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.