National V-J Day

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On August 14th, 1945 news broke around the world the Imperial Government of Japan would surrender ending a long and grueling world war. The U.S. commemorates the day as National V-J Day (due to the time zone celebrated August 15 in Europe). The name, V-J Day, had been selected by the Allies after they named V-E Day for the victory in Europe. 

Since 1939, the entire world had been enduring the concerns of war. The first rumblings of the United States getting involved in another war began in 1937. There were protests by many American citizens to stay out of the war, it was Europe’s war, not ours.  But by the end of 1941 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States would join the war they had vowed remain out of. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan on December 7th, 1941, the United States declared war and fully supported all fronts

Regardless of the date (August 14 or 15)  the celebrations that broke out in both the US and Europe were no less zealous and jubilees. Throughout the war effort, military personnel and civilians stood together to make the next 4 years a united front. The war had made America a strong industrial nation and unified its citizens to accept nothing but victory. The victory in Japan and the rest of the globe was a final goal.

In the United States, President Harry S. Truman announced it in a press conference at the White House later that day. The peace treaty was officially signed on September 2, 1945.  A year later on August 2nd, Truman signed a proclamation declaring August 14, 1946, as V-J Day (Victory over Japan).  

As a battalion of American warships entered the Sea of Japan the war was over. On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri.  On the USS Missouri is a brass plaque remains where General MacArthur and his offers accepted the written surrender documents of the Imperial Japanese Miltary Command. The USS Missouri is now a memorial and assigned to Pearl Harbor.

The total estimated human loss of life caused by World War II was roughly 62 million people. The civilian toll was around 37 million, the military toll about 25 million. The Allies lost around 51 million people, and the Axis lost 11 million.

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