Japan surrenders unconditionally, world at peace

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 1945 (UP) - Japan surrendered unconditionally tonight, bringing peace to the world after the bloodiest conflict mankind has known.

Peace came at 7 p.m. (E.W.T.) when President Truman announced that Tokyo accepted the Allied capitulation terms with no "qualification" and that Allied forces have been ordered to cease firing.


Gen. Douglas MacArthur, "the man who came back," was named supreme Allied commander to receive the formal Japanese surrender.

V-J Day will not be proclaimed officially until after the instruments of surrender are signed - probably in two or three days.

And tonight for the first time in history Emperor Hirohito broadcast to his stricken people telling them that he had accepted the Allied terms, describing the "cruel bomb" which the Allies had turned upon the Jap homeland and warning the people they face "great hardships and suffering."

World War II was at an end, except for the formality of signing surrender documents.


America's three allies in the Pacific war - Great Britain, Russia and China - will be represented at the signing by high-ranking officers.

Mr. Truman proclaimed the tidings after he received Tokyo's formal reply to the Allied surrender terms.

Summoning reporters to his office, he read a statement which said:

"I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam declaration which specified the unconditional surrender of Japan.

"In the reply there is no qualification."

Tokyo informed Mr. Truman that Emperor Hirohito is prepared "to authorize and insure the signature by the Japanese government and the imperial general headquarters of the necessary terms for carrying out the provisions of the Potsdam declaration.

"His Majesty is also prepared to issue his commands to all the military, naval and air authorities of Japan and all the forces under their control wherever located to cease active operations, to surrender arms and to issue such other orders as may be required by the supreme commander of the Allied forces for the execution of the above mentioned terms."

Tonight, another note went out to Tokyo. It directed the Japanese government to:

1-Order prompt cessation of hostilities and inform MacArthur of the effective date and hour.


2-Send emissaries at once to MacArthur with full power to make all arrangements necessary for MacArthur to arrive at the place designated by him for the formal surrender.

3-Acknowledge notification that MacArthur will name the time, place and other details for the formal surrender.

The formal surrender will take place either aboard an American battleship - probably the Missouri - or somewhere on Okinawa.

Thus was the "infamy" of Pearl Harbor fully avenged three years, eight months and seven days after Jap planes struck a nearly mortal blow against the United States without warning.

Japan had paid the full penalty for the treachery that plunged the United States into a two-front war - the costliest in all history.

In terms of blood and treasure, the great conflict had cost the United States more than 1,000,000 casualties and $300,000,000,000. The cost to the world was more than 55,000,000 casualties and a trillion dollars in money, materials and resources.

World War II ended six years - less 17 days - after Germany precipitated it by marching into Poland.

The end was announced calmly by Mr. Truman, who declared a two-day holiday - tomorrow and Thursday - for all Federal employees throughout the nation. He also declared those days legal holidays so that war-plant workers could be paid time and one-half.


He authorized Selective Service to reduce draft inductions immediately from 80,000 to 50,000 per month as a result of Japan's capitulation. Only men 26 or under will be drafted to fill that quota.

Bedlam broke loose in usually reserved Washington the moment the White House flashed the word that "it's all over."

A snowstorm of ticker tape went cascading into the streets. Horns tooted endlessly. Firecrackers exploded.

Crowds boiled out of restaurants, office buildings, hotels and taverns - shrieking and singing.

Within a few minutes a tremendous crowd gathered in front of the White House and in Lafayette Park across the street.

Harry S. Truman, the Missouri boy who became the No. 1 man of the land, stepped out on the lawn of the Executive Mansion with the First Lady.

A thundering cheer went up.

Mr. Truman, speaking into a microphone hitched to a public address system, had a few words to say extemporaneously.

"This is a great day," he began. "This is the day we've been looking for since Dec. 7, 1941.

"This is the day when Fascist and police governments cease to exist in the world. This is the day for democracy.

"It is the day when we can start the real task - the implementation of free government in the world.


"We face a real emergency ... I know we can meet it.

"We face the greatest task ever faced - the greatest emergency since Dec. 7, 1941. And it is going to take the help of all of you to do it.

"I know we are going to do it."

Thus did the President speak at one of the greatest - and most triumphant - moments in American history.

The finish of Japan - hastened by the fury of the atomic bomb, but long since assured by the sweat and blood and tears of an Allied people - came after endless hours of waiting for the Jap reply that carried the inevitable message: "Surrender."

Japan's doom was all but sealed when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima Aug. 5 (Aug. 6 in Japan). Then - four days later - Russia threw the weight of her mighty armies into the conflict.

On Aug. 10 Japan sued for peace. She offered to surrender provided that the sovereign prerogatives of the Emperor were not compromised.

But the Big Four - the United States, Britain, Russia and China - would brook no compromise.

They so informed Tokyo in a note dispatched from Washington at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Japan, they said, must surrender unconditionally. The Emperor could remain, but he must take orders from the supreme Allied commander - MacArthur.


Tokyo pondered the fateful issue. It stalled. It sparred for time - and then it yielded.

Japan's defeat was the first in more than 2,000 years of her history.

She fell before the greatest concentration of might in all history.

For the Allies, the road to victory - and peace - was long and hard and bloody.

Japan had hoped to conquer all of Asia; to rule all the Pacific - and divide up the world with Germany.

This was her hope on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, when her warplanes streaked in over Pearl Harbor while her emissaries talked "peace" in Washington.

This was their hope when the Jap naval leader - Isoruku Yamamoto - said after Pearl Harbor that he would dictate peace from the White House.

The peace was dictated from the White House, but not by Yamamoto, who is long since dead. It was dictated by President Truman in collaboration with Allied leaders.

When Japan hit Pearl Harbor and left most of the American battle Fleet a blazing shambles, she thought the war was over then and there. But she reckoned without the fighting spirit of America.

Prior to Pearl Harbor the United States was divided on the issue of having to go to war.


But the "infamy" of Pearl Harbor was Japan's greatest mistake as Hitler's was the invasion of Russia.

In its darkest hour the United States emerged completely united and answered the threat to her very existence, answered it with a miracle of might and production such as the world never dreamed of.

Out of the ashes of Pearl Harbor there came the mightiest Fleet in all history. There came the greatest aerial armada. And there came an unbeatable array of ground forces.

For six months after Pearl Harbor, the Jap navy roamed the Pacific at will. American possessions were gobbled up.

Tiny Wake Island and Guam were the first to go. Then came the Philippines. The glory and the agony of Bataan and Corregidor.

Japan, which also had devoured Malaya, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, thought then that she had the United States licked. But the United States was just starting.

The home front took another hitch in its belt. It produced a bridge of ships; a multitude of warplanes. It produced weapons not only for American boys fighting two wars half a world apart, but for their Allied comrades on two global fronts.

On the fighting fronts, the American boy dug in and stemmed Japan's advance. Japan's imperial fleet was slowed down in the Coral Sea Battle of May, 1942. It was gravely wounded in an abortive invasion attempt at Midway Island the following month. That turned the tide.


Then, on Aug. 7, 1942, the United States went on the offensive. Marines invaded Guadalcanal. There followed the New Guinea campaign, bloody Tarawa, the Marshalls, Guam, the Aleutians, MacArthur's return to the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa.

By land, sea and air, Allied forces poured it on. B-29 Superfortresses blasted Japan. American and British warships swept within sight of the enemy homeland and let the enemy have it.

Allied land forces moved closer and closer to Japan. They were poised for an invasion of Japan when the first atomic bomb fell.

While Tokyo assessed the destruction wrought by the atomic bomb, Russia hurled her might against the foe.

Last Friday she made her conditional surrender offer. The Big Four countered this the next day with counterterms - unconditional surrender.

Then, the world waited for Tokyo's reply. It waited all day Sunday and Monday. There was no answer. It began to appear that Japan was stalling. Allied impatience was growing thin. Superfortresses, which had observed an unofficial "truce," roared over Japan again today.

At 1:49 a.m. today, there came the first word - unofficially - that Tokyo had decided.

Tokyo radio announced at that hour that Japan would accept the Allied surrender terms.


But still there was no official reply from Tokyo.

Then, this afternoon, it became apparent that the long, agonizing wait was over. Switzerland, serving as go-between in the surrender dealings, announced that the Jap reply had arrived at Bern and was being transmitted to Washington.

Quickly, then, the tensest drama of the war unfolded.

President Truman stood by at the White House to receive the note which would bring an end to World War II.

Swiss Charge d'Affaires Max Grassli left for the State Department shortly before 6 p.m. to deliver the Japanese reply to Secretary of State James F. Byrnes.

He arrived at the State Department at 6:10 p.m., with a portfolio containing the historic answer and went immediately into Byrnes' office.

After transmission and decoding were completed, the Japanese note was delivered to Byrnes, who, in turn, took it to Truman. Britain, Russia and China were advised. Then the text was released simultaneously from Washington, London, Moscow and Chungking.

Tokyo Radio told its own people that the handwriting was on the wall.

It startled the world by interrupting a solemn dissertation on the cure of chilblains to flash this eight-word announcement:

"Flash-Tokyo-14/8-learned imperial message accepting Potsdam declaration forthcoming soon."


The news raced around the world and touched off wild victory celebrations.

But Washington remained calm - waiting for the official reply from Tokyo and not until it was received did the capital celebrate.

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