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    • Japan Surrenders - 2 September 1945

      On this day 78 years ago, World War II came to an end as Japan formally surrendered to the Allies aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. It was a historic moment that marked the culmination of a long and bloody war that claimed millions of lives and reshaped the world order.

      The Japanese surrender was not a sudden decision, but a result of a series of events that forced the Empire to face the reality of its defeat. By the summer of 1945, Japan had lost most of its territories in Asia and the Pacific, and its navy and air force were crippled by Allied attacks. The United States had also unleashed a new and devastating weapon: the atomic bomb, which obliterated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, killing tens of thousands of people and leaving many more injured and irradiated.

      The formal surrender ceremony took place on September 2, on board the USS Missouri, a battleship that had seen action in several battles in the Pacific. The choice of location was symbolic, as Tokyo Bay was where Commodore Matthew Perry had forced Japan to open up to the outside world in 1853. 

      The Japanese surrender marked the end of World War II, but also the beginning of a new era for Japan and the world. Japan underwent a series of reforms that transformed it from a militaristic empire to a democratic nation. Japan also renounced its right to wage war and adopted a pacifist constitution that remains in effect today.


      Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri as American General Richard K. Sutherland watches, 2 September 1945.

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