Japanese surrender

11th Airborne Honor Guard

11th Airborne Honor Guard

The above photo shows the 11th Airborne Reconnaissance Battalion Honor Guard as they presented arms to the Allied and Japanese delegations upon their arrival.

General Douglas MacArthur, despite the irate fuming of the Soviets, was to be the Supreme Commander in Japan for the Occupation and rebuilding of the country. No occupational zone was given to the Russians irregardless of their protests. The Soviets were insisting that they were to receive the Kuriles, Hokkaido and northern Honshu as their ‘spoils of war.’ Stalin sent an emissary with these plans to MacArthur, who in reply threatened to sent the messenger back to Moscow rather than allow him to remain in his observer status. Stalin also sent a telegram to Truman with the same demands. At first, the president felt he would just ignore the irrational request, but then decided to just send a negative reply. The Soviet plan for the takeover was in effect until 23 August, when the Russian leader realized that Admiral Nimitz controlled the Japanese waters and he would be risking an armed conflict.

the decks of the USS Missouri

the decks of the USS Missouri

At 0700 hours on Sunday morning, 2 September, guests to the Japanese surrender ceremony began arriving as destroyers pulled up to the USS Missouri and unloaded their passengers, military officers and correspondents from around the globe. At 0805 hours, Admiral Nimitz climbed on board and MacArthur at 0843. Finally, the Japanese delegation went up the starboard gangway at 0855. Foreign Minister, Mamoru Shigemitsu, using a cane and in agony because of a poorly fitted artificial leg, and General Umezu were followed by nine representatives, three each from the Army, Navy and Foreign Office. They paused, awaiting directions, each wearing a Shiran Kao (nonchalant face). The proceedings began at precisely 0908 hours with men draped from the decks and 450 aircraft from Task Force 38 roaring above in the overcast skies.

Japan's instrument of surrender documents, 2 Sept. 1945

Japan’s instrument of surrender documents, 2 Sept. 1945

An invocation was read by the ship’s chaplain with the entire company standing at attention and a recording of the “Star-Spangled Banner” played through the speakers. Kase, the Foreign Minister’s secretary, felt his throat constrict upon seeing the number of small painted Rising Suns on the bulkhead. Each miniature flag represented a Japanese plan or submarine destroyed. Admiral Tomioka wondered why the Americans were showing no signs of contempt for them, but also, anger seared through him at the sight of the Soviet presence. The eyes of General Percival and Colonel Ichizi Sugita (interpreter) locked as they both remembered an earlier surrender and their painful memory at the Ford factory in Singapore.

The N.Y. "Daily News" photo of 3 September 1945 (From Everett's scrapbook) Cartoon was on the opposite page.

The N.Y. “Daily News” photo of 3 September 1945 (From Everett’s scrapbook) Cartoon was on the opposite page.

Generals Wainwright and Percival stood with MacArthur as he began to speak, “We are gathered here to conclude a solemn agreement whereby Peace may be restored…” (There was a brief interruption by an inebriated delegate [thankfully NOT American] who began making faces at the Japanese.)

When the general had finished and the U.S. and Japan had signed the documents, as if on cue, the sun broke through the clouds. The next to sign was China, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand. MacArthur announced, “These proceedings are closed.” He then leaned over to Admiral Halsey and asked, “Bill, where the hell are those planes?” As if the pilots could hear the general’s irritation – 400 B-29s and 1,500 aircraft carrier planes appeared out of the north and roared toward the mists of Mount Fujiyama.

F4U's F6F's fly in formation during the ceremonies,  USS Missouri is in left foreground

F4U’s F6F’s fly in formation during the ceremonies, USS Missouri is in left foreground

MacArthur then went over to another microphone to broadcast back to the United States, “Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended…” Japan’s delegates, now no longer considered the enemy, were saluted as they left the quarterdeck.

########################################################################################

Historical note – Almost a century before these proceedings, Commodore Perry had opened the West’s door to Japan. In commemoration of this, Admiral Halsey arranged for the actual Stars & Stripes, flown by Perry’s flagship in 1853, to be flown out to Japan for the ceremonies.

#########################################################################################

Note of Interest – Truman was very pleased that the “USS Missouri” was chosen for the momentous occasion. It was one of the four largest battleships in the world, it was named after his home state and christened by his daughter, Margaret. (I find it hard to believe that this was just a coincidence.)

#########################################################################################

Humorous note – On 1 September, the “Missouri’s” gunnery officer, Commander Bird, held a dress rehearsal for the ceremonies with 300 of the ship’s sailors. Everything went well until the band began to play the “Admiral’s March.” The stocky chief boatswain’s mate nicknamed, Two-Gut,” froze in his steps and scratched his head saying, “I’ll be damned! Me, an admiral!”

When the real Admiral Nimitz came aboard, he nearly went unnoticed. In desperation, Commander Bird shouted, “Attention, all hands!” Everyone on the ship became so silent that you could hear the waves lapping at the ship’s hull.

##########################################################################################

General Douglas MacArthur - USS Missouri

General Douglas MacArthur – USS Missouri

##########################################################################################

Resources: “The Last Great Victory” by Stanley Weintraub; “The Rising Sun” by John Toland; Wikicommons.org; ibilio.org; USS Missouri.com; Everett’s scrapbook; “The Pacific War” by John Costello

Remember to click photo if larger view is required. Thank you for stopping by.

Advertisements

About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on April 11, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 73 Comments.

  1. While I enjoy reading all of your articles, I also like the little side notes you give. Have to agree that Margaret christening the USS Missouri and then having it be the ship of choice was not a coincidence. But then I don’t really believe in coincidence. Everything seems to happen for a reason.

    Like

  2. Was a bit staggered to see that you’re one of the few remaining surviving Vets of WWII. Glad to “meet” you.

    Like

  3. Interesting comments on Japanese planes over California. Being Irish I only remember the European theater of war. I recall some joking on the BBC when an Italian plane was spotted attempted to bomb England, the broadcast said something like, go home and stick with selling ice cream

    Like

    • Cute story – never heard that one. So much more is known and written about the ETO, another reason (besides my father) why I chose to concentrate on the Pacific. Many think the Army was in the ETO and only the Marines went to the Pacific.

      Like

  4. Excellent, what a website it is! This weblog presents helpful information to us,
    keep it up.

    Like

  5. I enjoyed this post immensely. Thank you.

    Like

  6. Where would Japanese planes over California take off from? No enemy carrier came closer than the Hawaiian Islands (latitude 155W) or the Aleutians (latitude 164W). LA on the west coast was at latitude 118W, easily over 2,000 miles east. That’s quite a bit farther then the range of Japanese carrier aircraft. Let alone further inland.
    PBS had a program on last year about the Japanese effort to launch folding bombers from submarines to attack the Panama Canal. That was their best effort to attack targets east of Hawaii and it was never completed in time.
    The gentleman who previously repeated the stories his relatives told him about Japanese-American farmers planting clues to guide Japanese bombers to our war factories is, of course, entitled to his opinions and may personally believe the stories to be true. But I would have to suggest that war propaganda and the need to excuse the treatment of the Japanese-Americans during the war is the likely source.

    “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” ― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    As the saying goes, I’ve got a dog in this fight. My father-in-law was a Nisei, born in Hawaii and served in the US Army during WWII. Many of my late wife’s relatives were sent to the American camps for the duration, while my father-in-law was (atypically) serving in the Pacific near enough to the fighting to pick up the Japanese tactical radio broadcasts. He was selected for this dangerous duty due to his excellent command of spoken and written Japanese.
    To quote Robert Stack in “1941”;”There will be no bombs dropped here!”.

    Like

    • As you said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am still researching for the Enemies on the Homefront post and as yet, I have only found cases of false alarms as far as airplanes in California. Bombings did occur from subs. I find the idea of interment horrendous and am sorry your in-laws experienced such an awful period in our history.

      Like

      • “No Ulterior Motive” tracked me down to my blog and we exchanged friendly comments about the origin of the Zero sightings over the Continental USA.
        I seemed to remember a narrative written by a WWII American pilot who remarked that when the F6F Hellcat was first operational the pilots flying them realized that they were getting shot at by their own troops and AA more often then in the F4F. The wingtips of the F6F were more rounded (like a Zero) and the shape of the tail was more similar also.
        I occurs to me that the development of the Hellcat (and other new designs) would be unfamiliar to observers on the ground back in the Continental USA.

        Like

    • Pierre Lagacé

      I love this comment section.
      I also found it strange that Japanese planes could fly near the U.S. West Coast.

      About the Nisei, this reader should visit Koji’s blog and read the articles about his father.
      This is the link with the tag Nisei.

      Like

      • I know what you mean. I also intended to include a connection to Koji in the next post, especially since he contributed a lot of the info for it. (but I also enjoy his site – isn’t the tribute to his father great!)

        Like

    • Sorry I’m replaying what I said earlier on your blog (On the North River), but I’d like the PacifiParaTrooper writer to see some of my comments below. And, I’m the guy who wrote the stories on PacifiParaTrooper https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/ about the Japanese planes flying over Ca. taking aerial photos. Looks like you have a fun website and I do like the pictures. I’m an “amateur” photographer also and, per my wife, retired, or whatever they call it. Just read “MY ABOUT” And, as you know, being a Tea Party Conservative is covered under our constitution, in the section on FREEDOM OF SPEECH”… At least your involved, beyond just pontificating about our problems; that I sincerely respect. Those are WWII stories my dad, an army captain, who shot down the whale with a 16″ land based gun, told me when I was kid in grade school. I’m just passing on what he said. Like I said in one of my responses to the PacifiParaTrooper, I’d like to know if my dad’s stories have been embellished or created using “writer’s prerogative” as a cover for the Japanese camps. However, I certainly can appreciate your point of view. You may know this also, but I saw a documentary on the History Channel (or somewhere last year) that a Japanese Zero was shot down, and crash landed on an Aleutians island. The Zero was gathered up, shipped back to the states, put together, flown and studied so we could find out why the Zero was so maneuverable, etc. My father-in-law, an NCO during WWII, was stationed in the Aleutians and told me he never saw any Japanese land, or invade the Aleutians , but he heard other soldiers telling stories of American troops supposedly fighting Japanese soldiers somewhere in the Aleutians. The questions about Japanese soldiers fighting and flying on and over our ground just keep coming. The planes that flew over Ca. could’ve come from the same “source” as the plane that was shot down over the Aleutians. These Ca. and Aleutian fly-overs were small events from what I was told, 1 plane, maybe two, so these Zeroes possibly could have been launched from a catapult on a much smaller Japanese ship, like a destroyer, or whatever they had at the time. I’m not interested in proving this right, or that wrong, I’m just curious. I would like to know the truth, whether or not the stories I’ve heard are true, or could be true. When I started reading PacifiParaTrooper articles, I thought, maybe these folks can help me find the truth, or some of the truth, if I provide them with what I know. So, I’m patiently standing by.

      Like

      • Yes, there was a war in Alaska and is just partly covered in my guest post about the Technical and Ground forces; it will be embellished at a later date. I (so far) have only found false alarms as to Zeros flying over CA, other enemy activity will be in a later post or guest post (haven’t decided which). We are all telling our stories to find the truth, since our school systems chose to only give us bits and pieces.

        Like

        • Pierre Lagacé

          I believe that such stories could have been made up to keep the troops alert. The war was far from the West Coast. I am sure that these Zero sightings could not have happened. I know about the Aleutian Zero found upside down.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akutan_Zero

          Like

        • “..our school systems chose to only give us bits and pieces.”

          Worse than that, far worse. I was reading an article this week in the WSJ about Bowdoin College in Maine, famous for being the place where Joshua Chamberlain laid down the book and took up the sword during the Civil War and to which he returned to serve as President of the College. Today the college is quite different.
          National Association of Scholars report on political correctness at Bowdoin College was recently released and it makes very interesting reading, in a messy train wreck kind of way. The part that caught my attention was that a student with a History Major, isn’t required to take American History. He can (however) take a course entitled “Queer Gardens”. The main story is behind WSJ’s paywall, but this is the link;
          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324100904578404502145771288.html

          The duty and vocation of our countries educational institutions once was to prepare our children to be good citizens of the USA, today places like Bowdoin are more interested in turning them into “World Citizens”. Just like Barry.

          Like

          • I have to agree, it seems rather odd that a history major need not study their own history. It would seem that Bowdoin College needs a government audit of its practices.

            Like

  7. Again I have learned something new; I didn’t know New Zealand was there to sign the documents too. I wonder who signed for New Zealand.

    Like

  8. Snapfairy shared your link with me and I enjoyed reading this article regarding the Japanese Surrender. There was Information in the article I was not familiar with. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    • Certainly my pleasure. I hope you’ll stop back in for more and/or contribute a story. We can’t exclude the Navy that’s for certain. For one thing, my son was a Marine, my cousin Navy and my uncle was a career Marine)

      Like

  9. Very interesting. I like the photos, especially the show of power and strength with all the planes.

    Like

  10. You just prompted me to remember another WWII story my dad told us revealing how the Japanese pilots knew precisely where to fly so they could take aerial photos of our camouflaged California aircraft factories. I hope I can remember this with some accuracy; I’m 70 now, and was in my early teens when the story was passed on to me. There were, of course, some American born Japanese sympathizers living in the United States when war was declared on Japan. Some of the sympathizers were operating farmers in California. These farmers obviously didn’t advertise their sentiments. They continued their farming and pretended to be loyal Americans. These Japanese sympathizers were the farmers who literally pinpointed, for the Japanese pilots, the exact locations of our camouflaged aircraft factories. This is how the farmers did it. It only took 2 Japanese farms; even when they were several miles apart, to uncover 1 aircraft factory, say 500 miles away from their farms. When each plowed their fields with rows of parallel, side-by-side groves, furrows, the farmers made sure their groves pointed in a particular heading or direction. Next, 1 or 2 Japanese pilots flew over those 2 farms, say at 4 or 5 thousand feet, or maybe higher, and took several pictures of the plowed fields. Then, the pilots flew back to their carrier, the pictures were developed, properly positioned on a table, the groves in the plowed fields were extended and where these groves, parallel lines intersected is precisely where the aircraft factory was located. The rest, as they say is history. Once our people discovered how the Japanese were doing this, it wasn’t long till the United States started placing Japanese Americans in detention compounds. That’s the story as I got it; it’s absolutely a fascinating piece of WWII.

    Unfortunately, I’m sure, many Japanese Americans were unjustly placed in these camps and that’s most unfortunate, to say the least. Time was not on anybody’s side during those days. However, it must be said there were many more thousands of patriotic American born Japanese Americans who bravely and passionately fought for the United States during WWII. They were, and are, just as American as anyone else. Feel free to use this story, research it, or whatever. If you discover something, etc. regarding this story, please let me know, if you don’t mind. I appreciate your time and interest.

    Like

    • I will certainly make an effort to research this. So far, all indication of why the Japanese were interred into camps has been either political or financial, (rival vegetable farmers), but I try to maintain an open mind when I research, so we’ll see what I can locate. Did you have family or family friends who were farmers that related this story to you? Thanks for telling it here.

      Like

      • This story was told to me by my father (an American of German descent) who grew up in the city of St. Louis, Mo. He is the captain I mentioned in an earlier story (below on 4/11) about being the CO of a land based 16″ gun battery who shot at the Japanese pilots as they approached the California coast, but shot-down a whale instead. I’m profoundly curious, to find out what your research uncovers on such Japanese ventures in the United States…just standing by… I wonder sometimes if my dad embellished this or any of his other stories.

        Ferdinand F. Weise, my father, died 5/24/1989. He spent his entire army time during WWII in the states; I think mostly around Long Beach and Compton, California and Fort Sill, Ok. He was an ROTC cadet graduate from Washington University in St. Louis (a degree in electrical engineering). After the war he spent the rest of his life as an electrical engineer for Shell Oil at Shell’s refinery in Wood River, Ill., across the river from St. Louis. He was a mathematical wizard. Remember those old K&E slide rules? Well, I’d bet he had 20 or 30 of those things. Sometimes I think, given enough time he could have proved, mathematically, the existence of God.

        I’ve taken enough of your time…appreciate your patience…standing by…

        Like

        • I appreciate your participation and interest. Smitty’s story is not yet done, but I have put out some feelers and have started to collect notes on the subject. Sometimes my research gets bogged down, because my sources are not as forthcoming as my readers. It is in the works and it will be a post. Thanks for standing by and continuing to add to this site.

          Like

  11. Great post! I found it hard not to experience great emotion as I was reading this…for what it stood for…and the formalities involved. What an honor it must have been to be there participating on that day, whether they be an honor guard or a pilot…WOW! I was quite moved by the final salute to the delegates. What mixed emotions they must have felt after such a horrific fight.

    Like

  12. I agree with you that it was no coincidence that the USS Missouri was chosen. I really enjoyed your notes “I’ll be damned! Me, an admiral!” and (There was a brief interruption by an inebriated delegate [thankfully NOT American] who began making faces at the Japanese.). You’re research is beyond compare. Thanks for an inside look at how it happened.

    I have actually been on the Missouri and stood where it all happened. This gives me a lot more information to add to my memories of the ship. Thank you.

    Like

    • I kind of figured that no tour guide would have told you about the drunk delegate, I get a kick out of finding these facts – no history book is going to have them.

      Like

  13. Once again, thank you. What a day. I can only imagine the thoughts of Gen. Wainright’s (I’ve read, starved by his captors, he weighed all of 90 lbs that day) and Gen Percival. The Japanese reaction to the rising sun emblems is most interesting. One wonders what they expected in the long shadows of the allied surrenders at Corregador, Wake island, Hong Kong and Singapore. I have long disdained Gen. MacArthur egotisic posturing and greedy self-aggrandizement, the opposite of Admiral Nimitz’s quiet brilliance. However, I doubt if anyone else could have governed Japan and put in place the framework of Japan’s democracy better than MacArthur. He was a most capable administrator and unlike his involvement with the Bonus Army compassionate and merciful in dealing with the conquered foe.

    Like

  14. This is a clear story that really enrich my knowledge about WW II. Thank you very much for sharing with us.

    Like

  15. This is a fascinating read. Very interesting comments too.

    Like

  16. My parents then set the date and were married Sept 29th, 1945. Mother passed Sept 17th, twelve days short of 67th wedding anniversary.

    Like

  17. Fascinating account. I didn’t know about the Russian role. The formation flying photo is beautiful – if one can say such a thing in this context.

    Like

  18. Pierre Lagacé

    The planes in the foreground look like SB2C Helldivers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtiss_SB2C_Helldiver

    A show of strength – A mass formation of more than 1,200 aircraft fly over the U.S. fleet anchored in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, to signal (with the signing of the surrender documents) the end of the war. The battleship Missouri (BB-63) is in the foreground.
    (Source: The Hook magazine, Summer 1996)

    http://www.daveswarbirds.com/navalwar/inflight.htm

    Like

  19. Pierre Lagacé

    A reblogué ceci sur Lest We Forget and commented:
    As if you were there looking at the signing ceremony and hear the planes over head…

    Like

  20. Pierre Lagacé

    As if I was there looking at the signing ceremony. I can still hear the planes over head…

    Like

  21. That is a joy to read. Those huge 16″ guns on the Missouri make me think of my dad, a captain in the army, who was, I believe, the CO for some 16″ land based guns that use to shoot at Japanese planes as they flew towards various parts of California trying to take pictures of our camouflaged aircraft factories there. I don’t think they ever shot one down. However, he told a story of one shell that, when it fell into the sea off the California coast, hit and killed a whale. A few days later the whale floated to shore. What amazing stories these great veterans could tell, and hopefully still tell.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: