SURRENDER

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 to the USS Missouri, 2 September 1945.

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 regardless 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.

Instrument of 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.

MacArthur making history.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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SHOUT OUT !!!

Please take a look at a current 11th Airborne story that Rosalinda Morgan was kind enough to post.  It just happened to have occurred very close to where I live…

https://rosalindarmorgan.com/2023/01/04/an-11th-airborne-division-association-angels-new-years-miracle/

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Denis Neil Boak (100) – Northcote, NZ; RNZ Air Force, # 436452,  WWII

Anthony Di Petta – USA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Ordnanceman 1st Class, USS Enterprise, Torpedo Squadron 20, KIA (Malakai, Palau Is.)

Thomas F. Green – Ramona, CA; US Army, Vietnam, Pfc., 68 Aviation Co/52 Aviation Batt./17th Aviation Group, door gunner on Chinook helicopter “Warrior 143”, KIA (Nha Trang, SV)

Loretta Hanson (100) – Detroit, MI; US Woman’s Marine Corps, WWII

Tessie Kindos – Asbury Park, NJ; Civilian, WWII, Brooklyn Army Terminal

Harold Kretzer – Odin, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 66BS/$$BG/8th Air Force, B-24 gunner-engineer, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

George Lewis – Cleveland County, OK; US Army, WWII, ETO

Hershey Miyamura – Gallup, NM; US Army, WWII, 100th Infantry Batt.  /  Korea, POW, Medal of Honor  (Author dis a post on Mr. Miyamura a while back.  If you care to read more of his story… https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/intermission-stories-5/

David J. Riley – Juda, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Harry Wickham – Floral City, FL; US Merchant Marines, WWII, Ensign, radio operator

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About GP

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

Posted on January 9, 2023, in Current News, First-hand Accounts, Post WWII, SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 126 Comments.

  1. Every bit of that unfolding is just really something! Obviously I am not blessed with descriptive powers. But, this is amazing and I admire the ways in which you convey histories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A stirring recall. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so glad you are keeping the memory of your dad, Smitty, alive. The tremendous, brave souls will live on forever with people like you. Cheers! Eva

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That picture of the massive number of planes over the battleship is outstanding. I never imagined it was so strong. The war was more tremendous than I ever imagined. Different type of folks came out of it. A good reminder about how we should live our lives and cherish the good life! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for your like of my post Matthew 27 you are very kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. GP, do you know if General Percival left any record of witnessing the surrender? I’ve read the account of his surrender of Singapore in 1942. He got a thorough reaming, you might say. Watching the Japanese finally submit must have been quite an experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, he was present, Gregory. As the Japanese stepped forward to sign the surrender documents, MacArthur, was accompanied by Wainwright and Percival, as he sat down to affix his own signature, using five pens.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The surrender must have been terribly emotional for all, but, as expected, they pulled it off without a hitch. The USS Missouri is moored at Ford Island in Hawaii. I visited in the mid ’90s when my sister was based at the Pearl Harbor Medical Facility. People can tour the whole ship. There is a plaque (bronze if memory serves) on the deck where MacArthur stood. The ship and its history are still very impressive. Great story about the 11th Airborne ring.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the story about “Two Gut.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. USS Missouri at the ceremony was so obviously intended, political opportunist Truman claiming credit for one the most barbaric ends to any war in history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He didn’t really succeed at anything else, so politics was the obvious career choice. To take over as the Allies were clearly winning was perfect for him.

      Like

  10. To surrender does not have to mean to be blamed alone.The question of the reasons for a war always arises. xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • People want someone to blame when their sons will never come home; and the surrender means the fighting will stop – a very good thing.
      The reasons for war? Each one has a bunch of reasons and all sides must be heard for history to see the whole picture. But, as we know, the winners are considered the good guys and the losers, the bad guys. History likes to have things black and white, and to me this is wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Another fascinating account, full of personal anecdotes and intriguing details.
    P.S. I love the gym that turns into a bar.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent post. AS usual.
    It took years of sacrifice to “bring Japan down.” Or to leave no room for misunderstanding: “to bring Japan back”.
    And the introduction with Stalin’s demands is a good example of the third WW that had already started, which despite the fall of the Berlin wall has never really stopped has it?
    My very best wishes for 2023. And if I may be so bold (I try to avoid “pronunciamientos on others’ blogs) Peace in Ukraine.
    (Feel free to edit if you so wish)
    Happy New Year my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. “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.” The emerging of the sun, seemingly on queue, must have been something to witness.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Truman, and most Americans at the time knew Communism needed to be contained. Too much of Eastern Europe fell under its shadow, (which is still being settled out today) … Someone had the presence of mind not to let it happen in Asia …

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Je zorgde met deze post dat die historische dag ook begrijpbaar is voor diegene die het toen niet van nabij konden .

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I too am a bit skeptical about the selection of the USS Missouri. Sounds like it would be only “natural” it would serve as the host for the occasion.😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. A moment in history that anyone who witnessed would never forget. Glad that you passed on that information for future generations.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Dear GP thanks for all the info.
    Keep healthy and happy and wishing our dear friend a marvellous new year
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Yes the was so tragic and my Dad was Signal Corps.WW11 after I was born .later after the War. The Russian War was so tragic . Thanks Anita

    Liked by 1 person

  20. An interesting and fascinating account of the surrender ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. During our visits to Britain back in the 1990s, my dad and I became very good friends with a Rev. Canon John Byran (a retired Church of England clergyman and a retired Oxford don). He had served in Britain’s Royal Navy during the war and happened to be the highest ranking officer in the Royal Navy closest to Tokyo at the time the peace treaty was to be signed. So he was aboard the U.S.S. Missouri when the official surrender and peace treaty was signed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for contributing additional information to this post. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to do that. It must have been unique to have a friend who participated in such a momentous event in history! Did he talk about it much?

      Like

      • He only mentioned it once. On another occasion on our travels through England when we were stopped at a pub, a man came u₱ and said, “You were the captain on my ship.” A couple of times when he visited Canada and we showed him around the ₱rairie provinces, he’d wake u₱ screaming in his hotel room bed about being attacked by Japanese torpedoes. So he was still having nightmares about his experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I am sorry to hear that he continued to suffer. He had done his job well and did it well to continue to be recognized. The kamikaze planes aiming right for you is an unimaginable terror.

          Liked by 1 person

  21. A terrific post, GP. I also went to Rose’s site to read about the ring. That was very touching.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. That must have been an awesome experience to be on the USS Missouri, witnessing the signing of the surrender document and seeing all those planes suddenly appearing. I did not know about planes. Thanks for sharing my posts about the 11th airborne story.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. An excellent discussion of the Japanese Imperial surrender. Much thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. A momentous occasion indeed, GP. No doubt Stalin backed down because of the Atom bomb, which he had no access to at the time.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you for a wonderful account of a great day in history. I must admit that my own flippancy voted for the inebriated delegate who began making faces at the Japanese as the Man of the Hour, but more seriously, there must have been a huge number of people who had been looking forward to this moment in history for many years.
    And finally, silly Stalin, expecting the spoils of war without really joining in the war in any significant way.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Good post, GP. I always find nuggets of new information in these.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. The overall snubbing of Soviet demands was not only wise, but short-circuited what could have become very serious complications during the Cold War. This alternate history could have devolved into Korea and Vietnam type conflicts in Japan–let alone Putin’s desire to create conflict in the present day akin to that in Ukraine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never thought Putin was so stupid as to pull his invasion. Do you feel he is trying to get the US to fight them one-on-one? Out latest bundle going to the Ukraine is worth 3.5 Billion and we have advisors over there. It sounds a bit too much like Vietnam to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Always felt it was so symbolic and important that Mac made a very historical “statement” by having Wainwright there.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Makes one so proud of the grace, dignity, and forgiveness shown on the Missouri that day.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Great post, GP, with a lot of historical information. 🙂 I didn’t know Ford had a factory in Singapore back then. It’s great that the sun broke through the clouds at the signing! As MacArthur said, a great tragedy ended.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. To this day I find myself occasionally pondering what the world would have been like had FDR lived through the end of the war. Unfortunately, his refusal to include Truman in political negotiations has cost this country a lot…but such is the nature of politics.

    I love it when nature presents the perfect encore to an important event. My sister and her husband died a tragic death. Sadly, we only found out months after it happened. I was so upset that the authorities didn’t even try to find next of kin. I knew they didn’t because I found us in less than five minutes using public search sites. We decided to do a natural burial of their ashes. I didn’t know there were such things but it seemed like a fitting way to honor them. We picked out their sites and we’re going to have the ceremony the next day. As we drove to the cemetery it started to rain. The caretaker gave us a canopy to give us a little shelter. All the way through digging the grave for her and her husband, it poured down buckets. I was literally soaked from head to toe. We had selected pictures of both of them and scattered them in the grave (now filled with water) with their ashes. Though it was a muddy mess, we covered it with leaves and we decorated the graves with a large heart, flowers and a grave marker my other sister made. We then scattered the area with wildflower seeds…and had a moment of silence. As soon as we finished, the rain stopped, the sky opened up with the sun shining brightly and the birds began to sing. It was a beautiful moment. I couldn’t help but decide that the rains were god crying for us and their tragedy and the sun was for us to know that they were free now…and in peace.

    Thank you for the link to the ring…beautiful story. So glad it was found by someone who knew the importance of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry about your sister and brother-in-law – it was tragic in more ways than one, but you managed to pull it all together and give them the proper send off!! I don’t know if I would be that strong.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. The end of WWII, conducted with dignity…and already the shadow of the Cold War rises with the Russians feeling deprived of the spoils of war against Japan.
    The story of the ring was lovely, thanks for linking to it.
    As for the gym resolution, cut out the first two weeks and I’m in!

    Like

  33. Even more amazing details from your followers: Dennis Peterson and Will Pennington!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I didn’t know that the Soviets thought they would be getting some Japanese territory as spoils of war. Not surprising, however. Thank you for sharing the heartwarming story of the return of the lost Air Force ring. Metal detectors have their uses!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I wonder what the Japanese THOUGHT was going to happen when they attacked us? Did they really think they were going to conquer us? I read another blog say they beat the Chinese because the Japanese soldiers were better and tougher. Did they honestly think they were better than us?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe they thought that the attack on Pearl would hurt our Pacific Fleet so badly that we would not be able to interfere in their plans for Asia. They felt American military was more or less mercenaries, being they got paid to fight – rather than their military that fought with reverence for the Emperor.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. This is just filled with delightful details, including the fact that Admiral Nimitz nearly went unrecognized as he boarded the ship. I chuckled at the phrase Shiran Kao (nonchalant face). I know exactly what that kind of expression is; I’ve used it a few times myself. I always enjoy your humor, too, but the Resolutions Gym comes close to perfection!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I love the personal anecdotes sprinkled through the narrative. Good job, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. If only the concept of entitlement to “the poi’s of war” could be successfully banned

    Liked by 3 people

  39. This account is special to me on several levels. Aboard ship near the Missouri was my father-in-law, a young seaman who was a gunner in a 5-incher aboard the USS St. Paul. Overhead in a B-29 was an airman who was a waist gunner and would later attend church with me. Decades later, as a college freshman in a speech class, I memorized and recited MacArthur’s second speech: “Today the guns are silent. . . .” Thanks for all the details in your description.

    Liked by 4 people

  40. This has so many compelling details! Planes from Uncle Don’s carrier, USS Hancock (CV-19), were part of those 1500 reminders of who was in charge. What a heart-warming story about the ring! (My husband Guy was stationed at Nha Trang 1969-70, where Thomas F. Green was lost.)

    Liked by 2 people

  41. That sounds like the best way to end a war. I know MacArthur was a showman, but I am proud of the respect shown to our allies and former enemies.

    I love the gym meme!

    Liked by 3 people

  42. I was not aware of this: (There was a brief interruption by an inebriated delegate [thankfully NOT American] who began making faces at the Japanese.) I’d hate to have been that delegate afterwards!
    I re-enlisted several Sailors aboard the Missouri in Pearl Harbor. It was always a thrill to see so many Japanese tourists witness the events. Even more so when re-enlistments took place aboard the Arizona Memorial. Rarely did anyone depart the Arizona Memorial dry-eyed. It is a place of tremendous solemnity and reverence.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Thank you, Ned.

    Like

  1. Pingback: SURRENDER | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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