On September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, World War II officially ends when Japanese officials surrender on behalf of their country. A mass of news correspondents jammed the decks along with officers from all the participating Allied countries. American General Douglas MacArthur presided over the brief ceremony and signed the document on behalf of the combined Allied forces. According to the terms of the document, Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese government were now subject to the authority of the Supreme Allied Commander of occupied Japan, a post subsequently filled by General MacArthur.
But why did they surrender? Could it really be possible that, all these decades later, after so many countless books, films, textbooks and TV documentaries, we’ve got the final days of World War Two all wrong? That the truth about the fall of Japan has been obscured by the smoke and fire and fallout of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Some historians certainly think so. And it is their contention that the consensus on the end of World War Two completely ignores what really happened in 1945. We explored this theory in more detail here.
Also on this Day
At the Battle of Actium, off the western coast of Greece, Roman leader Octavian wins a decisive victory against the forces of Roman Mark Antony and Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. Before their forces suffered final defeat, Antony and Cleopatra broke through the enemy lines and fled to Egypt, where they would commit suicide the following year. With the assassination of Roman dictator Julius Caesar in... Read more >
In the early morning hours, the Great Fire of London breaks out in the house of King Charles II's baker on Pudding Lane near London Bridge. It soon spread to Thames Street, where warehouses filled with combustibles and a strong easterly wind transformed the blaze into an inferno. When the Great Fire finally was extinguished on September 6, more than four-fifths of London was destroyed. Miraculo... Read more >
On this day in 1969, America's first automatic teller machine (ATM) makes its public debut, dispensing cash to customers at Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre, New York. ATMs went on to revolutionise the banking industry, eliminating the need to visit a bank to conduct basic financial transactions. By the 1980s, these money machines had become widely popular and handled many of the functions pre... Read more >
Fangio For The Memories
If you love speed (and we know that you do) your heart may beat a little more aggressively knowing that, on this day in 1956, the great Stirling Moss won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. It was the final race of that year’s championship and saw some pretty remarkable acts of sportsmanship - the kind that you probably wouldn’t encounter with th... Read more >