In what later became known as Victory Day, an official announcement of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies is made public to the world on August 14, 1945. Japan formally surrendered in writing two weeks later, on September 2, 1945.
Even though Japan’s War Council, urged by Emperor Hirohito, had already submitted a declaration of surrender to the Allies, via ambassadors, on August 10, fighting continued between the Japanese and the Soviets in Manchuria and between the Japanese and the United States in the South Pacific. In fact, two days after the Council agreed to surrender, a Japanese submarine attacked the Oak Hill, an American landing ship, and the Thomas F. Nickel, an American destroyer, both east of Okinawa.
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On the afternoon of August 14 (August 15 in Japan, because of time-zone differences), Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor. The news did not go over well, as more than 1,000 Japanese soldiers stormed the Imperial Palace in an attempt to find the proclamation and prevent its being transmitted to the Allies. Soldiers still loyal to Emperor Hirohito repulsed the attackers.
That evening, General Anami, the member of the War Council most adamant against surrender, committed suicide. His reason: to atone for the Japanese army’s defeat, and to be spared having to hear his emperor speak the words of surrender.
At the White House, U.S. president Harry S. Truman relayed the news to the American people; celebrations broke out in Washington, D.C. and across the country.
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