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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 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".
The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced by Hirohito 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 publicly neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms more favorable to the Japanese. While maintaining a sufficient level of diplomatic engagement with the Japanese to give them the impression they might be willing to mediate, the Soviets were covertly 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.
The Armed Forces of the Empire of Japan during that Empire's existence from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 through the Second World War until the signing of the Constitution of Japan (1868–1947) included the:
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.
On July 26, the United States, Britain, and China released the Potsdam Declaration announcing the terms for Japan's surrender, with the warning as an ultimatum: "We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay." For Japan, the terms of the declaration specified:
An ultimatum is a demand whose fulfillment is requested in a specified period of time and which is backed up by a threat to be followed through in case of noncompliance. An ultimatum is generally the final demand in a series of requests. As such, the time allotted is usually short, and the request is understood not to be open to further negotiation. The threat which backs up the ultimatum can vary depending on the demand in question and on the other circumstances.
The Allied occupation of Japan at the end of World War II was led by General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, with support from the British Commonwealth. Unlike in the occupation of Germany, the Soviet Union was allowed little to no influence over Japan. This foreign presence marks the only time in Japan's history that it has been occupied by a foreign power.At MacArthur's insistence, Emperor Hirohito remained on the imperial throne. The wartime cabinet was replaced with a cabinet acceptable to the Allies and committed to implementing the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, which among other things called for the country to become a parliamentary democracy. Under MacArthur's guidance, the Japanese government introduced sweeping social reforms and implemented economic reforms that recalled American "New Deal" priorities of the 1930's under President Roosevelt. The Japanese constitution was comprehensively overhauled and the Emperor's theoretically-vast powers, which for many centuries had been constrained by conventions that had evolved over time, became strictly limited by law. The occupation, codenamed Operation Blacklist, was ended by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, and effective from April 28, 1952, after which Japan's sovereignty – with the exception, until 1972, of the Ryukyu Islands – was fully restored.
The Allies of World War II, called the "United Nations" from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
Honshu is the largest and most populous island of Japan, located south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Straits. The island separates the Sea of Japan, which lies to its north and west, from the North Pacific Ocean to its south and east. It is the seventh-largest island in the world, and the second-most populous after the Indonesian island of Java.
On the other hand, the declaration offered that:
Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The term "freedom of expression" is sometimes used synonymously but includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one's religion or beliefs.
Freedom of thought is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, independent of others' viewpoints.
The mention of "unconditional surrender" came at the end of the declaration:
An unconditional surrender is a surrender in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times, unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law. Announcing that only unconditional surrender is acceptable puts psychological pressure on a weaker adversary, but may also prolong hostilities. Perhaps the most notable unconditional surrender was by the Axis powers in World War II.
Contrary to what had been intended at its conception, which was to disenfranchise the Japanese leadership so the people would accept a mediated transition; the declaration made no direct mention of the Emperor at all. It did, however, insist that "the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest must be eliminated for all time".Allied intentions on issues of utmost importance to the Japanese, including the extent and number of Allied "occupation points", the fate of Japan's minor islands, and the extent to which the Allies planned to "control" Japan's "raw materials", as well as whether Hirohito was to be regarded as one of those who had "misled the people of Japan" or whether the Emperor might potentially become part of "a peacefully inclined and responsible government", were thus left unstated, essentially a blank check for the Allies.
The "prompt and utter destruction" clause has been interpreted as a veiled warning about American possession of the atomic bomb which had been successfully tested in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, the day before the Potsdam Conference opened. Although the document warned of further destruction like the Operation Meetinghouse raid on Tokyo and other carpetbombing of Japanese cities, it did not mention anything about the atomic bomb.
A major aspect relating to the Potsdam Declaration was that it was intended to be ambiguous. It is not clear from the document itself whether a Japanese government was to remain under Allied occupation or whether the occupation would be run by a foreign military government. In the same manner, it was not clear whether after the end of the occupation Japan was to include any territory other than the four main Japanese islands, i.e., whether the set or sets of islands potentially satisfying the description "such minor islands as [the Allies] determine" included the empty set. This ambiguity was intentional on the part of the U.S. government in order to allow the Allies a free hand in running the affairs of Japan afterwards.
The Declaration was released to the press in Potsdam on the evening of July 26 and simultaneously transmitted to the Office of War Information (OWI) in Washington. By 5 p.m. Washington time, OWI's West Coast transmitters, aimed at the Japanese home islands, were broadcasting the text in English, and two hours later began broadcasting it in Japanese. Simultaneously, American bombers dropped over 3 million leaflets describing the declaration over Japan. The Declaration was never transmitted to the Japanese government through diplomatic channels. Although picking up enemy propaganda leaflets and listening to foreign radio broadcasts (in Japan) was illegal, the American propaganda efforts were successful in making the key points of the declaration known to most Japanese.[ citation needed ]
The terms of the declaration were hotly debated within the Japanese government. Upon receiving the declaration, Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō hurriedly met with Prime Minister Kantarō Suzuki and Cabinet Secretary Hisatsune Sakomizu. Sakomizu recalled that all felt the declaration must be accepted. Despite being sympathetic to accepting the terms, Tōgō felt it was vague concerning the eventual form of government for Japan, disarmament, and the fate of accused war criminals, and still had hope that the Soviet Union would agree to mediate negotiations with the Western Allies to obtain clarifications and revisions of the declaration's terms. Shortly afterwards, Tōgō met with Emperor Hirohito, and advised him to treat the declaration with the utmost circumspection, but that a reply should be postponed until the Soviet response to the Japanese request to mediate peace. Hirohito stated that the declaration was "acceptable in principle". Meanwhile, the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War met the same day to discuss the declaration. War Minister Korechika Anami, General Yoshijirō Umezu, and Admiral Teijirō Toyoda opposed accepting the declaration, arguing that the terms were "too dishonorable", and advised that the Japanese government openly reject it. Suzuki, Tōgō, and Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai leaned towards accepting it, but agreed that clarification was needed over the status of the Emperor. Tōgō's suggestion that the government not respond until it received the Soviet response was accepted.
At a press conference with the Japanese press in Tokyo, Suzuki stated that the Japanese policy towards the declaration would be one of mokusatsu (黙殺, lit. "killing with silence"), which the United States interpreted as meaning "rejection by ignoring", leading to a decision by the White House to carry out the threat of destruction. Subsequent to the White House decision, the United States Army Air Forces dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and then the second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki three days later on August 9, 1945. These two bombings devastated the two cities, killing tens of thousands of people and destroying much of the cities' infrastructure as well as military bases and factories in a matter of seconds in a radius that stretched for more than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers).
However, the word mokusatsu can also mean "withholding comment".Since World War II, it has been alleged that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were attributable to English translations of mokusatsu having misrepresented Suzuki as rejecting the terms of the Potsdam Declaration; however, this claim is not universally accepted.
In a widely broadcast speech after the bombing of Hiroshima, which was picked up by Japanese news agencies, President Truman warned that if Japan failed to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, it could "expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth". Missouri on September 2, 1945. The radio announcement to the Japanese people was the first time many of them had actually heard the voice of the Emperor.As a result, Prime Minister Suzuki felt compelled to meet the Japanese press, to whom he reiterated his government's commitment to ignore the Allies' demands and fight on. The extent of the Allies' demands brought home to the Japanese leaders and people the extent of the success Japan's enemies had achieved in the war. Subsequent to the receipt of the Potsdam Declaration, the Japanese Government attempted to maintain the issue of the Emperor's administrative prerogative within the Potsdam Declaration through its surrender offer of August 10, but in the end had to take comfort with Secretary of State James F. Byrnes' reply "From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms." Thus, at 1200 JST on August 15, 1945, the Emperor announced his acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, which culminated in the surrender documents signature on board the USS
On August 9, 1945, Stalin, based on a secret agreement at the Yalta Conference in February, unilaterally abrogated the USSR's Neutrality Treaty with Japan (1941) and declared war on Japan on August 9, 1945, beginning the Soviet–Japanese War. The Soviets invaded Manchuria on three fronts.
The Potsdam Declaration was intended from the start to serve as legal basis for handling Japan after the war. [ clarification needed ] Following the surrender of the Japanese government and the landing of General McArthur in Japan in September 1945, the Potsdam Declaration served as legal basis[ citation needed ] for occupation reforms.
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, Shōwa (昭和), which is the name of the era coinciding with his reign; for this reason, he is also known as the "Shōwa Emperor" or "Emperor Shōwa".
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 17 July to 2 August 1945. The participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, represented respectively by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee, and President Harry S. Truman.
The Potsdam Agreement was the August 1945 agreement between three of the Allies of World War II, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union. It concerned the military occupation and reconstruction of Germany, its borders, and the entire European Theatre of War territory. It also addressed Germany's demilitarisation, reparations and the prosecution of war criminals.
The Jewel Voice Broadcast was the radio broadcast in which Japanese Emperor Hirohito read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the Greater East Asia War, announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II. This speech was broadcast at noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945.
The Cairo Declaration was the outcome of the Cairo Conference in Cairo, Egypt, on November 27, 1943. President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China were present. The declaration developed ideas from the 1941 Atlantic Charter, which was issued by the Allies of World War II to set goals for the post-war order. The Cairo Communiqué was broadcast through radio on December 1, 1943.
The Treaty of San Francisco, Peace Treaty with Japan or commonly known as the Treaty of Peace with Japan, Peace Treaty of San Francisco, or San Francisco Peace Treaty), mostly between Japan and the Allied Powers, was officially signed by 49 nations on September 8, 1951, in San Francisco, California. It came into force on April 28, 1952 and officially ended the American-led Allied Occupation of Japan. According to Article 11 of the Treaty, Japan accepts the judgments of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and of other Allied War Crimes Courts imposed on Japan both within and outside Japan.
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.
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), also known as the Tokyo Trial or the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, was a military trial convened on April 29, 1946, to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for joint conspiracy to start and wage war, conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Mokusatsu (黙殺) is a Japanese word meaning "ignore", "take no notice of" or "treat with silent contempt". It is composed of two kanji characters: 黙 and 殺. It is one of the terms frequently cited to argue that problems encountered by Japanese in the sphere of international politics arise from misunderstandings or mistranslations of their language.
Shigenori Tōgō was Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Empire of Japan at both the start and the end of the Japanese–Allied conflict during World War II. He also served as Minister of Colonial Affairs in 1941, and assumed the same position, renamed the Minister for Greater East Asia, in 1945.
The end of World War II in Asia occurred on 2 September 1945, when armed forces of the Empire of Japan surrendered to the forces of the Allies. The surrender came almost four months after the surrender of the Axis forces in Europe and brought an end to World War II.
Taiwan Retrocession Day is an annual observance and unofficial holiday in the Republic of China to commemorate the end of 50 years of Japanese rule of Taiwan and Penghu, and their claimed handover to the Republic of China on 25 October 1945. However, the idea of "Taiwan retrocession" is in dispute.
Hiroshima is a 1995 Japanese-Canadian war drama film directed by Koreyoshi Kurahara and Roger Spottiswoode about the decision-making processes that led to the dropping of the atomic bombs by the United States on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki toward the end of World War II. The three-hour film was made for television and evidently had no theatrical release, but is available on DVD for home viewing.
The Operation August Storm was a military conflict within World War II beginning soon after midnight on August 9, 1945, with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. The Soviets and Mongolians terminated Japanese control of Manchukuo, Mengjiang, northern Korea, Karafuto, and the Chishima Islands. The defeat of Japan's Kwantung Army helped in the Japanese surrender and the termination of World War II. The Soviet entry into the war was a significant factor in the Japanese government's decision to surrender unconditionally, as it made apparent the Soviet Union would no longer be willing to act as a third party in negotiating an end to hostilities on conditional terms.
The debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki concerns the ethical, legal, and military controversies surrounding the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 August and 9 August 1945 at the close of World War II (1939–45). The Soviet Union declared war on Japan an hour before 9 August and invaded Manchuria at one minute past midnight; Japan surrendered on 15 August.
The Kyūjō incident was an attempted military coup d'état in the Empire of Japan at the end of the Second World War. It happened on the night of 14–15 August 1945, just before the announcement of Japan's surrender to the Allies. The coup was attempted by the Staff Office of the Ministry of War of Japan and many from the Imperial Guard to stop the move to surrender.
Shun'ichi Kase was a Japanese diplomat both during and after World War II.
The Emperor in August is a 2015 Japanese historical drama film directed by Masato Harada. It was released on August 8, 2015.
The Empire of Japan entered World War II by launching a surprise offensive which opened with the attack on Pearl Harbor at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time on December 7, 1941. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Borneo, Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The strategic goals of the offensive were to cripple the U.S. Pacific fleet, capture oil fields in the Dutch East Indies, and expand the outer reaches of the Japanese Empire to create a formidable defensive perimeter around newly acquired territory.
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