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Victory Over Japan Day


On September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered to the Allies aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. With the stroke of a pen, World War II was officially over. In his radio broadcast signaling the surrender, Allied supreme commander General Douglass MacArthur said, “Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won.”

This clip from the U.S. Army shows actual footage from Japan's surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945.

Japan’s surrender was originally announced in the United States on August 14, 1945. When announcing the news, President Harry S. Truman told the nation, “This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would.” The day was famously coined “Victory over Japan Day,” or “V-J Day”. The term was also used to mark Japan’s formal surrender on September 2.

V-J Day celebrations in Times Square. (Photo: Time Magazine)

In his victory speech aboard the Missouri, General MacArthur stated, "We have known the bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned there can be no turning back. We must go forward to preserve in peace what we won in war." As we look back 72 years later, we must never forget these unforgettable words or the final act that ended World War II.

Skip to 4:15 on the video above to watch actual footage from the Japanese surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945. (YouTube Video: Naval History and Heritage)

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