August 15, 1945, was the day that Japan made their official announcement of surrender. This is a bit confusing, because that was actually August 14 in the United States! August 15 is the official V-J Day for the UK.
On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri, which is why we in the United States don’t officially commemorate the end of the war until then.
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 9, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The Japanese government on August 10 communicated its intention to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.
(According to Wikipedia) In Chungking, Chinese fired firecrackers and “almost buried [Americans] in gratitude”. In Manila, residents sang “God Bless America”. On Okinawa, six men were killed and dozens were wounded as American soldiers “took every weapon within reach and started firing into the sky” to celebrate; ships sounded general quarters and fired anti-aircraft guns as their crews believed that a Kamikaze attack was occurring. On Tinian island, B-29 crews preparing for their next mission over Japan were told that it was cancelled, but that they could not celebrate because it might be rescheduled.
A little after noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito’s announcement of Japan’s acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast to the Japanese people over the radio. Earlier the same day, the Japanese government had broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that “acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation [would be] coming soon”, and had advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to U.S. President Harry S Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. A nationwide broadcast by Truman was aired at seven o’clock p.m. (daylight time in Washington, D.C.) on August 14 announcing the communication and that the formal event was scheduled for September 2.
Celebrations broke out all over the world.
I can’t really imagine what it must have been like to know, after years of deprivation and death, that the war was finally over, and the troops would be coming home! Thanks will never be enough to repay the sacrifices made by our parents and grandparents.