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Veterans History Daybook Home >> August 15, 1945
1945 Timeline Image Link to Vets Daybook for August 15, 1945- V-J Day Link to Vets Daybook for Sept. 2, 1945 - Official End of WWII

Images from the Prints and
Photographs Collections

Image: see caption below
The New York Times headline: "Japan Surrenders, End of War! Emperor Accepts Allied Rule; M’Arthur (sic) Supreme Commander; Our Manpower Curbs Voided."

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On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito addressed his people directly, for the first time ever, on radio to announce Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies: Great Britain, the Soviet Union, France, and the United States.

August 15, 1945  V-J Day
Image: see caption below

V-J Day Group with Newspapers. Photo by Robert Lee Olen (view more photos in Robert Lee Olen's online collection)

The Allies’ Victory in Japan is commemorated on this date, marking the end of World War II, the most catastrophic war in history. More people were killed and more cities all around the globe were destroyed than in any other war.

V-E Day, Victory in Europe, occurred on May 8, 1945 when Germany surrendered, thereby allowing the Americans to concentrate on defeating Japan in the Pacific Theater. The formal treaty of surrender between Japan and the Allies was signed on September 2, 1945 aboard the U.S.S. Missouri.

In their own words...

First Lieutenant Sally Hitchcock Pullman, Army nurse, wrote about her patients' joy in a letter to her parents.

" ... For the past few days I've been dying to write you -- THAT IT'S ALL OVER, that this terrible war has ended and what it was like over here when word first came over the radio. My wards were bedlam. What a time! I wouldn't have missed it for anything ... that first night when the news of the surrender came over.

My four wards went wild. I have never been hugged or kissed or spun around so many times in my whole life. Even had a dance with a cute young guy who had been over here 28 months and states that this was his first dance in all that time! How wonderful it was to see such pure, unadulterated joy and bedlam, and real smiles and laughter!!

... Above all was the relief we would not have to invade Japan. We all knew there would have been terrible casualties if we had to invade. And so it's over. Now the talk is how and when we will get home ... "

Quote taken from Letters Home - Memoirs of One Army Nurse in the Southwest Pacific in World War II, page 143).

View more information about Sally Hitchcock Pullman.

Lieutenant Colonel Ben M. Snyder, bombardier, was on rotation back to the States for more training, in Midland, Texas when the news broke.

Image of Ben Snyder"None of us had expected a Japanese surrender for months to come. Ostensibly, the invasion of the Home Islands was certain to come; at fearful cost to both sides.

And then ... came the electrifying announcement; too blessedly good to be true. We were just returning to the barracks from dinner when the official announcement of the capitulation was flashed across the nation from Washington, D.C.

There was instant bedlam involving everyone on the Base, but particularly among the thousands of veterans of the air campaigns stretching across the globe. The tide of excitement streaked through the streets, rushed through the clubs, enveloped the flight line. Horns blared in the towns, church bells rang; cries of rejoicing and relief from every heart and voice."

Quote taken from Reports to the Homefront, 1943-1945 (see page 107).

View Ben M. Snyder's online collection in the Veterans History Project (includes photo album and memoir).

Questions about the Veterans History Project Collections? Ask a Librarian

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  April 3, 2009
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