Japanese Surrender

11th Airborne Recon Battalion Honor Guard, Missouri 9/2/45

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 and Hokkaido in 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.

Men crammed the USS Missouri for the surrender.

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.

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.

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.

Aircraft flyover for surrender proceedings.

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.

MacArthur making history

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.

 

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

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.

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

Military Humor – 

“INCOMING”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Burnette Jr. – Atlanta, GA; US Army, Vietnam, Lt.Gen. (Ret.), West Point grad. 1968 / Pentagon

Frank Fogg Jr. (100) – Carney’s Point, NJ; US Navy, WWII & Korea, Chief Petty Officer (Ret. 22 y.)

Lee Gustafson – Cleburne, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/127 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Eleanor Harpring – MYC, NY; Civilian, USO, WWII, ETO

Frak Klobchar – MT; US Army, WWII

John Leak – Hickory Creek, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Marlin Marcum – Daytona, FL; USMC, WWII, PTO

James Owens – Phoenix, AR; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Sea Bee

Vernon Skoglund – Seattle,m WA; US Army, Vietnam, 508th Infantry Airborne, fireman

Donald Wagner – Fort Thomas, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 82nd Airborne Division

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

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 May 23, 2019, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 104 Comments.

  1. I liked that bit at the end where the delegates were saluted as they were no longer the enemy; except for those that were to be tried and executed , made me smile.My warped English sense of humour GP 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It just gets better, thanks for sharing..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this description. I’d never read anything about the surrender ceremony before or about Stalin’s anger about not having any role in post-war Japan’s occupation.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Enjoyed that post gp, wonder who the inebriated delegate was that attended, somethings will never be known I guess. Bet the Boatswains mate Two Guts story, is now part of history in his family history line now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That was some fascinating information! More detail than what they teach at school. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I knew that Stalin demanded Kurily, but not anything else. Thank you for sharing all these fascinating details, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. No longer the enemy – if only we’d learn from that! What a moment that must have been. And what a presumptuous and greedy expectation “Spoils of War” I note that this is the turning point for the world as some nations look to rebuilding and friendship rather than punishment.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. finally
    peace 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There’s one bit you might want to tweak it to which is “Hokkaido in Northern Honshu.” As of now, it makes it sound as though it’s in addition to. Another very cool post GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Of such is history made, and through people such as you, it is kept alive. thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wonderful post again. I’ve started showing this to my son to help with his History Lessons

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am very excited to hear that! I continue to hear from parents that history seems to be being phased-out and that is a scary thought. I hope your son will find some things interesting here, without being tested on names and dates. 🙂

      Like

  12. That inebriated delegate wasn’t Australian was he GP? Another interesting article — I wasn’t aware of the attempt by the Russians to have an occupational zone or to take control of large parts of Japan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As of now, I have yet to discover which delegate it was. Perhaps it was recorded that way to protect reputations?
      That was the only reason the Russians declared war on Japan – reparations!

      Like

  13. Happy Memorial Day Weekend GP. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and the weather behaves so you can enjoy some sunshine!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. MAC was a class act through the whole ceremony especially on two counts: keeping his words brief and to the point and giving Gen Wainwright such a prominent presence.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Thank you, GP. This must have been an inspiring day for everyone present including the Japanese. I thought it remarkable that they were saluted as they left the ship.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Words do make a difference. Finding an acceptable substitute for “surrender” was a stroke of genius. And I was quite taken with this: “Japan’s delegates, now no longer considered the enemy, were saluted as they left the quarterdeck.” Isn’t it funny how things change so quickly. If only we could work our way to a few ceremonies today that would bring the same result.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true. We so try to have politically correct wars – which are doomed from the start to fail, and still never come to a peaceful and productive end such as this did.

      Like

  17. Another great post to an excellent series. Thanks,

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I felt a strange sense of anticlimax

    Liked by 2 people

  19. A great moment in history, enlivened by a drunk. I hadn’t realised that the Soviets had asked for so much. Does the list of countries signing the agreement mean the Russia and Japan are still at war?

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Another wonderful and informative post, GP. I can not imagine what that flyover meant to those in attendance. Wishing you & yours the best this Memorial Weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Surrender would never be easy in my opinion. If things appeared peaceful on the surface, you can bet there were undercurrents of animosity running through that room.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. I wonder who the inebriated delegate was….!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. It’s pretty loud when five or six planes fly over. I can’t IMAGINE what almost two thousand sounds like!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. See that photo? That is me, I surrender them

    Liked by 2 people

  25. A buddy with whom I worked with to write about the firebombing of Tokyo had documents proving his father was a Captain piloting a B-29 in that armada.

    One interesting tidbit about how the US got Japan to agree on unconditional surrender. Negotiations over the surrender agreement had dragged on for several days on account of one word: “surrender”. The Nisei’s (actually kibei’s – American men who spent a numer of years growing up in Japan) realized the Japanese would never agree to “the Emperor surrendering”. So a light bulb came on and suitable terminology implying “ceasing resistance” was inserted… and agreement was attained.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Terrific, Koji. I knew ‘surrender’, ‘retreat’ and ‘defeat’ were touchy words back then. We had to have people who understood the culture to get things accomplished. Thanks for adding the information for us!!

      Like

  26. Quite an impressive flyover. I imagine many Japanese military personnel and civilians were impressed, if somewhat feeling the US was “rubbing it in.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. A fascinating post. I’ll have to forward this one to my dad because I know he’ll enjoy it, as he has with a few of your posts now. Interesting about the USS Missouri, I had no idea it was christened by Truman’s daughter! x

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know most everyone knows this episode of history and has seen these many photos similar to these, but I tried adding those tidbits of little-know facts to keep it interesting. Hope your Dad likes it!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. “Japan’s delegates, now no longer considered the enemy, were saluted“… such honor shown.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They were quite a formidable enemy that any soldier or sailor would have to admit respect for – the only problem was – they were the enemy. With that gone, respect is shown.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Thanks for sharing the details of the day- really fascinating read. The Missouri was quite a ship!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Thank you for the info about the Russians attempted “spoils of war” grab. This was indeed something I didn’t know.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. The harbor was filled with ships, including the Hancock (CV-19). My uncle, Don Wilson, who survived the sinking of the Yorktown at Midway was aboard the Hancock. Sure enjoyed your additional details that most histories don’t include.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can’t imagine what an experience that was for your father!! Outstanding! I added those tidbits for interest sake as I’m aware of how well-known it is..

      Like

  32. To have witnessed those 400 B-29s and 1,500 aircraft carrier planes coming over the mountain must have been so powerful. Such an interesting article.
    First time for me to see in your Farewell Salutes a familiar name, Frank Fogg.
    And…I thought of you when I read of Female Spies of World War 2. A link to the list of recent books: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/female-spies-world-war-ii/588058/
    All my best to you and thank you for this important website.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Half a year after the end of WW2 in Europe it has become abundantly clear that the sharing of occupational zones in Germany with the Soviets has brought nothing but trouble for the western nations with the threat of communism. It was a good thing that this mistake was not repeated in Japan.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. So ended a chapter of our history and another was set be begin…the Cold War…..chuq

    Liked by 3 people

  35. I think the degree of respect shown the Japanese went a long way toward establishing the good relationship we enjoy with that country today. Thanks for reminding of this event.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I do believe you’re right, Dan. I know a lot of people have their gripes about MacArthur, but with him being raised basically in the Orient, he understood their culture and knew how to handle things.

      Liked by 2 people

  36. Excellent post GP! I was part of Missouri’s recommissioning crew in 1986. Three little pieces of trivia which I find interesting:

    1. The table used for the signing was brought up from the crew’s mess. After the signing when the VIPs were relaxing in the Captain’s Cabin (adjacent to the Surrender Deck), one of them realized that the table now had historical significance and should be preserved. However, the deck had been cleared and the table had already been returned to the messdeck. No one is certain that the table in Annapolis today is the actual table used for the surrender or just one of many of Missouri’s mess tables, quickly brought back up to please the Admirals.

    2. The American flag visible in the photographs was Commodore Perry’s flag from his voyage to Tokyo in 1853. Many sources state that this flag is displayed “backwards” and then offer various excuses for the “error”. In fact, the flag is displayed properly. Naval tradition dictates that the flag should always face forward, advancing into the wind, with the blue field towards the bow.

    3. There is a brass plaque mounted on the deck to mark the site of the surrender, and the 02 level portside is referred to by Missouri sailors as the Surrender Deck. This is a national monument and the plaque was protected by a brass cover when underway. When Missouri was reactivated, a waiver from the Parks Service was required to move their monument, and it became the only mobile national park.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Excellent additions Jeff, I appreciate you taking the time to bring us this information!! I like the way this website has become a ‘community’ project with readers adding data and others asking questions!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Before the Missouri was moved to Pearl Harbor, It was in Bremerton in the mothball fleet in 1978. We were living in Seatle at the time and got to visit the Missouri. We saw the Surrender brass plaque. It seems very fitting that the Missouri is now moored next to the USS Arizona memorial–showing both the beginning and the ending of America’s part of WWII.

        Liked by 3 people

  37. Love this write-up GP. Glad Truman and MacArthur told the Soviets not only no but Hell No. The humorous touches are brilliant so are the few personalized details. The picture of the flyover in black and white is stark and poignant.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Pat. This is such a well-known event, I was worried I wouldn’t make it interesting enough for the regular readers to enjoy, but now even Jeff Groves has included more data for us!

      Like

  38. Apparently the Japanese Foreign Minister Shigemitsu, seemed to procrastinate. He fiddled with his hat, dropped his cane, shuffled papers, fumbled for his pen. Standing a few feet away, Halsey seethed. He later told MacArthur, “I wanted to slap him and tell him, “Sign, damn you, sign!” (“Why didn’t you?” asked MacArthur.)
    My husband kept telling me it was MacArthur who said, “Sign!” in a commanding voice.
    I also read that USS Missouri was chosen for obvious reason that it was the home state of Truman. It was not coincidence. Just making brownie point!

    Liked by 3 people

  39. What a day that must have been, GP.
    And an early taste of how close to war we would get with the Soviet Union too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Nice comment about exchange with Soviets – I was not aware of this!

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Fascinating, thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: