<< Back to Veterans Corner

History of the End of World War II

On Aug. 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both Aug. 14 and 15 have been known as “Victory Over Japan Day,” or simply “V-J Day.” The term has also been used for Sept. 2, 1945, when Japan’s formal surrender took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. Coming several months after the surrender of Nazi Germany, Japan’s capitulation in the Pacific brought six years of hostilities to a final and highly anticipated close.

From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Japan’s devastating surprise aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, capped a decade of deteriorating relations between Japan and the United States and led to an immediate U.S. declaration of war the following day. Japan’s ally Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, then declared war on the United States, turning the war raging in Europe into a truly global conflict. Over the next three years, superior technology and productivity allowed the Allies to wage an increasingly one-sided war against Japan in the Pacific, inflicting enormous casualties while suffering relatively few. By 1945, in an attempt to break Japanese resistance before a land invasion became necessary, the Allies were consistently bombarding Japan from air and sea, dropping some 100,000 tons of explosives on more than 60 Japanese cities and towns between March and July 1945 alone.

The Potsdam Declaration, issued by Allied leaders on July 26, 1945, called on Japan to surrender; if it did, it was promised a peaceful government according to “the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.” If it did not, it would face “prompt and utter destruction.” The embattled Japanese government in Tokyo refused to surrender, and on Aug. 6, the American B-29 plane Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, killing more than 70,000 people and destroying a 5-square-mile expanse of the city. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 40,000.

Important Dates in September

The month of September has many important days. Here are just a few:

September is National Suicide Prevention Month

Sept 2 – V-J Day

Sept 11 – Patriot Day

Sept 17 – National POW/MIA Day

Sept.18 – U.S. Air Force birthday (74 Years)

Sept. 26 – Gold Star Mother’s Day

Sept 29 – VFW Day

Till next week, praying for all service members.

 

– Charles Castelluccio

<< Back to Veterans Corner