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Newspaper account of Surrender Ceremony
Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia, PA, September 4, 1945

(From the James Sadler Collection[2000.021.], donated by Ms. Marcie Behm-Bultz)


Jap Surrender Provided Veteran Leader With Hour of Lifetime

U.S.S. Missouri, Tokyo Bay, Sept 4 - (AP) - There were tingling moments of high drama in the 18 minute ceremony during which Japan bound herself to lay down her arms unconditionally and bow to the dictates of the Allies.

The setting was perfect - on the captain's promenade of the battleship, nicknamed "Mighty Mo". Allied ships ringed the Missouri in concentric circles of power. Outlined against the murky sky were dark green hills of the nation being occupied for the first time in its turbulent history.

The first moment of drama came when General MacArthur walked up the gangplank and moved across the deck with a stride lithe for a man of his years. You could feel the intensity of this man stimulate the crowd like a current of electricity. It was MacArthur's hour of a lifetime and he had prepared for it by almost half a century of military service

Like Stone Gargoyles

The next moment of emotional impact was the arrival of the Japanese delegation - four in civilian dress, seven wearing navy or army uniforms. They stood waiting MacArthur's pleasure like stone gargoyles. To the western eye they looked like cartoon characters from Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado".

Their stolid features showed neither guilt nor regret, pain nor resentment - only an abiding watchful animal-like patience. You felt that only time would reveal what that patience stood for.

"How did those little men ever think they could get away with it?" one white-uniformed sailor whispered.

Next highlight was when MacArthur began signing the surrender document. He turned to General Wainwright with a warm smile and handed him the first of the six pens he used. Then he looked deliberately, steadily and coldly at the Japanese before going on with the signing. That gesture was for Bataan, for Corregidor - and the Japanese caught its significance fully.

Climax of Ceremonies

The dramatic ceremonies reached their climax when General MacArthur invited the Japanese to sign the capitulation document.

"A Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, I announce it my firm purpose, in the tradition of the countries I represent, to proceed in the discharge of my responsibilities with justice and tolerance, wile taking all necessary dispositions to insure that the terms of surrender are fully, promptly and faithfully complied with," MacArthur said.

Proclaimed V-J Day

President Truman in a radio hookup linking the Missouri with the White House then made his speech which proclaimed the day as V-J Day.
The text of his broadcast:

"My fellow Americans:

"The thoughts and hopes of all America- indeed of all the Civilized World- are centered tonight (Saturday) on the battleship Missouri. There on that small piece of Ameican soil anchored in Tokyo harbor the Japanese have just officially laid down their arms. They have signed terms of unconditional surrender.

"Four years ago the thoughts and fears of the whole civilized world were centered on another piece of American soil- Pearl Harbor. The mighty threat to civilization which began there is no laid at rest. It was a long road to Tokyo-and a bloody one.

"We shall not forget Pearl Harbor.

"The Japanese militarist will not forget the U.S.S. Missouri.

"The evil done by the Japanese war lords can never be repaired or forgotten. But their power to destroy and kill has been taken from them. Their armies and what is left of their navy is not impotent.

Forces of Tyranny Beaten

"To all of us there comes first a sense of gratitude to Almighty God who sustained us and our allies in the dark days of grave danger, who made us to grow from weakness into the strongest fighting force in history, and who now has seen us overcome the forces of tyranny that sought to destroy his civilization.

"God grant that in our pride of the hour, we may not forget the hard tasks that are still before us; that we may approach these with the same courage, zeal and patience with which we faced the trials and problems of the past four years.

"Our first thoughts, of course-thoughts of gratefulness and deep obligation-go out to those of our loved ones who have been killed or maimed in this terrible war. On land and sea and in the air, American men and women have given their lives so that this day of ultimate victory might come and assure the survival of a civilized world. No victory can make good their loss.

"We think of those whom death in this war has hurt, taking from them husbands, sons, brothers and sisters whom they loved. No victory can bring back the faces they long to see.

"Only the knowledge that the victory, which these sacrifices have made possible, will be wisely used, can give them any comfort. It is our responsibility - ours, the living - to see to that this victory shall be a monument worthy of the dead who died to win it.

"We think of all the millions of men and women in our armed forces and merchant marine all over the world, who, after years of sacrifice and hardship and peril, have been spared by Providence from harm.

"We think of all the men and women and children, who during these years have carried on at home in lonesomeness and anxiety and fear.


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Workers' Role Recalled

"Our thoughts go out to the millions of American workers and businessmen, to our farmers and miners - to all those who have built up this country's fighting strength, who have shipped to our allies their means to resist and overcome the enemy.

"Our thoughts go out to our civil servants and to the thousands of Americans who, at personal sacrifice have come to serve in our government during these trying years, to the members of the selective service boards and ration boards; to the civilian defense and Red Cross worker; to the men and women in the USO and in the entertainment world - to all these who have helped in the co-operative struggle to preserve liberty and decency in the world.

"We think of our departed gallant leader, Franklin D. Roosevelt, defender of democracy, architect of world peace and co-operation.

"And our thoughts go out to our gallant allies in this war; to those who resisted the invaders; to those who were not strong enough to hold out, but who nevertheless kept the fires of existence alive within the souls of their people; to those who stood up against great odds and held the line, until the United Nations together were able to supply the arms and the men with which to overcome the forces of evil.

"This is a victory of more than arms alone, this is a victory of liberty over tyranny.

"From our war plants rolled the tanks and planes which blasted their way to the heart of our enemy; from our shipyards sprang the ships which bridged all the oceans of the world for our weapons and supplies; from our farms came the food and fiber for our armies and navies and for all our allies in all the corners of the earth; from our mines and factories came the raw materials and the finished products which gave us the equipment to overcome our enemies.

Spirit of Liberty

"But back of it all were the will and spirit and determination of free people - who know what freedom is, and who know that it is worth whatever price they had to pay to preserve it.

"It was the spirit of liberty which gave us our armed strength and which made our men invincible in battle. We now know that spirit of liberty, the freedom of the individual, and the personal dignity of man are the strongest and toughest and most enduring forces in all the world.

"And so on V-J Day, we take renewed faith and pride in our own way of life. We have had our day of rejoicing over this victory. We have had our day of prayer and devotion. Now let us set aside VJ-Day as one of renewed consecration to the principles which have made us the strongest nation on earth and which in this war, we have striven so mightily to preserve.

"Those principles provide the hope and the opportunity which helped men to improve themselves and their lot. Liberty does not make all men perfect nor all society secure. But it has provided more solid progress and happiness and decency for more people than any other philosophy of government in history. And this day has shown again hat it provides the greatest strength and the greatest power which man has ever reached.

"We know that under it we can meet the hard problems of peace which have come upon us. A free people with free allies who can develop an atomic bomb, can use the same skill and energy and determination to overcome all the difficulties ahead.

"Victory always has its burdens and its responsibilities as well as its rejoicing.

"But we face the future and all its dangers with great confidence and great hope. America can build for itself a future of employment and security, Together with the United nations, it can build a world of peace founded on justice and fair dealing and tolerance.
"As President of the United States, I proclaim Sunday, September 2, 1945, to be V-J Day - the day of formal surrender by Japan. It is not yet the day for the formal proclamation of the end of the war or of the cessation of hostilities. But it is a day which we Americans shall always remember as a day of retribution - as we remember that other day, the day of infamy.

"From this day we move forward. We move toward a new era of security at home. With the other United nations we move toward a new and better world of peace and international good will and co-operation.
"God's help has brought us to this day of victory. With his help we will attain hat peace and prosperity for ourselves and all the world in the years ahead."

MacArthur's Address

General MacArthur made two speeches. One opened the ceremonies and introduced the signer. In conclusion, he said:

"My fellow countrymen:

"today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain death - the seas bear only commerce -men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world is quietly at peace. The holy mission has been completed and in reporting this to you, the people, I speak for the thousands of silent lips, forever stilled among the jungles and the beaches and in the deep waters of the pacific which marked the way. I speak for the unnamed brave millions homeward bound to take up the challenge of that future which they did so much to salvage from the brink of disaster.

"As I look back on the long, tortuous trail from those grim days of Bataan and Corregidor, when an entire world lived in fear, when democracy was on the defensive everywhere, when modern civilization trembled in the balance, I thank a merciful God that He has given us the faith, the courage and the power from which to mould victory.

"We have known the bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned there can be no turning back. We must go forward to preserve in peace what we won in war.

"A new era is upon us. Even the lesson of victory itself brings with it profound concern, both for our future security and the survival of civilization. The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advances in scientific discovery has in fact now reached a point which revises the traditional concept of war.

'Our Last Chance'

"Men since the beginning of time have sought peace. Various methods through the ages have attempted to devise an international process to prevent or settle disputes between nations. From the very start, workable methods were found in so far as individual citizens were concerned but the mechanics of instrumentality of larger international scope have never been successful. Military alliance, balances of power, leagues of nations all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be the way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this alternative. We have had our last change. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advance in science, art, literature and all material and cultural developments of the past two thousand years. It must be of the spirit if are to save the flesh.

"We stand in Tokyo today reminiscent of our countryman, Commodore Perry, 92 years ago. His purpose was to bring to Japan an era of enlightenment and progress by lifting the veil of isolation to the friendship, trade and commerce of the world. But alas the knowledge thereby gained of western science was forged into an instrument of oppression and human enslavement. Freedom of expression, freedom of action, even freedom of thought were denied through suppression of liberal education, through appeal to superstition and through the application of force. We are committed by the Potsdam declaration of principles to see that the Japanese people are liberated from this condition of slavery. If is my purpose to implement this commitment just as rapidly as the armed forces are demobilized and other essential steps taken to neutralize the war potential. The energy of the Japanese race, if properly directed, will enable expansion vertically rather than horizontally. If the talents of the race are turned in constructive channels, the country can lift itself from its present deplorable state in a position of dignity.

Democracy on March

"To the Pacific basin has come the vista of a new emancipated world. Today, freedom is on the offensive, democratic is on the march. Today, in Asia as well as in Europe, unshackled peoples are tasting the full sweetness of liberty, the relief from fear.

"In the Philippines, America has evolved a model for this new free world of Asia. In the Philippines, America has demonstrated that people of the east and people of the west may walk side by side in mutual respect and with mutual benefit. The history of our sovereignty there has now the full confidence of the east.

"And so, my fellow countrymen, today I report to you that your sons and daughters have served you well and faithfully with the calm, deliberate, determined fighting spirit of the American soldier and sailor based upon a tradition of historical trait, as against the fanaticism of an enemy supported only by mythological fiction, their spiritual strength and power has brought us through to victory. They are homeward bound - take care of them."
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