End of World War II
Friday, August 20, 2010
End of World War II
End of World War II
The formal surrender of the Japanese Imperial Government, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, and all Japanese and Japanese-controlled armed forces wherever located, was signed aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) at 0908 on 2 September 1945. Looking down upon the ceremony, to present a reminder of an earlier occasion on which Japanese truculence had been humbled by American sea power was the American Flag which had flown over Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's flagship USS Mississippi (Sidewheel Steamer) when he steamed into the Bay of Yedo (Tokyo Bay, as it was known after 1868) in 1853. An interesting sidelight concerning this 31-starred flag was the circumstance of its being framed in reverse, as a result of the obverse side's having suffered such decomposition from mildew that it had been necessary at some time in the flag's history to back that side with cotton batting.
Acting on behalf of Emperor Hirohito and of the Japanese Government, Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed first for Japan. The next to affix his signature to the surrender document was General Yosshijiro Umezu, Chief of Staff, Japanese Army Headquarters, who signed for the Imperial General Headquarters. Both Japanese emissaries, as well as the various Allied representatives, signed two documents - one for the Allies, and a duplicate to be retained by Japan.
As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General of the Army MacArthur, attended by Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright, defender of Bataan and Corregidor, and by Lieutenant General Arthur E. Percival, British commander at Singapore at the time of the Japanese conquest of that base, signed next. Both generals, recently released from a prison camp near Mukden, Manchuria, had been especially invited by General MacArthur to witness the surrender of Japan.
The Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers the called upon the other signatories in the following order:
For the United States - Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
For the Republic of China - General Hsu Yung-Chang.
For the United Kingdom - Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, GCB, KBE.
For the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Lieutenant General Kuzma Nikolaevish Derevyanko.
For the Commonwealth of Australia - General Sir Thomas Blamey.
For the Dominion of Canada - Colonel Lawrence Moore-Cosgrave.
For the Provisional Government of the French Republic - Major General Jacques LeClerc (Count Philippe de Hauteclocque).
For the United Kingdom of the Netherlands - Admiral C. E. L. Helfrich.
For the Dominion of New Zealand - Air Vice Marshall L. M. Isitt, RNZAF.
The complete text of the surrender articles signed by the Japanese and Allied representatives was as follows:
"We, acting by command of and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan, the Japanese Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, hereby accept the provisions in the declaration issued by the heads of the Governments of the United States, China, and Great Britain 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and subsequently to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which four powers are hereafter referred to as the Allied Powers.
"We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese Armed Forces and all Armed Forces under Japanese control wherever situated.
"We hereby command all Japanese forces wherever situated and the Japanese people to cease hostilities forthwith, to preserve and save from damage all ships, aircraft, and military and civil property, and to comply with all requirements which may be imposed by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or by agencies of the Japanese Government at his direction.
"We hereby command the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters to issue at once orders to the commanders of all Japanese forces and all forces under Japanese control wherever situated to surrender unconditionally themselves and all forces under their control.
"We hereby command all civil, military, and naval officials to obey and enforce all proclamations, orders, and directives deemed by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to be proper to effectuate this surrender and issued by him or under his authority; and we direct all such officials to remain at their posts and to continue to perform their non-combatant duties unless specifically relieved by him or under his authority.
"We hereby undertake for the Emperor, the Japanese Government, and their successors to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration in good faith, and to issue whatever orders and take whatever action may be required by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or by any other designated representative of the Allied Powers for the purpose of giving effect to that declaration.
"We hereby command the Japanese Imperial Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters at once to liberate all Allied Prisoners of War and civilian internees now under Japanese control and to provide for their protection, care, maintenance, and immediate transportation to places as directed.
"The authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the State shall be subject to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate these terms of surrender".
Immediately upon the signing of the surrender articles, the Supreme Commander ordered that the following proclamation be issued by Emperor Hirohito:
"Accepting the terms set forth in the declaration by the heads of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and China on July 26, 1945, at Potsdam and subsequently adhered to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, I have commanded the Japanese Imperial Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters to sign on my behalf the Instrument of Surrender presented by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers and to issue General Orders to the military and naval forces in accordance with the direction of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. I command all my people forthwith to cease hostilities, to lay down their arms, and faithfully to carry out all provisions of the Instrument of Surrender and the General Orders issued by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters hereunder.
"At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Japanese received copies of General Order No. One, prepared previously by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and approved by the President of the United states, containing instructions for disarming Japan. The General Order, which was to be issued through the Japanese Government, called upon all commanders in Japan and abroad to lay down their arms, cease hostilities at once, and to remain in their present locations, and it required that all Japanese except the police force in the main islands of Japan be disarmed.
It further provided that the Allied Powers should be furnished lists of all land, air, and anti-aircraft units, aircraft, naval and merchant vessels in or out of commission or under construction; maps of minefields and all other obstacles to movement by land, sea, or air should be provided; locations and descriptions of all military installations and establishments; and locations of all camps and other places of detention of United Nations prisoners of war and civilian internees. Other sections of the General Order stressed that all military and naval installations were to be kept intact, as well as all industrial establishments engaged in war work.
To implement the formal instrument of surrender, General Order No. 1 specified that immediate contact be made by each Japanese commander with the indicated Allied commander, or his designated representative, for each of the six surrender regions into which the Japanese area of influence was divided. These regions and the commanders to whom the surrenders would be tendered were as follows:
(a) The senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within China (excluding Manchuria), Formosa, and French Indo-China north of 16 degrees North, would surrender to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek.
(b) The senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces in the Japanese mandated islands, Ryukyus, Bonins, and other Pacific Islands were to surrender to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
(c) The Imperial General Headquarters, its senior commanders, and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces in the main islands of Japan, minor islands adjacent thereto, Korea south of 38 degrees North, and the Philippines should surrender to CinCAFPac.
(d) The senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within Manchuria, Korea north of 38 degrees North, Karafuto, and the Kurile Islands would surrender to the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Forces in the Far East.
(e) The senior Japanese commanders of all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within the Andamans, Nicobars, Burma, Thailand, French Indo-China (south of 16 degrees North), Malaya, Sumatra, Java, the Lesser Sundas (including Bali, Lombok, and Timor), Boeroe, Ceram, Ambon, Kai, Aroe, Tanimbar (and islands in the Arafura Sea), Celebes, the Halmaheras, and Dutch New Guinea would surrender to the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia Command, Lord Louis Mountbatten.
(f) The senior Japanese Commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within Borneo, British New Guinea, the Bismarcks, and the Solomons would surrender to the Commander-in- Chief, Australian Military Forces, General Sir Thomas Blamey.