flag displayed on the right side of the object would make the flag look like it was going away from battle. The cloth of the historic flag was so fragile that the conservator at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum directed that a protective backing be sewn on it, leaving its "wrong side" visible; and this was how Perry's 31-star flag was presented on this unique occasion. [16]

A replica of this historic flag can be seen today on the Surrender Deck of the Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor. This replica is also placed in the same location on the bulkhead of the veranda deck where it had been initially mounted on the morning of September 2, 1945, [16] by Chief Carpenter Fred Miletich. [1] The original flag is still on display at the Naval Academy Museum, as is the table and tablecloth upon which the instrument of surrender was signed, and the original bronze plaque marking the location of the signing (which was replaced by two replicas in 1990).

Differences between versions

Japan Instrument of Surrender 2 September 1945.jpg
Instrument of surrender Japan2.jpg
The Japanese and Allied copies of the Instrument of Surrender

The Japanese copy of the treaty varied from the Allied in the following ways:

Current locations

The Allied copy of the Instrument is at the United States National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.. A replica of the Japanese version can be viewed at the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo.

As witnesses, American general Jonathan Wainwright, who had surrendered the Philippines, and British lieutenant-general Arthur Percival, who had surrendered Singapore, received two of the six pens used by General MacArthur to sign the instrument. Another pen went to the West Point military academy, and one to MacArthur's aide. All of the pens used by MacArthur were black, except the last, which was plum-colored and went to his wife. A replica of it, along with copies of the instrument of surrender, is in a case on Missouri by the plaque marking the signing spot. The model of the USS Missouri in the National Museum of the United States Navy at the Washington Navy Yard, has a scale replica of the signing table in the correct location.

See also

Post-war:

Other Axis:

Notes

  1. Not to be confused with the People's Republic of China which did not then exist.
  2. The Soviet Union had only declared war on Japan a month earlier, after the Hiroshima bombing.

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References

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  2. photo at AWM of Umezu signing. Archived 2008-10-05 at the Wayback Machine
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  4. Prepared by the War Department. Approved by President Truman (1945). Japanese Instrument of Surrender Japanese Instrument of Surrender Japanese Instrument of Surrender  .
  5. photo at AWM, Nimitz signing. Archived 2012-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
  6. AWM photo, Hsu Yung-chang signing. Archived 2012-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
  7. photo at AWM, Fisher signing. Archived 2012-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
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  9. AWM photo, Blamey about to sign. Archived 2012-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
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  11. AWM photo, Leclerc signing. Archived 2012-08-13 at the Wayback Machine
  12. AWM photo, Helfrich signing. Archived 2012-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
  13. AWM photo, Isitt signing. Archived 2012-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Wood, James. "The Australian Military Contribution to the Occupation of Japan, 1945–1952" (PDF). Australian War Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-04. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  15. Murray, Stuart. "Reminiscences of the Surrender of Japan and the End of World War II". USS Missouri Memorial Association. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
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  17. Ellwand, Geoff (27 April 2006). "Making a mess of history". CBC News . Archived from the original on 19 October 2012., "... Peace Be Now Restored". Time . 10 September 1945.

Coordinates: 35°21′17″N139°45′36″E / 35.35472°N 139.76000°E / 35.35472; 139.76000