General Douglas MacArthur signing Japanese surrender aboard USS Missouri, 2 September 1945.

Photo Credit: US National Archives.


With the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed by atomic weapons, the will of the Japanese leadership was tested. Then it came the news that the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, with troops crossing into northeastern China an hour later. These three reasons led to Emperor Showa’s decision to break the deadlock at his council which debated fruitlessly whether or not to respond to the Allies’ call for unconditional surrender. Surprising most of Japan, Emperor Showa of Japan announced his intention to surrender to the Allies unconditionally over public radio on 15 Aug 1945. The date of Japan’s formal surrender was 2 Sep 1945, and it took place aboard American battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.